Without a doubt, Valentino’s Rockstud collection (a wide range of purses, shoes, sunglasses, jewelry, small leather goods and tech accessories) is one of the most distinct and recognizable accessory lines that have cropped up in recent years.
In 2010, the new design duo at Valentino—Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli—made quite the rebel statement when they surprised the crowd at their Paris runway show, pairing elegant little dresses with shoes that sported a demure 2.5-inch heel.
While 2.5-inch heels aren’t exactly outrageous, it was quite striking since the prevailing heel height at that time was high, way higher.
Back then, the norm was a sculptural and bulky shape, with a platform sole to achieve a towering heel height of five inches or more. The shoes then were those that could easily kill, but women couldn’t get enough of them.
But, as with all things fashion, the pendulum inevitably swung the other way. The now-famous shoes, called the Rockstud pump—a classic, pointy-toed design toughened with gold pyramid studs—became a huge hit, and is still selling out in stores since its debut with a myriad of heel heights, colors and textures.
When the first Rockstud pair came into the scene, the ladies just snatched them up. Why so? Usually, shoes with 2.5-inch heels have designs that are somewhat more conservative and stodgy in nature; but this new design filled a much-needed gap in the market for sexy yet comfortable shoes—a little bit lady, a little bit vamp.
Plus, they are the type of shoes that can be worn with jeans, trousers, dresses, and even with work suits day and night.
Since their introduction in 2010, the shoes seemed poised to stay for a long time. Even the world-renowned department store Harrods in London unveiled an exclusive Rockstud boutique in its Knightsbridge store recently.
The launch of Rockstud marked the beginning of a new Valentino—hipper and younger.
Chiuri and Piccioli—who also designed Fendi’s popular Baguette bag during their stint at the Italian luxury brand—joined Valentino in 1999 when the legendary fashion designer, Valentino Garavani, asked them to create an accessory line that interpreted the couture spirit of the brand. The duo pushed to take the brand beyond Valentino’s signature red and ruffles.
The design duo’s strategy obviously worked, as nearly every magazine editor, blogger and actress has been spotted wearing them for quite some time. Even some of our socialites, fashionistas and local actresses have been seen of late in different variations of the shoes.
But while the heels are lower compared to the sky-high ones that came before, the price of the shoes is not—a flat pair can set you back by around $945, and more for the pump version, at around $1,200 and up in sites like www.netaporter.com (select accessories are also available at Adora), especially if the style comes in the new pony, snakeskin and crystallized variations.
Still, just like when Louboutins and Blahniks were hot, some ladies don’t seem to mind the astronomical price tag.