Only a surprisingly small 20-30% of what is shown on the runways actually makes it to the sales floor, according to an interesting piece in the Wall Street Journal (Runway to Rack: Finding Looks That Will Sell). Purchases are actually made in advance of the shows at the less theatrical, more saleable pre-collections.
Part of the reason is who can actually afford to typical designer prices, which have now exceeded most people's monthly rent (even a Manhattanite's) with "affordable" day dresses in the $1000 range (Temperley, Derek Lam), cocktail dresses around $4000 (Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Lanvin), and even shoes fast approaching the 1G threshold. "I'm trying to remember when the average price of a shoe reached $800," muses Chris Mulroy, creative director for Neapolitan's, a Chicago based boutique catering to the local social X-rays. "In 2003, a beautiful designer cocktail dress retailed for around $2,000," agrees Neapolitan's co-owner Kelly Golden. "Today it is approaching $4,000."
Another interesting fact is that while these women can well afford to conspicuously consume, they don't want to look the part. "Ms. Golden describes her typical customer as someone in her 40s or 50s who can afford a terrific wardrobe but doesn't want everyone to know how much she spends. (That, by the way, is a refrain I've noticed among women who buy luxury clothes. While fashion may appear to be all about conspicuous consumption, many women keep their fashion spending secret.)"
Check it out at WSJ.com.
- Lesley Scott
(runway photo: style.com)
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