Cathy Horyn Loves Her $16 White Jeans From Wal-Mart

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

The cost of producing luxury goods doesn't come close to the retail price. But ultimately, that's not what consumers have been paying for. They pay for the name, the logo, the ability to send the message to everyone around them that yes, they are rich enough to purchase that crocodile Birkin bag and those Louis Vuitton Stephen Sprouse leggings and that $1,400 burlap Miu Miu dress (God, we hope our imaginary person doesn't exist, for the sanctity of matching). But with the luxury market not poised for a full recovery until the year 2012, that thinking may be changing. Allow Times fashion critic Cathy Horyn to pontificate:

People were willing to pay ridiculous sums for designer clothing and accessories because they thought they had to. It was cool. Witness the incredible success of Balmain in the past couple of years, those 1,000-euro jeans and $15,000 beaded mini dresses about the size of a T-shirt. The Balmain clothes are beautifully made — no argument there — but much of the appeal was the price.

I suspect — or, anyway, hope — that the recession will kick some of that thinking to the curb. At least for awhile [sic].

Cathy is blazing that trail. She continues:

The other day I picked up a $16 pair of classic white jeans at Wal-mart. Love them. They will be part of my summer wardrobe.

We're all for an end to buying things just because they're expensive, which should allow for an influx of more affordable clothes on the market, but white jeans from Wal-Mart? Can anyone else vouch for these? We wear $30 jeans from Uniqlo, but of Cathy's purchase, we're highly skeptical.

Big Pic: Further Thoughts [On the Runway/NYT]