Saturday, 14 November 2009

Cheaper Choos

Piggy-back races were a great playground thing when I was young. And, I guess, a form of early social training - the strong helping the weak to take part in sports activities.

I thought of this when I remembered that today is Jimmy Choo day at H&M. Choos for under £100! Has to be a feeding frenzy, leading inevitably to the rapid sell-out that has characterised other H&M collaborations with hierarchical fashion labels at a price that is affordable by many more people than the full-cost article. It seems the classic win—win situation that fashion so loves.
It's all a big change from the horror that greeted Yves Saint Laurent's decision in the mid sixties to concentrate on ready-to-wear. Although Paris saw it as a betrayal of its beloved couture, which was already showing signs of serious decline, women loved the Rive Gauche boutiques that quickly sprang up around the world because they enabled them to buy a top name at a fraction of the cost of couture.

It fitted in perfectly with the philosophy of Yves and his partner, Pierre BergĂ©. Both had been excited by the student riots in Paris and entirely identified with the radical left - surely a first for Yves among dress designers - so it made sense. I really think they both wanted to make their product more accessible to women who love clothes but have limited budgets. That is good… but there is something different happening with the H&M collaborations. Ever since Karl Lagerfeld did it in 2004, it has become clear that most of the items grabbed in the mad excitement are not bought by women who love the designer's approach and long to have it for themselves, but by fashion speculators. It has been claimed that most of wha is bought - as much as 70 percent, according to some sources - is on E-Bay before the day is over. So much for the democratisation of fashion.

1 comment:

  1. My understanding is that this type of mercenary re-selling is happening more and more. I wouldn't bother with pieces sold on eBay. It just seems like such a dilution of a good idea. There's something unsavory about it. To me, anyway.

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