Designers are handling the recession in a variety of ways, which they discussed at a panel on the topic of luxury at the Hammer Museum in L.A. Monday. The Rodarte sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy, for instance, have decided to stop selling pants.
“All anyone ever talks about is the economy, and we don’t sell our pants anyway,” Kate said. “So screw it. We won’t make them.”
The panel addressed making luxury clothing in an era when the consumer, even one who can afford it, it ill-inclined to purchase luxury goods. The answer seems to be redefinging luxury, something many in the fashion world (and beyond) have felt was necessary for some time now.
Luxury connotes “handmade, quality, worth in construction, said stylist Arianne Phillips, whose claim to fame is her work with Madonna.
Denim guru Adriano Goldschmied predicted the future by referencing the past. “Luxury will go back to what it was before,” he said. “It’s not about mass production anymore….Even if [customers] can’t afford it, at least you give them a dream. A dream, in my opinion, is the engine for our work.”
Tom Binns takes an even more democratic approach. Referring to ornate necklaces constructed of glass picked off the beach and pieces etched with “Big F*** Off Diamond” he said “I make these things valuable. It’s how you look at it.”