The Margin: How Payless — disguised as a pop-up called Palessi — duped the L.A. fashion crowd

Does that stiletto rank as “designer” by virtue of its designer price and the persuasive powers of Champagne?

Pretty much.

For Payless Shoesource, the discount footwear retailer, hype proved more valuable than haute couture at a pop-up publicity stunt it pulled off this week in Santa Monica, Calif.

Payless took over a former Armani store, amended its brand name to “Palessi” and stocked the pop-up shop with $19.99 pumps and $39.99 boots, fitted with much higher price tags. The chain, using marketing agency DCX Growth Accelerator, then invited groups of social-media influencers who were more than happy to sling Champagne, pose with partygoers for Instagram posts, and, more often than not, take the plunge with the pleather.

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