All is not lost. Step away from the ledge. There is one bright shining light that is piercing the dark economic clouds that hang over much of the land.
After reading about the latest corporate carnage in today’s Wall Street Journal, this blogger’s spirits were uplifted by the “Prestige New York Wealth Update” that somehow found its way into his email mailbox.
“Very wealthy people may not be buying as much as they used to, but they aren’t reducing their standard of living,” says Claudia D’Arpizio, Bain & Co. partner. Bully for them!
Her firm tracked 70 brands (Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Hermes, Loro Piana and Brioni) and projects '09 sales to rise a solid eight percent. That contrasts sharply with today’s news that U.S. GDP dropped 3.8 percent during the fourth-quarter, the biggest quarterly drop since '82.
PNYWU assures its dear readers the swells are standing in line for $43K men’s suits hand-made with vicuna, pashmina and Qiviuk by Brioni. The suit is Brioni’s way of reassuring customers that it refuses to cave to the gloomy times. The Italian clothier claims it has sold 30 suits. Hermes nicely accessorizes Brioni’s suit with a limited edition $2,800 silk scarf, the most expensive that it ever produced.
The Update finds more good news in Paris. It cites an Associated Press report that “haute couture designers turned up their noses at the recession, delivering opulent spring-summer collections that obstinately refused to pay the gloomy, global economic situation any mind.” Let them eat cake, indeed. PNYWU makes pulses quicken with its item that Vertu, the maker of gold-plated, diamond-encrusted mobile handsets, is launching a phone with a “concierge key” to link a user to a personal assistant who can take the worry out of arranging tee times.
There is tiny problem, reports PNYWU. Some high-rollers suffer “luxury shame.” Those tinges of guilt are alleviated by asking cashiers at pricey boutiques to put their purchases in “plain bags.” Lucyann Barry, a stylist to New York’s City’s upper-crust, says there is a “sense of there being a gaucheness in spending in excess and coming home with a Louis Vuitton or Channel bag.”
After all, it would take two weeks worth of New York unemployment checks to buy a Louis Vuitton "starter” pocketbook that goes for $650 these days.