My friends at http://www.donavictorina.blogspot.com/ have posted a great entry (A Society in Crisis) on the 'new conservative' way we live today. Or the way we should have been living financial crisis or not! Bonus comedy relief for readers is the dorky photo of Tim Yap and Shoppingera as "The Donald" (Duck).
(I only have the photo above and GAWD knows who they ARE! Maybe Football Wives)
Despite being in the fashion media and encouraging people to buy the latest 'must have', I agree with Boldstar that we should not be spending money we don't have. But as a member of one of the most fickle of businesses, I would like to make the following comments in defense of those like me who love fashion, make a living of it, TRY (very hard) not to overspend and pay our bills in full on time (well, my husband pays....so no shoppingera VIP points for me).
The idea of what it means to be rich is relative. An investment banker who takes home 2 million in bonuses and lives between three homes and now has to live on 500,000 will feel poor. Suicidal! But imagine what you could do with 500,000?
There was a study conducted among Harvard graduates where they were asked if they would rather live in a place where they were making 50,000 USD but were the richest in town or 100,000 USD but were one among many. Guess which majority chose? 50,000.
Despite many people having lost money, those in the upper strata of international wealth may have seen this coming and/or may have lost, what, about 30-40% of their net worth? (This does not include Bernie Madoff and other hedge fund victims who have literally lost everything but I THINK they HAD to be smart enough to squirrel the money SOMEWHERE!)
That means if you had a billion dollars (since millions seem to mean nothing these days) you would still have about 700 million which leaves enough to buy stocks or houses at depressed prices (like Miami?), hedge currencies (which ones??), buy commodities (corned beef?) and other investments more cheaply now than at the top of the market. That is, if you have confidence in the markets, which most people don't these days.
Or you could hold on to your cash and take it with you to the bunker that will be loaded up with canned goods, water, dog food and guns. Many articles and books have come out about this bunker theory and I am leaning towards this belief.
(Because of this financial crisis, we have come up with more contingecy plans than the Pentagon)
But can you bring your Birkin into the bunker? OF COURSE! You can even be buried with it like Bryan Boy!
(Which reminds me of my gay friend in Singapore who went for his mandatory military service and told his CO that if there was a war, he just wanted to let the CO know that he would be the first to fall out and run for his life carrying all his Hermes!)
We are at the worst financial situation since the Great Depression but the market will return in fighting form. Not soon. Not next year but it will return. At that time, Bryan Boy and other Birkin owners can emerge from their bunkers unscathed.
Why am I discussing the Birkin even if I am not a fan? I may continue to lose my mind and some of my money but I still retain objectivity.
It is because Hermes stock is up 14%, unlike LVMH and PPR (Gucci and Bottega to you Duty Free shoppers) which are down 40% (a reflection of international markets). I have my opinions on PPR-Gucci which I will keep to myself until I get the chance to say, "I KNEW IT!" "I told you so!"
I THINK--and I have never read qualifications as to why Hermes stock is up---it is because people are looking for merchadise that is lasting, with value for money and not trend driven. De Beers has also picked this up with full page ads in the Herlad Tribune. This is the same thing I told Mr Luigi Loro Piana at lunch before the Hong Kong Regatta. The Loro Piana business is based on classics that are enduring and of excellent quality. Customers who buy this label expect only clothing made of top-grade cashmere, wool or their Storm System. They will expect to pay high prices for a collection that has no secondary lines.
They also are the biggest (if not the sole) supplier of vicuna, a very rare and expensive fiber from an indigenous Peruvian mammal. Price? 6000 pounds (Yes! almost 10,000 USD even with the weak pound) for a dressing gown or a sweater, 2000 pounds for a scarf.
And don't think these things ever go on sale. These are things people who are relatively untouched by the recession buy every year. Furs at the top end of the market like sable and chinchilla will continue to sell. Haute couture will survive. Mrs. Billionaire may not be ordering 10 gowns starting at 100,000 euros this year. She might only order 6. But she'll still be ordering.
But people (especially women) HAVE to shop (and still love it) and for us non-couture customers who may have bought two bags at Gucci in one go, we would now buy one. Or none but go to Giordano Ladies and buy a suit.
Those of us who have been prudent with money (I NEVAH pay full price!!) and selective with our shopping can follow Warren Buffet's advice on equities---buy them now at a bargain.
Sadly, even if you had the money, there is really nothing worth buying (at least in the shops). You would think design houses would try to produce beautiful stuff every season but nhhoo...They had to pick the worst time to release their worst merchandise.
I am waiting until AFTER Chinese New Year to shop. Retail will be a bloodbath. It has been going on for months in New York, London and Hong Kong, cities that are very sensitive to the financial markets.