Gilles Bensimon, Gucci Prez Admit Recession Will Hurt Fashion

Gilles Bensimon: a dreamer Photo: Patrick McMullan

Few at the top of the fashion world will admit that the shoddy economy has affected the industry. Makes sense since luxury brands have remained more than profitable these past months despite the recession. But sometimes it's just damn difficult to coax a concrete answer out of people. Take photographer Gilles Bensimon who barely admitted the fashion sector faced economic danger on Saturday at a dinner honoring the documentary Playground at Marianne Boesky's Chelsea gallery. "Fashion is just only about dreams. We don't need clothes, we need dreams. That's why I think fashion is about to make your life different." So the lesson is, um, dreams are free so fashion will flourish? "I'm sure if we have a recession, people are going to spend less money on travel, less money on many things, and less money on fashion. But if they want to feel better, they buy a new pair of shoes or a new dress to feel better. I mean, fashion is a great world because it is really only about pleasure … I think the recession is a terrible thing for people with little jobs with low income. For them, they're going to suffer more than the others. For the others, they have to have a lesson, they have to learn from that." Yes, it always works out that rich people learn lessons from suffering, poorer folk. Just look at the Real Housewives of New York.

Businesswoman and Gucci president Danielle Vitale explained things more clearly. "I think [the credit crisis] will certainly affect us in the short term. It will affect everyone in the short term," she said. But she's not too worried because there are always big spenders in other countries. "At the end we're a very big company and cater to a wide audience. International will certainly help us also in the short term, and, you know, we're a company that's weathered this before. So we're still doing incredibly well." — Andrew Goldstein