Like the Marsh Hare from Alice In Wonderland, Extremely Important People (EPI) are wringing their hands and fretting. “There’s nothing to buy. There’s nothing to buy.” That’s because large scale luxury providers have “sanded down” their merchandise and shifted their attention away from 1 per centers to focus on the Middle Market: “a socio economic graphic that spends when flush and tightens purse strings when times get tough.” Think well-heeled techies. (Conspicuous Consumption, Is that all There Is?” by Dana Thomas, TownandCountry, March 2016 pg. 132.)
Having branded their products as luxury items, complete with logos, these large companies aim for a mass market, making their money on high mark-ups for accessible items like lipstick. (Ibid pg. 132.)
True, even the 1% have grown conservative when it comes to spending money. Couture is on the decline as the super rich display a preference for buying ten $80,000 dresses rather than one designer gown with a $200,000 price tag (Ibid pg. 195). And besides, da-h-h-ling, look at the time one saves avoiding fittings. Still, a person with billions and billions likes to splurge a little.
According to Lauren Santo Domingo, co-founder of Modi Operations, an on-line luxury retailer, what the super-rich want is to have “things other people can’t have.” (Ibid, pg. 195) What might that be? Shoes with high tops made from an famous artist’s drop cloth would be one example. French lingerie measured and hand stitched for the individual would be another. Of course, for those with money to burn, jewelry designed for the customer is catnip. Whatever the item, nothing purchased should ever look like a duplicate of anything else or, heaven forbid, look like something worn on the red carpet.
Okay, I get it and I’m not envious. Let the super rich have their D’Lish bunny slippers made from recycled mink coats. I salivate for the service money can buy. Having a private jet beats going through security lines at the airport. Ditto with having a private physician, or best seats at a restaurant or theater. How about being able to afford a company that not only packs my suitcases when I travel but sees that they reach each destination on my itinerary on time, clean and pressed? Oh yeah. For that I could drool an ocean.