SHANGHAI, China — Back in the 1980s, Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo sang of a rich woman in New York so glamorous she had diamonds on the soles of her shoes. Now famed shoe designer Jimmy Choo is betting her contemporaries are in China.
At a giant trade fair under way in Shanghai, Choo and fellow designer Reggie Hung are showing off gemstone shoes for Chinese one-percenters. Choo and Hung’s top-of-the-line model: a pair of high heels inlaid with thousands of rare pink diamonds with a $4.3 million price tag.
The shoes are the most expensive piece presented by Gènavant, the two designers’ London-based luxury brand that’s using the China International Import Expo in Shanghai to launch its bling footwear in China, according to managing director Tao Xiao.
Even as China’s economic growth slows, some of the country’s wealthiest consumers still are willing to shell out for conspicuous luxury goods from brands like Gènavant. Choo and Hung’s company, which makes its shoes in Italy and then adds the gemstones in Taiwan, has already received orders, Tao said.
If paying more than $4 million for a pair of shoes is beyond your reach, not to worry. Gènavant also offers shoes with a starting price of $50,000 for consumers on a more modest budget.
By Bruce Einhorn; editors: K. Oanh Ha and Jeff Sutherland.