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.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)