Less is in vogue — even in Texas. While the Lone Star State isn’t suffering in the recession as much as California, Florida, Michigan and other locales — with 6.7 percent unemployment in March versus the national figure of 8.5 percent — the downturn still has affected the previously free-spending habits of Dallas socialites. They still shop the high end, travel and party, but are venturing into their favorite retailers for specific needs and investment pieces and sometimes shopping their closets.
Natalie Chu Chu is a native of Singapore, where her late grandfather Wee Kim Wee was president. She now lives in Highland Park with her husband, attorney Wilson Chu, and daughter. She was mulling the purchase of a $4,000 Roland Mouret gown last week when she spoke to WWD.
“I have to say that right now, shopping is a surgical strike. I’ll go to downtown Neiman’s if my salesperson calls me, but I don’t love trawling the [Dallas] malls. I do my best shopping when I travel to Singapore and Europe. That’s when my mind is more at rest and I’m not running to carpool. I love all the Chanels in Singapore — four in a one-mile radius and it’s younger and more fun and you get tax back. Ngee Ann Shopping Center is the best. I’m buying more investment pieces that I can wear a couple times and mix it up. I bought a black wool Chanel jacket that I can wear casually or with dress pants.
“You rethink your values. You get five invitations a day, and now I’d rather hang out here with my child. I’m volunteering more — I’d rather give back than keep spending money on myself.”
Jeanne Marie Clossey Clossey’s charm and style have helped make her a leading Dallas fund-raiser, and she’s chairing her biggest project yet: four days of parties and performances to unveil the $320 million Dallas Center for the Performing Arts from Oct. 14 to 17.
“I definitely am shopping much less, and I’m not buying as expensive clothing as I did before. When you look at your portfolio and it’s half the value that it used to be — that’s daunting. And when you see how many people are suffering, an expensive dress doesn’t seem like the place where I want to spend my money. Plus, I have such a great closet that I’ve been shopping in. I realized I don’t need a new dress for every occasion.
“This spring I have cut my shopping by at least half, maybe three quarters. I bought three pairs of shoes — I cannot go without a new pair of [Christian] Louboutin shoes — but usually I might have bought six. Today, I bought a pretty Lela Rose dress at Neiman’s downtown that’s fun and reasonably priced and I can wear it a lot of places. I worry about fall because there will be so many social events, and I doubt I can slash my budget that much. I’m sure I’ll spend money.”
Tina Craig Craig transformed her shopping obsession into a profitable blog via bagsnob.com. Her family resides at Craig Ranch, a community her husband, David, is developing in suburban Allen.
“Before the recession, I probably shopped once or twice a week, and now it’s twice a month because I want everything, so I’m removing myself from the situation. I shop at NorthPark [Center], Highland Park Village, Forty Five Ten and [Allen Premium] Outlets. I just bought five pairs of winter shoes at Last Call that were 75 to 90 percent off.
“I’ve probably cut back 40 percent. My husband basically said, ‘You take over your bills, or you will stop shopping,’ so I took over my bills. All the husbands were saying, ‘If you can’t eat it, don’t buy it.’ Women should be financially independent, and when you come home with loads of bags, your husband just helps you put it away. I used to hide my bags in the trunk and an argument would ensue. Now we don’t know what to fight about.
“I’m not cutting back on Hermès bags because those are investments, better than the stock market. I have a fund of CDs so when a great Hermès bag comes up, I go into my little fund and pay for it. Other people have college funds; I have an Hermès fund.”
Heidi Dillon Dillon founded and leads the Fashionistas, a group raising funds to establish a fashion museum in Dallas. She lives in Dallas with her husband, Bill, a senior associate dean at Southern Methodist University, and their son.
“I am probably buying half of what I used to buy. I’m older and my husband is nearing retirement age, and with the shifts in the economy I became more chastened and circumspect about how I spend money.
“Dallas has always been a place where people love to get dressed and they dress well, but it has gotten a little more casual. Black-tie events that used to require a long gown have gone to a cocktail dress, like the Art Ball.
“I bought a number of dresses for this spring that are inexpensive, easy things to throw on, the sort of dressing where it’s not fussy and you don’t have to change your clothes three times a day. I like Diane von Furstenberg a lot — her prices are reasonable and it fits well.”
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye