Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Turn of the Screw

Today is the 1st of November. I just love autumn. So many things which were alive and fresh and vibrant are now dried, dying and tumbling to the ground. The same is happening with the trees and foliage.... The attrition rate between man and nature is a road race that man appears to be winning.

As much as I hate change personally, I get a kick out of it all around me. Seems everything is moving at a faster and faster rate. Politically, we're steamrolling into the station called Obamaton,D.C. It's looking like a freshly scrubbed metropolis of the future. Monumental ,yet people friendly. Money is scarce but hope is is alive and starting to fill the pockets of the masses. It's going to be the currency with which we conduct the business of life for a while.

I'm amused to read that in the business of fashion, designers are weighing in on how they plan to weather the Tsunami that is building and at this very moment is about 100 miles off the coast, each one of our coasts. DVF is cutting only what's ordered. Peter Som has finally gotten the heave ho from Blass so he'll concentrate on his namesake collection, which believe me needs some concentration but is also a much better fit. Oscar is chopping away at expenses but building more freestanding stores. Tory Burch is "connecting" more personally with her clients and "asking them more of what it is they want. Tahari doesn't know what they're doing and others like Cynthia Rowley are opening stores in the far east and stocking their own stores , so as not to rely on major dept. stores more than they must.

Yet others have grander, more vaunted /veiled solutions. This was rich. Ralph Rucci is going to work more with his archival fabrics and buy much less. Translation: he's overbought for years, has a ton of old stuff sitting on shelves in storage and none of the top luxury fabric suppliers is in a rush to sell him more , because he still hasn't paid for the old stuff he's going to work with this season. Sounds harsh, but that comes from sources in the industry who wish to stay anonymous. He also plans to do his fantastic embroideries and surface treatments which are part of his trademark In HOUSE. No more Lesage in Paris or other embroiderers abroad, but some good old home grown talent. This is clever thinking.... keep those jobs on Main St. and not on Rue de Over-prixed. But when asked how this will affect his prices he was very quick to say that there would be no change in price because the labor is so expert and intensive. If anything the prices will rise, which is appropriate for his precious creations.He doesn't learn that you have to give a little to get a little. Fabrics alone which have passed the year mark lose their value. They can depreciate by as much as 25% . this is a drop in overhead expense right there. Another anonymous source who is a buyer says that they are not doing well. They are "trying " to get people in to buy. Where is the logic. There is no logic. In the past 2-3 months Ralph has been honored at the White House and at the Cooper Hewitt and as a result he must think his press speaks for him and for itself. He has been chosen.... Chosen is a multi faceted word with many sharp edges to it. I fear he may wake up and see a house of cards that's blown itself right off the map.

If Chanel is categorically lowering the prices by 10-15% at least for the pret a porter, why aren't we seeing how we can do the same? Instead , companies like J.Mendel have hired industry experts like Susan Sokol to come in and move the mountains and stem the tide. She went to Vera Wang to do the same, and Michael Kors, and Pegasus , and Donna Karan ,maybe even Calvin Klein, not to mention her own consulting firm. This blond Rain maker is a size 4 messiah with blown out hair. That company needs design direction and a sharp pencil. Instead, they've let go of the bulk of the design team and staff and have hired her instead. She doesn't sew, she commands a huge salary and is full of wildly impractical solutions. Grow it, grow it, grow it is her mantra. I don't know, but I smell the smallest trace of smoke.

So change is in the are. The screw turns and some are setting themselves up to be screwed. Time for some humility and tough choices. Hubris has gone the way of a new Bentley's just this side of way too expensive.

1 comment:

Octopus said...

Tnks for the kind words...
please keep on visiting and commenting the blog