Trendy Shoe Sale Creates Shopping Craze An invite-only Manolo Blahnik shoe sale in New York City is creating a frenzy among shoppers.

Trendy Shoe Sale Creates Shopping Craze

Trendy Shoe Sale Creates Shopping Craze

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An invite-only Manolo Blahnik shoe sale in New York City is creating a frenzy among shoppers.


More on money now, on spending it. A certain set of fashion-minded women are practically on a first-name basis with their Manolos, the beautiful and expensive shoes from designer Manolo Blahnik. Sarah Jessica Parker wore them for six seasons on the TV show "Sex and the City." To say the twice-yearly Manolo Blahnik sale at the Warwick Hotel in Midtown Manhattan is a shoe sale is like noting some birds flit back to Capistrano regularly. DAY TO DAY's Mike Pesca, the staff member perhaps worst-suited to report on high fashion, has more.

MIKE PESCA reporting:

The following behaviors are common to the shoppers at the Manolo Blahnik sale and the Gelada baboons of Ethiopia: grazing, hoarding, use of intimidating body language and frantic attempts to find a mate. But now, a mate is found.

Ms. KATHERINE NEIL(ph) (Shopper): Oh, my God!

PESCA: Shopper Katherine Neil has been looking for a mate to one of the more interesting shoes she's been carrying around for a while.

Ms. NEIL: This is a real find. Look at that.

PESCA: It's a greenish number with what appear to be feathers adorning the front. Neil, who is buying for the showroom where she works, guessed the plumage was part peacock but something else, too.

Ms. NEIL: ...(Unintelligible) dove? I...

PESCA: It might be an endangered species.

Ms. NEIL: I know. I'll return it if it is, but I'm pretty sure it's just your average game bird made into a shoe. That shoe's untouchable, man. I'm so glad I found a partner.

PESCA: If you can't find a partner, you can't grab a wooden chair. There are none, so a woman named Muriel(ph), in her early 30s, plopped down in the middle of the floor, swimming in a sea of Manolos. She described her strategy thusly.

"MURIEL" (Shopper): The key is you have to grab them all when you walk in. You take them to the floor and then you edit out the ones you don't want and people start grabbing them. You've got to cover them with your bags. Put it this way. One year my mother's shoes were actually stolen off her feet. They were sitting here. She was trying them on and they were gone. They had to make an announcement.

PESCA: If first rule of Manolo Blahnik is don't go to the sale wearing Manolo Blahniks, the second rule is keep a low profile. Muriel, you see, isn't even her real name. She feared that if she divulged her identity, all her friends would expect invites to the sale, and it is by invite only, at least the first few hours when the truly great shoes go. This is called the press sale, because the invitees are editors, writers and other members of the fashion media.

Alyssa Colson(ph) of Oprah magazine was eyeing a boot with heels the circumference of knitting needles. The crinkled red leather gave the boots an unusual texture.

Looks like a sci-fi movie when someone's skin gets ripped off.

Ms. ALYSSA COLSON (O Magazine): It could go with an alien costume.

PESCA: Yeah.

Ms. COLSON: I'll give it that.

PESCA: Can you walk in that?

Ms. COLSON: Yes.

PESCA: Can all the women in this room, can they walk...

Ms. COLSON: All women in this room, yes, could walk in that shoe. Would they want to? Maybe not.

PESCA: These boots might retail for over a thousand dollars. They sell here for a couple hundred. The shoes here are discounted about 80 percent off their retail price. Octavia Wilson was holding seven pair.

Ms. OCTAVIA WILSON (Shopper): It's probably the most important holiday for shoes, twice a year.

PESCA: How many did you pick up there?

Ms. WILSON: Six.

PESCA: It seems like...

Ms. WILSON: I'm embarrassed.

PESCA: Well, it seems--you say you're embarrassed, but what's the total savings?

Ms. WILSON: Oh, the total savings is probably five grand.

PESCA: So you just got to think about it that way, right?

Ms. WILSON: Right.

PESCA: You didn't spend however much you spent. You saved five grand.

Ms. WILSON: That's what I'm talking about.

PESCA: Katherine Neil, with a bill of $1,400, "saved," quote, unquote, about five grand, too, but alas, the sale of the peacock shoe was disallowed by management.

Ms. NEIL: I think one of the sales assistants had their eye on them. They said that they shouldn't have been out there and I would never be allowed to buy them. I knew it was too good to be true, that shoe.

PESCA: But open-toed dreams did come true today. The women here, by standing in line and frantically strategizing, made sure that as they stand in line behind velvet ropes and frantically strategize their way into restaurants for the rest of the year, they will be shod in Manolos. Mike Pesca, NPR News, New York.

CHADWICK: DAY TO DAY, the absolutely fabulous production from NPR News and I'm Alex Chadwick.

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