Retailers, consumers and prices
Bargain shoppers turned out en masse across the land on Friday morning to observe Black Friday rituals, while retail temples from Target to Macy’s to Saks slashed prices to get people to do one simple thing: buy more stuff.
But upscale stores — and some their shoppers — seemed to think the Black Friday extravaganza beneath them.
I got a sense of this while I was interviewing people outside Saks’s flagship store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue this morning. I asked a customer exiting with a Saks bag full of merchandise what she thought of the sales. She sniffed:“I’m not here for Black Friday. All the stuff I bought was full price!”
Peter Bertling, a lawyer visiting from Santa Barbara, California, had a different point of view about discounts. “I hadn’t planned on buying a suit,” Bertling said as he left Saks. “If not for the Black Friday sale, I’d probably be at the hotel with my wife right now.”
Who needs the runway when Goldfinger’s got your back?
Fashion industry watchers wonder whether more designers will use Times Square’s neon signs as a virtual runway in the future, like Carmen Marc Valvo did with his spring/summer 2010 show during New York Fashion Week. More to the point, will more designers follow his lead next time by asking the World Gold Council and the Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. – or other financial markets players — to help foot the bill?
A Valvo spokesman says the cost was “about half” that of a runway show in the Bryant Park Tents. The tab usually starts at $100,000 and can run $250,000 or more, depending on how many models and special effects are involved. This was perhaps the flashiest example of how designers, hit hard by the recession, are seeking more sponsorships to finance their New York shows than in the past. Check out this video of the Times Square show, which ran on the neon signs of Nasdaq, Thomson Reuters and Fox:
Even with gold trading above $1,000 an ounce, that’s still less than what some of Valvo’s gowns go for at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
The World Gold Council’s Duvall O’Steen said the group paid 10 models and other show expenses — the first time it’s taken such a high-profile role at Fashion Week. Check out this video as O’Steen talks about fashion and gold jewelry:
In fact, the World Gold Council is getting more requests now for corporate event sponsorships than it can accommodate, O’Steen said. And it’s happening after a year when a drop in world gold mining production curbed its budget for such affairs.
Bruce Aust, Nasdaq’s executive vice president of the corporate client group, also explains why the made its first foray into fashion:
Michael Quintanilla, who covers fashion for the San Antonio Express-News and two other Hearst newspapers, told Reuters: “Times Square was the perfect place for a fashion show. With all that neon, it’s very ‘Blade Runner.’ I loved the format. You could drop in when you wanted, have a cocktail, talk to Carmen, see the clothes and leave, without being herded into a space like cattle and being forced to wait.”
Fashionistas do flock together, but one bird always stands out at New York Fashion Week – often because she’s wearing a crown of black ostrich feathers that she made herself.
Rosemary Ponzo, a New York stylist and hat designer for movies and TV shows, attracts photographers from her perch on or near the front row of designers’ shows in the Bryant Park tents. Just before the start of the show by the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Ponzo talked with Reuters about her favorite designers, Comme des Garcons and Junya Watanabe.