How One Studded Shoe Made A Couture Brand Soar

Photo: Courtesy of Valentino.
Since 2010, you've probably been craving camouflage, butterflies, and psychedelic dyed-fur coats, not only because they're awesome, but because they're being pushed on just about every fashion blog there is. You may not instantly make the connection, but Valentino's been one of the biggest crusaders of these trends. Yet, there's one recognizable style nearly everyone — fashion nerd or not — can instantly connect to the brand: the Rockstud. And, according to, Valentino has taken this shoe straight to the bank, helping to double its total sales since its debut. According to, last year's sale increase of 36% can be half attributed to the brand's accessories, including the now ubiquitous Rockstud and its coordinating handbags. That's a ton of dough, considering the shoes are priced at $1,000 on average and the couture collection — a.k.a. the designs you'll find almost exclusively on celebs when they hit the red carpet — can run in the tens of thousands of dollars. The wild (and long-lasting) popularity of this studded trend is all thanks to the lofty vision of the brand's creative directors. "We never think to do something only for one season. We want to speak a language that speaks about style, and that becomes timeless," says Maria Grazia Chiuri, co-creative director with Pierpaolo Piccioli, to "Rockstud, camouflage — everything we’re doing is because we want to create a world, elements that you recognize as the Valentino style." Chiuri adds, “We think that now the designer has to find a new balance. Women now want something special, but to use every day — not only for special occasions." With the Rockstud shoe, it seems Valentino has done just that: bridging the gap between the brand's aspirational couture beginnings with the more accessible world of street style. After all, the shoes have become a steady fixture at Fashion Week. And, even five years after its debut, its ability to sell out shows no sign of slowing down. (

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