“Is the Party Over?” asked WWD on Oct. 21, 1987. It’s two days after Black Monday and the paper surveyed “society’s bulls and bears” with one question: “Will the luxury life come crashing down with the stock market?” Here, on the anniversary of the 1987 crash, some of the responses.
Carolyne Roehm: “Well, no one is throwing themselves out of windows yet. I spent 45 minutes reading The New York Times this morning trying to figure this all out. For us in the expensive clothes business it will be important. People will be buying less so they will want the best quality.”
Oscar de la Renta: “It’s difficult to say. Obviously the big drop in the market will have a huge effect on luxury goods. Even if it rebounds, people are going to be more cautious in their spending. Perhaps they’ll start buying more American clothes.”
This story first appeared in the October 19, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
John Richardson, art historian: “Off the top of my head, I think it could have the salutary effect of bringing down the grossly overinflated prices in 19th- and 20th-century paintings, particularly contemporary works. They need price puncturing. I’m sorry if the dealers will suffer but they’ve been doing so well I don’t think they have much to worry about.”
Marie-Hélène de Rothschild: “Certainly not. I’m an optimist. What happened makes things more normal. I think the market will go up again. One shouldn’t panic in life. It’s just a bad moment. It’s too soon to tell, but I don’t think social life or the level of luxury in the States will be affected. This is just for a while, not for always.”
Annette Reed: “I would think so. I think everyone would be depressed. This affects everybody. If the economy is troubled, all levels will suffer. It’s not very good news. Anyone with a brain in his head is concerned.”
Emanuel Ungaro: “Not at all. There’s no use in panicking. I’m no analyst, I don’t own any stocks and I don’t even care, but it seems to me the market is much more realistic now. Certainly my clients in the States will continue to live on the level they always have. Those people are not affected.”
JAR’s Joel Arthur Rosenthal: “Are you kidding? Beauty lasts. Numbers are forgotten.”
Pam Gilpatric of Douglas Elliman: “You are my first phone call [11:30 a.m.]. Doesn’t that tell you something?”
Aileen Mehle: “Do I think this will put an end to partygiving? Heavens, no! I think if you lined up these people against a wall and shot them they’d still come to life and throw another party.”
Ed Kosner: “Nouvelle Society may have to become couch potatoes.”