For many, the collapse of Lehman Brothers a year ago sounded a gong for more discretionary spending that has yet to stop tolling.
Gallup reported there have been some positive signs in recent months, but comparisons to last September indicate the U.S. has a long way to go to return to the pre-crisis economic climate, never mind healthier financial times. And designers and other members of the fashion crowd apparently fit right in with the new thriftier mood, both personally and professionally, judging from a random sampling of showgoers and designers in recent days.
But while caution is the prevailing mood by far among the country’s more directional shoppers, a few designers consider spending to be even more of a necessity in these uneven financial times. “I believe in order for the economy to recover, we all have to spend,” said Juicy co-founder Gela Nash-Taylor. “I am doing my bit as best I can and so is Pam [Skaist-Levy], In fact, she might be doing a little better.”
“Obsessed” with shoes, she said she recently bought some “amazing” Brian Atwood boots and a Stephen Jones hat with a Union Jack design.
Overall, though, fashion insiders said they are more inclined to do without for now rather than spend wildly. Whether shopping for their children’s back-to-school clothes in outlet stores, taking ill-fitting shoes to be softened up or digging out old favorites from seasons past, attendees at the New York shows last week said they are learningto work around the recession.
Even with a new album, “In Love & War,” due out in November, two-time Grammy winner Amerie is not splurging. “I am not really spending in general. I am only buying things that I absolutely love and will have for a long time,” she said. “Right now is the time to buy classics.”
She said her last great purchases were a leather jacket her sister helped find online and a pair of Gucci shoes. But she has no qualms about dipping into her closet to break out old favorites, like the black leather Roberto Cavalli thigh-high boots she wore to the recent Nicole Miller show. “I was thinking, ‘I needed a pair for fall’ and then I remembered, ‘Oh, I already have some,’” she said, tracing the boot’s patterned design. “They look like they could be Stella McCartney from last season.”
Prabal Gurung, who once again arranged to have his friends donate the space he used to show his collection, said, “I am very frugal when it comes to spending money. I am lucky because I work out of my home and I show the collection at a friend’s place. I am careful about buying fabrics,” he said.
As for his own indulgences, Gurung said he mixes thing up, pointing to his ensemble of an American Apparel T-shirt, well-worn Cloak jeans and Martin Margiela shoes as an example of how he typically shops for himself. “I will spend just on key pieces,” he said.
At the Fashion Institute of Technology Couture Council luncheon earlier this month, Isabel Toledo said she has always lived by measured steps, so this fall is no different. “I have always been careful and resourceful. That’s the way Ruben and I are. You spend a dollar — you make two dollars,” she said.
The designer, whose inauguration ensemble for Michelle Obama is on view at FIT, will be strengthening her Beltway ties this fall. She will stage a fashion show at the Swiss Embassy Nov. 4, and the following day will make an appearance at Nordstrom’s Tysons Corner store and have a public discussion at the Textiles Museum with The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan.
Another luncheon guest, Julie Gilhart, Barneys New York’s fashion director, said she is giving more thought to every purchase she makes. “If I were to add it up, I don’t know that I am spending any less. I’m just not spending as quickly,” she said.
Charlotte Moss said she too is being more careful in that she is more “reserved and selective about everything from top to bottom,” including clothes, her flower budget and other things she hadn’t really thought about before. But “I am still keeping a very positive face and I am optimistic,” she stressed.
Aside from being more philanthropic, Arnold Scaasi, who has donated his archives to Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, said his personal investments remain unchanged. “I still have three houses — in the Hamptons, Beekman Place and Palm Beach — and I plan to keep them. All my London-made suits still fit me very well. I’m hoping not to change. Why do I have to change?” Scaasi asked, noting his company will mark its 55th anniversary next year.
Before Ralph Rucci’s show, Rachel Roy said she bought her nine-year-old daughter the same amount of back-to-school clothes as last fall — although she opted to shop at a Gap outlet store instead of a full-priced one.
Roy said she reined in her spending in summer 2008. “I’m conscientious about what bills need to be paid and that affects the fabrics I choose and how many colors I use,” the designer said. As much as she enjoys traveling and finds it helpful to her creativity, there has been little time lately for such pursuits. As a New Yorker, she still eats out practically every day. But recently she passed up a Givenchy bag that she loved. “I really loved it. It cost thousands and I’m sure it was worth every dollar.”
Never one to be careless about his spending habits, Carlos Campos said he makes every piece of clothing he wears and has always ridden his bike around the city instead of taking cabs. “The one thing I can say is I’m enjoying more home-cooked meals with my friends,” he said.
From a professional standpoint, Campos said his company has become more organized to focus on effective time-action planning. “We are being more directional in terms of design samples. We’ve saved enormously by properly merchandising the designs before sampling,” he said. “In terms of marketing, we’ve been resourceful in finding innovative ways to save. Last season we printed our campaign look book on newspaper and it looked great.”
Before his video presentation for spring, Carmen Marc Valvo said he isn’t buying as many presents for his nieces and nephews as he usually does. He still does indulge in gardening and a good bottle of wine from time to time though, and while he hasn’t updated his cashmere collection with a new sweater, a fall ritual, he did recently buy seven pairs of shoes. “I guess it really depends on what you really need and what you feel you can’t live without,” he said.
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)