Brioni just launched a line of suits that cost as much as $43,000. Brioni's chief executive noted the economic timing was "not fortunate" but figured at least they're showing customers they stick to "high-quality initiatives." And they've even managed to sell 30 of the suits! That's because — revelation time — really rich people are still really rich. While demand for luxury goods by brands like Louis Vuitton ("aspirational") or Coach ("accessible") is expected to fall 3 to 7 percent in 2009, demand in the highest end of the luxury market should hold steady. The Wall Street Journal reports:
While middle-income consumers have cut spending because of their income, "that's not the case with the wealthy," says Carl Steidtmann, chief economist at Deloitte LLP. The wealthy are "constrained by guilt, and that's the hurdle high-end brands have to overcome."
How is that done? With ads that convince you it's okay to spend a lot of money if you just buy one really expensive thing instead of four smaller, less expensive things. Because if you only buy one pair of $1,200 Louboutin boots instead of three pairs of $450 Miu Miu pumps, you'll think harder about your purchase. And if you've considered your $1,200 pair of Louboutins carefully enough, you'll convince yourself of how useful the purchase is, absolving you of all guilt. It's that whole "new morality" Karl Lagerfeld was talking about. And if you wear your $1,200 shoes three or four times in one week, you'll really look thrifty.