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Isabel Marant Slowly Easing Up on Policy of Limited Availability

>> In a world of increasing accessibility to luxury goods, Isabel Marant has been going against the grain. Retailers are forbidden to sell, post pictures, or even state price of Marant goods online. Retailers estimate only a few hundred of the highly-coveted Fall 2009 black suede studded boots were produced to be sold the US, reports the Wall Street Journal. It's all about creating consumer want through rarity.

One London customer couldn't find the Marant boots she wanted, so she called the brand's boutique in Paris: "They said, 'Oh, we don't ship outside of Paris. If you want the boots, you have to come and get them.'"  When the company only delivered three pairs of boots out of a 28 pair order, Nevena Borissova, owner of Curve, Marant's biggest retail client in the US, flew to Paris to ask the designer to produce more.  Only after Borissova committed to €50,000 (about $70,000) order did she agree.

So why so hard to find? »

Marant chief executive Sophie Durufle told the WSJ of the limited exposure: "our manufacturing decisions are guided by a strong desire to help preserve the French traditional 'savoir faire.' [Our brand] never entered e-commerce since that really wasn't our profession."

The policy is about to change, however: Net-a-porter has signed on to sell the Spring 2010 collection online, and the first US boutique is being opened in New York early next year.

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