People do buy the clothes we see on the runways, you know. And not just the woman who pops into Bergdorf for a new $5,000 blazer to replace the one she's worn for a few years. And not just the couture client, who personally attends the shows and places her (or her daughter's) order directly with the ateliers. But the woman somewhere between those two, who has enough money to use it as toilet paper, or to spend it on twelve gold toilets for her twelve bathrooms, who buys runway clothes ready-to-wear — not the stuff that is made for stores after the runway show, but the pieces that actually walk down the runway, which are usually then translated into things for stores. So who is she? She probably has a personal shopper — or two or three — may live somewhere like Dallas or Miami, and gets off on going to fancy events many nights of the week, for which she buys her own clothes.
The Wall Street Journal introduces a few of them to us today. First up, the $75,000 Tunic Mom.
After Ana Pettus, a 42-year-old mother who lives in Dallas, watched a gold minidress with a plunging, fringed V-neck go down the runway at the Balmain show in Paris last year, she knew she had to have it.
She bought the piece—she wears it as a tunic instead of a dress—along with three others from the fall 2010 collection at the Paris boutique of the luxury French fashion house. Price tag: €55,150, or about $74,000.
There's also Cindy "McQueen Machine" Rachofsky, a 51-year-old philanthropist who also lives in Dallas and bought a dress from Alexander McQueen's final collection for $12,000. After that, she just had to go back for more.
In the past six months, she has purchased 14 pieces, including three from the label's new creative director, Sarah Burton.
To the McQueen Machine, clothes are much more than mere pieces of fabric put together with thread, skill, and artistic vision. Her seasonal closet clean-out is a trial of the maternal bond she shares with the items.
"It's hard, it's like giving up a child sometimes," Ms. Rachofsky says.
And there's Christine "One Night Only" Chiu, the 28-year-old who goes to events — charity galas, the Grammys, or probably just the downstairs of her home — wearing a different designer creation for each occasion.
After she has worn a gown once, Ms. Chiu says she stores it at her California home. "Sometimes I'll donate them to charities, but I would rather buy them new clothes than give them my old clothes," Ms. Chiu said.
Well if that's her attitude... we'll take them.