They are the most talked-about designer shoes in the national capital since Julie Bishop's red satin resignation heels.
Australian National University demographer Dr Liz Allen sent Twitter into a tizz on Wednesday afternoon when she discovered a pair of Manolo Blahnik designer shoes at Vinnies in Belconnen (opposite Westfield, Target end, FYI). For the bargain price of $35.
Some online sleuthing by one of her followers soon revealed the royal blue Hangisi crystal-embellished stilettos were the very same style that Carrie Bradshaw wore when she married Mr Big on Sex and the City. I know.
The Italian-made shoes retail online for as much as $1700. Which makes $35 for used ones look very good indeed.
Further discussion on Twitter suggested the shoes must have once belonged to former foreign minister and resident glamour puss Julie Bishop. They are a size 38. Which is her size.
A passionate op shopper, Dr Allen did buy the shoes in the end, much to the merriment of the ladies behind the counter at Vinnies.
"They laughed at me and said, 'They look dangerous'. And I said, 'They do look dangerous, they look like a torture device'," Dr Allen said.
Dr Allen had to ask her husband to transfer some money to her account because she didn't have enough cash to buy the shoes which, in op-shopping terms, were not cheap.
"I was like, '$35! That's a lot!'."
Dr Allen had been in Vinnies to find some replacement summer sandals for her $8 Hush Puppies which had also been purchased second hand.
"These are not Hush Puppies," she said.
The Manolos were too small for her but she was hoping they would fit her 18-year-old daughter who has a "very small, skinny foot".
They were a work of art and simply too difficult to resist.
"I'm in absolute awe of them," Dr Allen said.
In the end, the shoes didn't fit her daughter and Dr Allen instead sent them to Tasmania, to an ABC News journalist in Burnie, Erin Cooper, who had asked Dr Allen, via her Twitter feed, to buy them for her.
"They're in the mail now," Dr Allen said on Friday.
I’m not one for fancy things, life doesn’t grant such things to me. But these shoes were like a gift from the universe. Not being in my size, the op-shop Manolo Blahniks are now on their way to @ErinCooper27 where I hope they’ll be enjoyed. I look forward to the story continuing. pic.twitter.com/SD1DhKjmpn— Dr Liz Allen (@DrDemography) January 29, 2021
While the shoes provided a nice hump day diversion on Twitter, Dr Allen said the whole op shopping thing did have a serious side.
She experienced homelessness in her teenage years and used to rely on food donations from Vinnies. In her early years, going to Vinnies felt shameful in her home town. Now it was fun and an experience she was happy to share with her children.
Dr Allen said there was also a sense of community in op shopping, where a range of people shopped together and regulars kept an eye out for bargains for each other.
"You find that connectedness and community in all kinds of hidden places in Canberra," she said.