Thursday, January 15, 2009

There was a very interesting article in today's NY Times about how Paris is responding to the recession, given how so many luxury brands are centered there. You can read it all here, and below are some key excerpts that I think everyone interested in fashion will be thinking about as we go forward.

But there is also, paradoxically, an underlying satisfaction here that an era of sometimes vulgar high living is over and that a more bedrock French way of life will emerge.

Only in France is the recession lauded for posing a crisis in values.

A recent issue of Le Figaro Magazine featured a 12-page guide to scaled-down living in 2009, with predictions that people will work less and put family (even in-laws) first. A French trend expert quoted in the magazine dramatically described the changes as nothing less than “a revolution in values.”

Rather than trying to keep the machine running by pumping out high-price hand bags, watches and other goods, he proposed the unthinkable: the entire luxury industry should slash prices. “We need a return to reason, decency, discretion, beauty and creativity — in other words, to true values,”

“This whole crisis is like a big spring housecleaning — both moral and physical,” Karl Lagerfeld, the designer for Chanel, said in an interview. “There is no creative evolution if you don’t have dramatic moments like this. Bling is over. Red carpety covered with rhinestones is out. I call it ‘the new modesty.’ ”

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