Friday, May 29, 2009

Recessionista's Designer-Inspired Haul #3: Balmain Crystal-Encrusted Studded Sandals by Giuseppe Zanotti

"What irks me is when a mass-producing factory decides to manufacture a replica design of a designer dud in its entirety and then stick on the designer label on it. I call this category Fakes, Replicas, Imitations...whatever you choose to call them. On the contrary, if a mass-producing factory manufactures am inspired version of a designer label with its own brand, then that would be totally genius! I call this category Designer Inspired."

Fact 1: This pair of Balmain Studded Sandals that came with a breathtaking price tag of $2300 sold out on luxury website Net-a-porter within days!
Fact2: Celebrities like Rihanna, Jennifer Connelly, Molly Sims have been spotted with these gorgeous Balmains.
Fact 3: I am not going to spend $2300 on this pair of shoe candy.

With my Fashionista eye and my Recessionista budget, I was on a mission to score myself a pair of Balmain-inspired studded sandals. I have found every single alternative I could find.

Click on Photo below to see enlarged view

Left to Right: Aldo $125; Jeffrey Campbell $165; Bakers Shoes $79.95

Amongst these 3 styles shown above, the Jeffrey Campbell and Bakers Shoes versions were closer to the original Balmain one. I tried on both the Jeffrey Campbell and Bakers Shoes version, and both of them felt really comfortable. The Bakers Shoes pair actually was more comfortable because it was soft leather, whereas the JC pair was patent leather.

Click on Photo below to see enlarged view
Left to Right: Zara $169; Steve Madden $129.95; Bebe $170

I didn't get a chance to try on the Zara version because it sold out within 2 days. My neighbor Holly has the Zara version (which she got on ebay for close to $300) and it looks very much like the Balmain version. The only complaint she had was comfort; it hurts especially at the ball of her feet. I tried on the Bebe version and it is probably the closet to the Balmains and they are super comfy too. But because of the price, I didn't get it. The Steve Madden one is currently sold out and will only ship in July, so if you order them now, you will have to wait.

Finally I got the Bakers Shoes pair for $79.95. It was the cheapest option, most comfortable, and wasn't an exact replica of the Balmains but still had that rocker chic glam to it. I will be posting pictures of me in it with different outfits in upcoming posts.

Check out the video below for Balmain's Spring Summer 2009 Runway Show. You can see almost every model wearing this pair of shoes. This goes to show you how many different outfits can be created with this pair of shoes.