Recessionista: Luxury According to Lagerfeld

While trolling the blogosphere, I can across this interview with Karl Lagerfeld in which he talks about the state of high-end fashion during tough economic times. What struck me as thought-provoking was this quote:

“It’s great to see things you may not buy – because you don’t have the money – but it is very ugly to think they shouldn’t exist because you can not buy them.”

He talks a bit more about the recession in the article, but I thought this statement raised some interesting questions about fashion in times like this. It’s easy to get caught up in deal-finding and trying to make fashion work for your budget, but on the other hand, if one looks at fashion as an art form then maybe haute couture still serves a purpose. Fashion certainly served as a form of escapism in the Thirties during the Great Depression (ask Grandma, she’ll tell you all about it). It didn’t matter that the average person couldn’t afford a satin, bias-cut Vionnet gown …people were happy to watch Jean Harlow wearing one on the big screen.

So what do you guys think? Should designers continue to focus on the art of fashion? Or is it time to respectfully reign it in with practical/classic designs and lower-priced lines like McQueen at Target or Ronson at JCPenny?


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  • Sal

    Although Karl’s words generally make me cringe, I do agree that fashion-as-art is important even in trying economic times. We need something to aspire to, and inspire us … and, for those who hate fashion, something to push against.

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