Has Lv Lost Its Luster? Reading This Article Made Me Soooo Sad!

  1. On on particularly bad day when I was a little pissy & bratty, I bought myself 3 things at the LV store that added up to about $2500. I got the new Denim purse, the pouchette and a daytimer in that awesome new patent leather deep dark purple. Forgive me for not knowing the names, but I haven't been into LV in some years.

    NEEDLESS TO SAY, it made me SOOO HAPPY to buy these things...lifted me right out of my pissy mood.

    Then I read this review regarding how Luxury Lost its luster. I feel pissy again!

    The Devil Sells Prada

    How Luxury Lost Its Luster.

    By Dana Thomas.

    In the midst of my consumerist crisis, the question I should have been asking was: Dana Thomas, where have you been all my life? In “Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster,” Thomas investigates the business of designer clothing, leather goods and cosmetics, and finds it wanting. Hijacked, over the past two or three decades, by corporate profiteers with a “single-minded focus on profitability,” the luxury industry has “sacrificed its integrity, undermined its products, tarnished its history and hoodwinked its consumers.” Hoodwinked? The truth hurts. After I read “Deluxe,” suddenly my new sundress no longer looked like such a steal. Au contraire, the book’s line of argument suggested, it was I who’d been robbed.

    For Thomas, a cultural and fashion writer for Newsweek in Paris and the Paris correspondent for the Australian Harper’s Bazaar, the luxury industry is a sham because its offerings in no way merit the high price tags they command. Yet once upon a time, they most certainly did. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, when many of luxury’s founding fathers first set up shop, paying more money meant getting something truly exceptional. Dresses from Christian Dior, luggage from Louis Vuitton, jewelry from Cartier: in the golden period of luxury, these items carried prestige because of their superior craftsmanship and design. True, only the very privileged could afford them, but it was this exclusivity that gave them their cachet. Although they may have “cared about making a profit,” the merchants who served this pampered class aimed chiefly “to produce the finest products possible.”

    All that changed, however, in the last decades of the 20th century, when a new breed of luxury purveyor, epitomized by Bernard Arnault, now the chairman and chief executive of the multibillion-dollar LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton conglomerate, first came on the scene. “A businessman, not a fashion person,” Arnault realized that the mystique of the great brand names represented an invaluable — and historically underexploited — asset. Identifying the luxury sector as “the only area in which it is possible to make luxury margins,” Arnault snapped up Dior, Vuitton and a clutch of other star brands. Then, by spending hundreds of millions on advertising, dressing celebrities for the red carpet, “splashing the logo on everything from handbags to bikinis,” and pushing product in duty-free stores and flagship boutiques all around the world, he turned these brands into objects of global consumer desire. In so doing, Arnault changed “the course of luxury forever.”

    And strictly, Thomas argues, for the worse. Insofar as luxury has gone corporate, relentlessly focused on the bottom line, quality has disappeared. In order to keep margins high (in 2005, LVMH recorded more than $17 billion in sales and a net profit of almost $1.8 billion), Arnault and his competitors have cut costs wherever and whenever possible. The most obvious strategies involve using cheaper materials, replacing skilled artisans with computers and machines and outsourcing labor to less expensive markets like China. Sneakier tactics include “cutting sleeves a half an inch shorter” (“when you get to 1,000, you see the savings,” one employee told the author), replacing finished seams with raw edges and eliminating linings on the grounds that “women don’t really need” them. A grouchy aside: my aforementioned sundress is (a) an LVMH brand and (b) unlined. It is also (c) white, which means that a lining would sure have come in handy. But if Arnault can amass a personal fortune of more than $21 billion by forcing me to display my underwear, then who am I to complain?

    In truth, the perverse reality of luxury consumption today is that so few people are complaining, and so many are clamoring for what Thomas refers to (a bit too frequently for my taste) as a piece of the “dream.” Paradoxically, as craftsmanship has waned, consumer appetite has grown — and not just among luxury’s original, elite clientele. The vast reach of contemporary advertising, distribution and product-placement efforts has effectively democratized luxury, making once exclusive brands available, if only in the form of logo-covered sneakers or sunglasses, to middle-market customers the world over. “Luxury-brand logos convey wealth, status and chic,” Thomas explains, “even if the bearer of the logo-ed product is a middle-market suburban housewife who bought it on credit.”

    As a result, a designer jacket or handbag or watch no longer transmits reliable information about its wearer’s socioeconomic stature or background. Without quite coming right out and saying it, Thomas seems nostalgic for the good old days when “a middle-market suburban housewife,” say, couldn’t be confused with her betters. The author is shocked to overhear a woman “in a designer pantsuit, good jewelry and Chanel sunglasses” expressing interest in a fake Rolex. Spotting a couple loading shopping bags into a $380,000 car, she is surprised to learn that their loot came from an outlet store. In a discussion of the booming, underground market for counterfeit luxury goods, she compares “folks with a craving for the goods but not enough dough for the genuine thing” to petty teenage drug users — eager “to buy a couple of joints with their allowance or baby-sitting money.” She quotes a commentator on the last days of the Roman Republic, who contrasts an era of rampant, nouveau-riche acquisitiveness to an earlier and more “patrician” age when “people used to know their place.”

    These hints of condescension are regrettable, for Thomas’s message is relevant to shoppers of every stripe. Whether upscale or middle-market, paying in cash or buying on credit, today’s customer is barraged at every turn with the logos that, for titans like Arnault, mean pure, corporate gold. “Deluxe” performs a valuable service by reminding us that these labels don’t mean much else. Once guarantors of value and integrity, they are now markers that point toward nothing, guiding the consumer on a road to nowhere.

  2. :angel:it's sad that this article ruined your fun...if you haven't worn the stuff, and it doesn't make you happy anymore, return it...if you have worn it, then of course enjoy it...the article is like the emperor and the new clothes...we all [most of us anyway] love to shop...and it doesnt matter whether you paid full price at LV or got it for less, seasons down the road...its how you felt when you bought the stuff, and how you feel now...if you still feel great and happy, its worth every penny...if you have become disillusioned...and you can unload it, do...that's my philosophy...next month new stuff will come out, and you can shop again, and you'll have forgotten all about that silly article...sometimes there are simply great fashions to love...:upsidedown:
  3. No no no, don't let this book get you down...I ordered it about a week ago and have been reading it since. Before I got it, I read all kinds of excerpts from it and interviews with the author, and sure, those got me down and made me want to up and sell every piece of Louis Vuitton that I've collected over the past year (which may not seem like much, but I'm a 19 year old college student with a budget and honestly, these bags mean A LOT to me).
    Anyway, I believe it is true that luxury items have indeed become less 'rare' and much more readily available; however, in my opinion that isn't necessarily a bad thing. I understand that loads of people walk around sporting an LV purse, fake or otherwise - at first, that turned me off completely, but when I started getting into the brand, I realized that there are in fact some people out there (many of whom are probably members of this forum) who support the brand because of its quality and because they truly LIKE it, not just because it represents something. And as for buying into the "dream", that was never my intention; I just happen to honestly like bags that will last me a long time, things that I won't ever tire of. I understand well that these things cost a lot of money; however, I save up until I have enough to buy something I like and I'm proud of myself for that.
    And sure, the industry has grown into a profit-making machine, but don't all things over time? When you really think about it, ever small company that gets the chance to become huge and make a lot of money does it; if they didn't, sure they'd be noble, but they'd also be stupid.
    So really, you can always find negatives...but don't let it get you down. Take pride in what you own and own it because you like it and because it makes you happy. Who cares about the rest?
  4. Wow, but he does have a point. How many people do buy on credit? Some people just see the designer name on something and they want it, sometimes just for the status. I can relate because I bought a Fendi bag and one of the screws fell out and it wasnt even as old as my coach bag, plus I paid 3x as much for the Fendi. Ever increasing prices suck! But the quality seems to be going down on some brands.
  5. ^I think this book is absolutely right in terms of the people who buy things for the status or for the name. Not everyone is like that though, and for the people who aren't, I think the book is absolutely wrong. It really depends on your reasons for doing/buying things.
  6. :tdown:do not read that news...hahaha
    I posted this before...and i was :crybaby:too lol...not now~!!! back to normal~

    lol...you will be better soon...:tup::tup::tup:
  7. I dont know.....Im a student with a budget too....and too tell you the truth I was Da mn proud when i bought my first LV bag with MY hard earned money...some people may think its fake,some people think its stupid to buy such expensive things....but hey,we allllll have our own hobbies and preferences .....I hate hockey and i think the equipment is expensive,but i aint dissing nothing...sorry i have to say im right.Its not like im forcing other people to love my bags or to buy.
  8. i'm actually reading the book right now after i saw all these reviews on the book, cost me $35 for this book -___-" haha anyways i'm hopeing that after i read it would not spend so much money in handbags and other luxury good anymore so i can save more money!! =)
  9. ^^ I agree Alicia....my boyfriend continuously pesters me for going on tpf. but he is WAY more obsessed with sports than i am about purses...psh!
  10. Oh no, not another one of these topics..:push:
    Just love your stuff and don't pay attention to these articles!
  11. ITA. There are people out there who will buy anything because it has a designer logo on it, but there are also people out there who enjoy classic, quality handbags. I don't by LV because it gives me status or I'm trying to get a piece of the "dream". I like bags and I enjoy investing in one that will increase in value and be stylish for years to come.
  12. I started buying LV because it is the best canvas around, lol.
    But everything in context, I think the biggest luxury item will soon be pure water. The cost of bottled or filtered water if you think of the sheer volume over time is nothing compared to what I spend on "luxury" items. I still can't afford to filter my shower water.
    Maybe LV will get into the plastic water bottle business.
  13. I just ignore these articles, books etc...
    There will ALWAYS be LV critics out there......

    and there will ALWAYS be people like us here at TPF who will NEVER be able to get ENOUGH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  14. If you take into the account how much you would pay for things that are actually made the same way they were 150 years ago and also in the "golden age of luxury" as the author calls it, what we pay for these items aren't that outrageous. A Hermes bag or an SO Louis Vuitton would give you an idea on how much that would cost. So if one looks in the right places you wont be "cut off".

    Still I agree with some of what she's writing and I have experienced some of it myself. In my opinion the italian brands have been worse in this.

    HOnestly it seems to me like she wants to live in the 50s. :rolleyes:
  15. What a pompous *** that Thomas is! Thomas acts as if consumers are so blinded by designer labels that they will buy anything put in front of them. Well maybe she should read this forum and see that consumers do pay attention to quality. Oh no, we need her to point it out to us, yeah right!

    And the author honestly thinks that greed is a new concept? Like the artisans in the past didn't want to make as much money as they could off their goods? And like Thomas is not trying to make money off the book? What a hypocrite!

    If anything, I think the quality of the cheaper goods has increased and therefore there is not as big a difference in quality. Not the other way around. Therefore, isn't everyone better off? What an elitist Thomas is! Yuck!