A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Ruminations On A Feeding Frenzy (Or The Curious Case of The Great Barneys' G&G Dump)

Gaziano&Girling's Gable
(and the infamous inverted captoe)

Recently, there has been some speculation as to whether Barneys New York will continue to carry select models from Gaziano & Girling. Initially, certain models were offered at a 40% discount. Shortly thereafter, it seemed that all of the G&G inventory was being offered at a significant discount (up to 60% off), with the sale price going as low as $459 for certain models.

Only time will tell whether Barneys/G&G relationship has actually been severed for good, but the situation raises an interesting (if touchy) question: how much is a high end men's shoe actually worth? The answer to that question is usually, "Whatever someone is willing to pay for it." In the case of the Barneys G&Gs, it seems fair to say that not too many people were willing to pay the manufacturer's suggested retail price (roughly $1200-1400). Discerning customers were more interested in actually purchasing the available models at the $450-650 price range - which is when the feeding frenzy really took hold.

Gaziano&Girling's Savoy
(another example of the polarizing inverted captoe)

If this is actually true, then the next question then becomes: was it just the models that Barneys was offering that were unsellable at the $1200-1400 price range, or does this speak to the value of the entire Gaziano & Girling catalog?

Personally, I would think the problem has more to do with the models that Barneys was selling. Relying on a totally unscientific survey based upon my own (admittedly limited) conversations with other shoe fanatics, I would say that G&Gs inverted captoe is not a universally loved feature. Barneys had several of these models for sale, including the Gable and Savoy (pictured above). Then, there were two-tone (seasonal?) offerings like the Walkton and St. Ives.

Gaziano&Girling's St. Ives

In my opinion, I think smaller internet sellers like Nick Anderson's Bespoke England (full disclosure - I am a satisfied customer) have better offerings - the styles are much more dynamic and interesting. Nick's monthly MTO picks take already popular styles and infuse a breath of fresh air by providing a unique twist.

All of this being said, I am by no means a G&G hater. Although I'm not in love with the elongated lasts from an aesthetic standpoint, I think my G&G Rothchilds might be the most well-made pair of shoes that I own. The vintage chestnut leather color and its accompanying patina has to be seen in person to be believed - I don't think describing these shoes as "exquisite" is overdoing it. At the full manufacturer's suggested retail price, I think the Rothschild is worth every penny.

Hopefully, if Barneys is in fact discontinuing its relationship with G&G, this is hopefully just a temporary state of affairs. However, if the two companies do work together in the future, let's hope that the next selection of models is a more accurate reflection of what we know Gaziano and Girling are capable of.

1 comment:

  1. It seems G&G and Barney's have parted ways and the brand is better off for it. Not a match made in heaven.