Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Wintour of our Discontent - Let's Hope Not

From Page Six

HAS Anna Wintour finally gone power crazy? That's what some fashion insiders are wondering this week after the Vogue editor in chief suggested a retail-sales strategy which some said amounted to industry price-fixing.

At a Tuesday "town hall" meeting hosted by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, designers like
Donna Karan and Elie Tahari lamented steep markdowns that have plagued profits since last fall, The Post's James Covert reports.
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"Could someone lead a committee that would make ground rules for retailers when the discounting starts, and then all the retailers can agree to it?" Wintour asked.

When CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg pointed out, "That's illegal," Wintour said: "Is that something we can change? We have friends in the White House now."

According to a Vogue spokesman, Wintour was merely alluding to designated days for retail discounts that are already in place in certain countries including France and the United Kingdom.
"That may be OK over there," says Vano Haroutunian, a New York lawyer focused on the apparel industry. "But here, it sounds like collusion."

After a flurry of blog postings yesterday, CFDA executive director Steven Kolb downplayed the brouhaha, saying Wintour's comments were part of a "brainstorm." For example, designer Betsey Johnson suggested staging a fashion show at Madison Square Garden.

Nevertheless, Wintour's legendary power over the industry is matched only by her zeal to "push the envelope," according to one fashion insider. "Either the idea was crazy or it was brilliant, but it wasn't 100 percent crazy," our source said.

I am a great admirer of Anna Wintour and I admire what she does for the fashion industry.
And I'm so glad that she has "friends in the White House now".

But collusion is not the answer to what's going wrong in the fashion business.
Markdowns need to be at the retailer's discretion, not at a time designated by a committee or the government.
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Deja Pseu said...

Her idea, quite frankly, smacks of a kind of naiveté. Funny how someone who is so savvy about her particular business can say something so clueless.

The Townhouselady said...

I just don't think she "get's it" she's so far removed from the real world that it wouldn't occur to her that her idea could possibly be breaking a law.

How much do you love Diane von Furstenburg for pointing it out to her?

Couture Carrie said...

Juicy gossip!
And I totally agree with you that markdowns must be at a retailer (or designer)'s discretion!


Belle de Ville said...

One of the most frustrating things about living in France was that retailers could not have sales when they wanted to. They had to wait for a State mandated day. How ridiculous. It was both bad for the business and for the consumer.
Thank God there are still influential industry leaders like DVF who understand both the law and economics.

miss cavendish said...

I read this too and think it must be faux. I can't wait to watch "The September Issue," though!

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