Thursday, October 9, 2008


The end of bling. Via The Wall Street Journal:

Francesco Trapani, chief executive of Bulgari Group, is cutting back on the fixed costs of his jet-setting lifestyle. The jewelry, luxury-goods and hotel magnate recently sold his 137-foot yacht, the "Christianne B," and he's holding off on buying any more homes. Even his bespoke Micocci shirt was slightly frayed at the collar last week -- a fact he acknowledged with an apologetic smile.

"I'm being more prudent," Mr. Trapani said. "I spent a lot of money this summer renting houses and things. But when the summer's over, it's over."

Not even the richest people are feeling untouched by our current financial crisis. In their personal lives, as in business, the purveyors of luxury are sizing up what it all means. Some of the questions: Is it unseemly to spend money publicly? Will people still shop for the all-important holiday season? Is this the end of bling?

Francois Henri Pinault, chief executive of French luxury giant PPR, said a few weeks ago that there will always be rich people, but the question is how they will behave as consumers.

The answer may have a lot to do with how these consumers want to be seen. It's not necessarily a good thing to show up at the tennis club with a new $30,000 crocodile handbag when your friends' net worth has been halved and the Federal Reserve is spending billions to keep the banking system afloat

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