The Obsession with High Fashion Designer Footwear

Why are women infatuated with designer shoes and willing to pay such high prices for their favorite names? This editorial examines the obsession with high fashion designer footwear, the reason for the exorbitant prices and who's willing to pay the cost.

What is it that intrigues women so about designer shoes? Why do we go gaga over the likes of a Manolo Blahnik or a Jimmy Choo?

As a woman, ergo one of the intrigued, I often find myself in the middle of discussions about the price of designer brand shoes. Why do they cost so much? Who would pay those prices? Then there's the ever popular "you would be crazy to lay down that much cash for some famous shoe designer's name!"

There is somewhat of a reprieve, however. Discount stores like DSW (Designer Shoe Warehouse) and Nordstrom's, Off the Rack, give a shoe maven the opportunity to scratch her itch for the best designer shoes without demolishing her bank account.

Whenever my cohorts ask me why designers charge so much for their wares, I always have the same answer: because that's what their clientele want to pay. You see, even the quintessential bargain shopper has her favorite designers and will rarely deviate. Oh, how we love to share our conquest: "girl, you won't believe how much I got these (insert designer name here) for! They were originally..." (insert exorbitantly high price here). While the savvy shopper may be acquiring her favorite designer shoes for less, the original price remains a fixation in her fashion psyche.

Paris Hilton, Eva Longoria, Rihanna, and Britney Spears are not the only ones amassing their high-end designer collections. It's also the self-made businesswoman, the 21st century female entrepreneur, the unsung heroine who has earned her keep, worked her way to the top, and has no problem treating herself to the guilty, or not so guilty, pleasure of sporting the latest creation of her favorite shoe designer. To the winner go the spoils!

It's just my opinion, but I believe women who buy Christian Louboutin, Ferragamo, and Miu Miu at full cost, are not only enamored with the shoes, but probably get at least a slight thrill from being able to afford the prices they pay for them. For me, it wouldn't be as much about bragging rites as about the ability to purchase a high quality, high fashion, designer shoe of my choosing without having to worry about what bill I can't pay because of my purchase.

While knock off designer shoes may be just as pretty, or somewhat appealing to the naked eye, and probably just as functional (as is the generic cousin of any product line) they're incapable of satisfying the true shoe maven's insatiable craving for an original. There's something to be said for slipping into a Chanel sling back, knowing that its classic predecessor was created in 1957, or sliding into a pair of Christian Louboutins with the knowledge that his signature red sole is based on Chanel red nail polish, and that there are only 120 pairs designed per collection. How can one not swoon over the fact that the uppers, along with many of the intricate details of her Ferragamos are hand cut and crafted by meticulously trained artisans? Think what you will, but these innovators take the meaning of the words "you get what you pay for" to astronomical levels.

As a young girl growing up, I was in love with anything fashion related. I read every fashion magazine on the market (well, actually I ready anything that was on the market; I am and always have been a voracious reader). Anyhoo, I used to get a thrill reading about how young girls in France used to save their money to buy their favorite pair of Sonia Rykiel's.

This was an amazing feat to me-to scrimp, and save, possibly do chores or work odd jobs, or even save your allowance and go without a couple, three pieces of candy, just to acquire the latest in designer shoes. Wow! It was at that moment I realized the importance of having fashionable feet. No matter the age group; whether woman, pre-pubescent or teen, females from every walk of life have made the quest for their favorite pair of designer footwear. Now that I'm all grown up, having experienced an even deeper revelation regarding my love of shoes, just the thought of the next designer shoe sale sends shivers up my spine!

Okay, you may be thinking to yourself, "What's up with that? Doesn't she know there are other things more important going on in the world than the next designer shoe extravaganza?" Of course I do. Oh-and by no means am I promoting the irresponsible use of credit cards (or rent money) to purchase what you know you cannot afford. I am far from superficial; I merely like what I like. And, even though I am not at my desired level of purchasing power, I suspect I will be in the near future (I dream big).

Hey, don't judge me. You have your form of mindless escapism, and I have mine.