The Hermès waitlist is the stuff of legend.
First immortalized when Kim Cattrall’s Samantha Jones character uses actress Lucy Liu’s star power to get on the list for the French luxury brand’s Birkin bag in a 2001 episode of “Sex and the City,” the myth of the handbag waitlist has steadily and stealthily been built up over the years, reinforced en masse by pop cultural icons such as Cardi B (whose Birkin collection is notorious), as well as outrageous auction sales of the handbags, which have regularly fetched hundreds of thousands of dollars.
This spring, there’s a new sold-out product at Hermès that is quickly building a similar type of mania. But it’s not a handbag. It’s not even a high heel. It’s a clog.
While an Hermès representative informed FN that it does not have a formal wait list for the shoe, they also confirmed that there are plenty of fans waiting to get their hands on the clogs after they immediately sold out in past weeks.
The French luxury brand first showed the new style in October 2020 at its spring ’21 runway show at Paris Fashion Week. The design was similar to most of the traditional clogs out there: a smooth leather upper finished with nailhead trim on top; signature curved wooden sole on the bottom. The difference is that those details were done to Hermès perfection, with polished calfskin leather on the outside, sumptuous goatskin on the inside, a natural wood sole and palladium hardware, made in Italy and ushered along by the brand’s longtime footwear maestro Pierre Hardy. The Cayla style (which appeared on the runway) features a leather band done in the subtle “H” shape that is often featured in the brand’s slide sandals. The Carlotta, meanwhile, comes with the same buckle clasp hardware found on the brand’s Birkin and Kelly bags.
The clog makes its debut at just the right time, as some high heel wearers have chucked their stilettos in favor of ugly sandals, slippers and other at-home-friendly footwear. On the runway, Hermès creative director Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski paired the wood-soled shoes with clothing that was surprisingly sexy (both for the luxury brand and the times we are living in), giving the clog an unexpected polish that furthers the conversation on what a glamorous and chic shoe looks like in 2021.
Now that spring is here and pandemic restrictions are starting to loosen as vaccines roll out, the shoe also feels like the perfect choice for reentry back into the outside world: Technically, it has a heel in its slight wooden platform. It can be worn with dresses, jeans and even the right loungewear. The clog is an in-between shoe, long seen as an appropriate choice for grocery shopping, dog walking, cooking and errands. Now it also feels right for a dinner outside, or an evening walk with a friend. It could even be that special shoe to wear to the big vaccine appointment.
Of course, even after Hermès restocks the shoes, the $990-and-up price tag is another barrier of entry. But considering the brand’s smallest bags start at more than $4,000, the Hermès clog is a great deal for a certain shopper. It’s also much less conspicuous than a Birkin: Back in the Great Recession years circa 2008 and 2009, it was rumored that the retailer was letting some of its customers carry their purchases out in plain brown paper bags instead of its signature orange carriers — but where and when to wear the luxury product appropriately was still a challenge.
The subtle clog, on the other hand, needs no hiding in its wear — which is why it’s well on its way to gaining “It” shoe status.