'Boot rationing' madness from Isabel Marant

04 January 2010

studded boots

Look at these boots. Nice aren’t they? But how far would you go to own an original pair of Isabel Marant 'Otway' studded ankle-knockers? According to the Wall Street Journal, the boots, which were a stand out turn on the AW09 catwalk have been deliberately restricted in production and only a few pairs rationed out to exclusive boutiques such as Curve in New York who stock the wares of the canny French designer.

Isabel Marant

There’s nothing turns the thought ‘those are nice’ into the thought ‘I simply CANNOT LIVE without them’ more than a rumour that the item in question might be in short supply. Every single designer brand in the world operates on the fact that if not everyone can have something then everyone will want one.

Big fashion brands like Burberry have pioneered the approach of reducing stockists in order to increase exclusivity and therefore demand for the product, rather than have clients feel drowned in a sea of one brand’s range. After all, if you can see the merchandise everywhere then you might think that no-one’s buying it.

Right down to the cheapest end of the High St – step forward H&M with Jimmy Choo, or even Kate Moss at TOPSHOP it’s the danger in shoppers minds' that the fabulous things will SELL OUT FAST that kick start those adrenaline-fuelled queues round the block at launches of such products. This is all obvious.

However; fashion is big business and therefore brands will always take the opportunity to cash in on their most popular pieces . . .or not. Apparently Marant’s ultra-strict policy includes banning online retailers from selling the collections, and also refusing to ship any of the studded suede beauties away from the Paris store where they are exclusively sold. This meant women who weren’t put off by the $1,295 price tag had to consider whether they would mind adding the price of a ticket to Paris to the total, because when non-French customers called the Paris store, they were told that the company would not send the boots and they would only be able to collect them in person (!)

Meanwhile, other styles of Isabel Marant boots have apparently changed hands for up to four times their value on ebay and fashion buyers for stores are already panicking about how they will satisfy customer demand for next season’s footwear (a fringey number, called the Dana)

The story has a happy ending though – as net-a-porter.com has announced it will start stocking the brand online starting with the Spring 2010 collection, and for New Yorkers, the first US boutique is being opened in Soho very soon.


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