Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
Paris, 3 February 2012
RICH BETTER THAN POOR AT WEATHERING RECESSION
In a short story published in 1926, US novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote:“Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”
We were reminded of that remark by an article by Jess Cartner-Morley on the “recession-defying market for haute couture”, which appeared in the UK’s Guardian newspaper on 24 January 2012. The following are the first two paragraphs:
“Paris haute couture is the most exclusive and expensive branch of fashion – £50,000 for an outfit is not unusual – and business is booming. Giorgio Armani reported a rise in sales for couture of 50% in 2011 compared with 2010; Valentino’s couture sales rose 80% in the same period. Donatella Versace, who bowed out of couture eight years ago to concentrate on ready-to-wear, has returned to Paris.
“The demand is a reflection of economic reality. Not of recession, but of the polarisation of wealth. Fifteen years ago, there seemed little economic logic in creating beautiful dresses that cost 20 times more than those available in the top Bond Street boutiques. But the emergence of a super-rich stratum of society, tiny in number but fabulously wealthy, has created a niche market. As Fabio Mancone of Giorgio Armani puts it: ‘Couture customers are better equipped to face economic uncertainty.’”
Antigone1984’s catwalk correspondent writes:
It is clear that Jess Cartner-Morley and Fabio Mancone both do a nice line in understatement.
It’s comforting to know that in the worst economic recession the world has known since the Great Depression of the 1930s some people manage to live on untroubled in the style to which they have become accustomed. These moneybags, rich beyond the dreams of avarice, are in reality unsung philanthropists who are doing what they can to help out those less fortunate than themselves. Think how many more seamstresses would be out of a job without the work so generously bestowed on them by the world of haute couture.
It’s the same the whole world over,
It’s the poor wot gets the blame,
It’s the rich wot gets the gravy,
Ain’t it all a bleedin’ shame?¹
¹Lines from anonymous First World War song