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Four Decades of Manolo Blahnik Wallet Damage, Graphed

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Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

Here at Racked, we're dedicating this week to the kind of fantastical shopping that most of us only get to experience in dreams (or at 80%-off sample sales). Taking a page from casino parlance, we'll be talking a lot about "whales," those big spenders who feel perfectly comfortable dropping tens of thousands of dollars every night on roulette, or, in our case, on Cartier. Welcome to Whale Week 2013.

Prices reflect Manolo's classic "Carolyne" style sling-backs (pictured in black), via Manolo Blahnik

Bianca Jagger paired Manolos with the horse she rode into Studio 54. Kate Moss requested bespoke ivory heels for her wedding. Madonna is rumored to have said Manolo's are better than sex, and last longer. Then, of couse, there's Sex and the City and the shoe adventures of Carrie Bradshaw.

Lady ballers have been dropping considerable bank on the iconic shoes since it the label launched in the early '70s. How much bank? Manolo Blahnik shared the exact price of their classic Carolyne slingback with us at different points in history. Here's a look at how it's changed over the decades.

1986: $395
George Malkemus, the current chief executive officer of the company, who has worked with Blahnik since 1982, recently told WWD, "There was a day when Manolo was the most expensive shoe in the world—and that was probably $395 when we started."

1996: $425
The "Carolyne" jumped up to $425 by the mid-nineties, and two years later the Sex and the City writers and Carrie Bradshaw made the brand go gangbusters in the collective conscious of footwear shoppers everywhere.

2006: $575
The aughts were arguably the heyday of the power shoe, but were they recession proof? Answer: Not quite. Responding to the requests of department stores to keep the price "approachable," Malkemus recalled reducing Manolo's basic black pump down from $645 to $595.

Today: $625
Despite the recession and the popularity of competitor brands like Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo, the price tag on a pair of Manolos has continued to grown. The takeaway? Manolos have proven their staying power and worth as an investment piece. Also, buy now instead of ten years from now and save more or less $100.
· Sky-High Shoe Prices [WWD]
· Whale Week 2013 [Racked]
· Let The Games Begin: Manolo Blahnik Makes An Olympic-Themed Stiletto [Racked]
· 'The Carrie Diaries' Costume Designer on John Hughes, Whitesnake, and Other '80s Style Influences [Racked]