Luxury is drowning in a pool with a painting worth $1.5 million

Artist Dale Chihuly will paint a private work of art on your pool for $1.5 million

Luxury retailer, Neiman Marcus,  is opening stores that will sell lower-priced clothing. “What is this world coming to,” I ask myself, tongue in cheek. Neiman Marcus, the icon of high-end retailing, is compromising its standards. Neiman Marcus, the store that prides itself on a Christmas catalog touting one-of-a-kind delights, such as a $1.5 million original painting for your swimming pool, is discovering that the rich aren’t all getting richer (plus there are fewer of them), so maybe it needs to offer merchandise that actually sells.

I’ve noticed, too, a proliferation of stores, like H&M and Urban Outfitters, selling disposable clothes–really cheap stuff fashioned from acrylic, rayon and polyester– that lasts one season. It’s so cheap, you don’t mind throwing it out after wearing it a dozen times. Many of the clothes look cute on the hanger and appeal to the under 25 set, another demo that isn’t exactly bringing in the big bucks these days.

I love quality materials, workmanship and great design. Products I shouldn’t be buying sometimes seduce me. Bergdorf Goodman, owned by Neiman’s, is a beautiful store and has always been one of my faves. It’s also customer-less much of the time. The fancy designer clothes hang forlornly on the racks, begging for someone to take them home. The gleaming jewels on the ground floor cry for attention. The $1,000 ballet slippers are dying to dance their way onto someone’s cute little feet.

Many of these earthly delights, with out-of-the-world prices, are becoming somewhat vulgar to people who’d rather give some of their money to helping others who don’t own shoes of any kind.

No less $1,000 slippers with red soles.

I’m not running out to buy an acrylic wardrobe any time soon, but I’m also realizing that luxury is often highly overrated…and overpriced.

One Response to “Luxury is drowning in a pool with a painting worth $1.5 million”

  1. Toby Wollin says:

    For me, the issue continues to be quality. My big beef is that no matter what the price tag reads, the quality is just…not…there. Linings are badly put in and usually made out of lightweight acetate or polyester. Considering that the lining on anything is what takes the brunt of the stress, better quality lining fabrics should be used (and even at retail, the difference between heavy duty flannelized satin coat linings and the sleazy garbage is in the pennies range). Yes, I care very much about trying to get items that are made in the United States; but cheapening things out with crappy inputs is just infuriating – it means that manufacturers and retailers do NOT care enough about customers to give them real value for their money. This is wrong. With money so tight and people out of work, better value is even more important. People can’t afford to throw clothing away after it falls apart in the wash or can’t handle dry cleaning. Only the rich can afford to throw clothing away like that. The rest of us need stuff that can be washed or dry cleaned, repaired if need be – the rest of us need stuff that lasts.

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