WWD is reporting that Vogue editor Anna Wintour has taken our suffering economy under her fur-clad wing and is organizing Fashion’s Night Out. On September 10, stores around the world will stay open late and attempt to lure shoppers with fizzy cocktails, in-store events and appearances, live music and freebies. Of course, the epicenter of this event will be NYC, with both Rachel Roy and Alexander Wang showing up at Macy’s and Barneys, respectively.
Anna says the idea behind the event is to remind everyone “just how wonderful shopping can be”.
I’ll let you guys marinate on that for a second…
Oh, La Wintour. So optimistic for someone who hasn’t had to purchase a scrap of clothing for at least 15 years, yet is draped in Oscar de la Renta 7 days a week. So hopeful for a lady who shops from the racks upon racks of clothing sent by designers directly to her office and home.
Don’t get me wrong. This event sounds like a lot of fun. I used to frequently go to things like this at Harvey Nicks and Harrod’s when I lived in London. And they were fun! Who doesn’t love to stroll around a store with a glass of champers in hand and leave with a little goodie bag? Did it make me actually buy stuff? Well, that depends. If the event was for Chloe or Dior – not likely. Those purchases are still few and far between for me. If it was for something like Whistles (not cheap by any means, but attainable) – maybe so.
Karen Katz, president and ceo of Neiman Marcus Stores said “The idea is to make people not feel guilty about shopping”. Right. That’s all well and good…until your rent is overdue. I hope you can fashion a dwelling out of that Balmain jacket you bought without a second thought that night!
I was fairly surprised shocked to the core to read last week that Anna Wintour (or A-Dubs, as she’s known to those of us who follow fashion news like it’s election day coverage) doesn’t loathe the concept of discount designer in the form of collaborations with stores like Target.
I am sure that the checks from Target, and the exposure, are very helpful. I don’t agree that [they lost ground to cheap-chic retailers]. If it’s the right fit, [I encourage it] absolutely. One of the collaborations we do through the Fashion Fund is with the Gap [wherein the winners design their own twist on the classic white shirt]. Gap takes the designers all over the world, and photographs them with young models wearing the shirts. And the shirts are fabulous.
So while I doubt she’s shopping the Viktor & Rolf rack at H&M or anything, it’s nice to know we have her blessing and that the Voguettes aren’t being dispatched out to area Target stores to set fire to the McQ displays.
Read the article here at The Cut.
New York Magazine’s fashion blog The Cut (one of my daily reads) sat down with Alexander McQueen recently to discuss his collection for Target. Some of the questions turned to fashion’s current hot topic – the state and fate of luxury goods in today’s economic environment.
When asked what he hopes the Target line does for the McQueen brand, the Scottish designer had this to say:
I think the idea of mixing luxury and mass-market fashion is very modern, very now — no one wears head-to-toe designer anymore. It was an exciting challenge to translate my vision into a mass-produced product that is accessible to people who otherwise would have never been exposed to my work.
Discussing how the the fashion world has come to accept designers dabbling in discount and high street (the British equivalent of mall stores here in the States) markets, he went on to reiterate that “wearing head-to-toe designer has become a bit passé”:
It’s a new era in fashion — there are no rules. It’s all about the individual and personal style, wearing high-end, low-end, classic labels, and up-and-coming designers all together.
Addressing whether he had any reservations with diving into discount, McQueen says:
I didn’t have many concerns; I believe that if you maintain your high line quality and overall aesthetic, as I did with Target, a partnership like this is actually quite brilliant for a designer.
When asked whether his decision to partner with Target was a direct result of the economic downturn, McQueen admits that times are certainly tough and that he’s happy for budget-conscious consumers to have the ability to snag a piece of high-fashion:
It is a difficult time with the current economy and we are delighted to be able to offer an affordable line to fashion-savvy shoppers. Fashion and style should not be exclusive to the luxury market or to those who have a certain amount of money.
Read the whole article here on The Cut.
I came across this WSJ article by Teri Agins on Friday which I thought was very interesting. It talks about the economic downturn’s effect on the luxury goods market. Some of the more captivating points brought up are the implications of heavy discounting on the overall perception of luxury brands and the effects of moving production from France and Italy to China or other low-cost manufacturing centers (and therefore replacing “Made in …” tags of origin with “Designed in …”).
We’ve already seen a surge in designer capsule collections for discount retailers (think Giles Deacon for New Look, Viktor & Rolf for H&M, Alice Temperly for Target) as well as diffusion labels (Marc by Marc Jacobs, 3.1 Phillip Lim, KORS Michael Kors). And some think moves like these are watering down what was once an elite market.
This is a topic that I’ve long been fascinated with. I’ve just started reading Teri Agins’ book The End of Fashion: The Mass Marketing of the Clothing Business and as soon as I’m done with that one, I have Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster by Dana Thomas ready to go.
At base, I think luxury goods shoppers are broken down into two categories. The first is the group who are proud to be able to buy everything at full price the minute it hits the floor at Bergdorf (or as soon as it goes live on Shopbop.com for us suburban gals). The second are those who brag about scoring a $1,500 bag at 85% off.
The bottom line is that prices of luxury goods are expected to drop. The WSJ article specifically quotes Alber Elbaz of Lanvin saying he’s been calling around to their suppliers asking for better prices so they can, in turn, lower theirs. The CEO of Emanuel Ungaro says the prices for high fashion have gotten out of control. Michael Kors’ CEO says he recognizes that consumers are cross-shopping (buying half your wardrobe from designers and the other half from mall outlets like Banana Republic) these days and part of the reason the KORS and MICHAEL diffusion labels were created was so their customers could cross-shop between one parent label. Smart? Or shooting yourself in the foot? Seems like the opinion is split on that one.
I’ll revisit this topic once I’ve read my books…