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Fashion 101: Why Luxury is Expensive

By Alexandra SUHNER ISENBERG
Editor-at-Large

Fashion 101: Why Luxury is Expensive I wanted to write a little about the cost of luxury, because I don't love luxury just because it is expensive, I love the process, the quality, and the craftsmanship involved behind most good luxury products.


Some people think luxury goods are very expensive and overpriced. Expensive, yes. Overpriced, not always. Some luxury brands, in fact, most luxury brands, make a lot of money from selling things with very high margins, which are generally overpriced. But those things are usually perfumes, handbags, and licensed goods, which they sell in huge quantities. A lot of the luxury goods we see on the catwalks, or in the clothing stores, are not necessarily big money makers. I know this as a fact, because I used to see the markups of the clothing atSonia Rykiel, and I was always surprised at how much things cost to make, compared to what we actually charged.

This Fashion 101 is going to study a very classic luxury fashion item: the Carré d'Hermès, their famous 90 x 90 cm printed silk scarf. Most people think it is an overpriced scarf, but once you understand the process involved in creating one of these scarves, I think you'll realize that the price is in fact excellent value.

The first carré d'Hermès was made in 1937. Since the late 1930's, over 1,500 different versions have been made, and Hermès tends to work with a number of different artists every season, some recent examples include Christine Henry, Aline Honoré, and Henry d'Origny. Hermès worked with 20 artists for the spring summer 2010 collection of scarves. Most designs start with the painting of a motif, which then needs to be translated into a scarf...read more



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