Saturday, 28 March 2009

Bling is dead . . . . .

Fashionista does not want to end the week on a down beat note but is saddened to learn that bling is no longer acceptable - or so says Karl Lagerfeld who has told us to embrace an era of "new modesty". The credit crunch spares no -one - and that includes the luxury brands. Hugo Boss this week reported growth in sales but decreased profits following one off management re-structuring charges. Hermès, PPR and LVMH have reported good results - but they are for last year and this year may be a very different story. Christian Blanckaert of Hermès International speaking at a conference in India this week said that the company was working on a month by month basis with "absolutely no visibility into 2009". And what makes the outlook bleaker still is that in this new era of modesty or even austerity luxury can be seen as provocative when so many people are so poor.

So, how will the luxury brands maintain their appeal during the economic downturn? Sustainability (as everywhere) is important. And Fashionista is pleased to hear that investment in a classic, timeless leather handbag may be justifiable on this basis - just one that is and she must make it last. As for those who still have money to spend, one answer may be to present the goods to them in such a way that the customer does not feel embarrassed to be seen going into an upmarket store. Fashionista predicts that a new trend for home shopping, not just on-line, is arriving. Tanner Krolle now sells from discreet offices in Mayfair so why not a personal home visit with a selection of must-have pieces for the valued luxury client? Fashionista is up for this but is not sure if her post code will make the grade.