Crowd pleasers

30/03/2016

Kim Noorda photographed by Nicolas Moore for Salvatore Ferragamo Fall/Winter 2005 campaign
If it wasn't for the recent departure of Massimiliano Giornetti from Ferragamo, I would probably let the subject sit on a shelf for a while if anything. Most likely I would choose to suffer in silence. It wasn't so much about Giornetti himself - designers and brands part their ways all the time these days - but a little phrase that slipped from the lips of Michele Norsa, Ferragamo's CEO.

The quote that cemented the brands decision to change their strategy (and get rid of the creative director as a part of it) was about "reaching out to a younger generation, the Millenials, and their digital communication." This, plus the earlier Max Mara story left me pretty speechless for it was yet another iconic house breaking their own legacy of exclusivity in order to win a popularity contest and please the crowds. 

But do the crowds really deserve to be pleased to this degree? Why is it that the fashion legends now feel the need to get down to a mass-market level instead of allowing a few selected individual reach theirs? From what I've seen so far and what I find the most heartbreaking is the simple fact that this new way of running a fashion house not only dilutes its reputation of a luxury (read - privileged) place, but makes "the Millenials" emotionally and mentally lazy - and why should they try hard to become a part of the inner circle, learn the history of a certain house or make any kind of effort whatsoever in order to belong to "the little universe" if it's all laid out for them ready for grabs.

And I am not sure if the brands realise the simple truth... Buying somebody's love by making yourself accessible does not buy the loyalty or appreciation of the quality they are still maintaining being a luxury brand. It is humiliating and, regardless of how much you get paid, destroying on many levels.

Having too much of a good thing will always, always, absolutely always, lead to overconsumption, boredom and the need of a switch for something else - the new popular, the it thing, more desirable, more Instagram-frienly... In my opinion, Ferragamo being a quieter, reserved and discreet brand, one of the particularly special ones, should have never gone down this road because no amount of microchipped bags and shoes will guarantee the desire to buy the final product when it is pushed in our face by crowds of girls who barely escaped puberty. And Ferragamo (or any other house, to be honest) does not deserve or should not seek this kind of exposure.

Luxury fashion, in its essence, always excited because it was special, the top of the pyramid that only few would be able to reach... Craftsmanship lead to exclusivity. Exclusivity lead to desire... That's how they made big money. Now, more and more, it's becoming a part of a mainstream and global fashion essentially sliding down to the bottom, blending in and, ironically, becoming less and less desirable for those who have, indeed, being loyal to the house in the first place and, indeed, had the means to shop there freely. What's more sad is that any form of globalisation follows a simple need to cut corners, compromise on quality here and there to produce enough products and still make profits. 

Once upon a time Diana Vreeland wrote in her D.V. biography: "Very few people had ever breathed the pantry air of a house of a woman who the kind of dress Vogue used to show..." 

Now, if it all goes according to the Millenium-focused plans, more and more dresses, shoes and bags are going to be found in that very pantry... Consumed by crowds in a manner of locust. How can this be a good thing or something to aim for - I have absolutely no idea.

Photo source: Kim Noorda photographed by Nicolas Moore for Salvatore Ferragamo Fall/Winter 2005 campaign

8 comments:

  1. Excellent blog..... very much to see where fashion is going everyday and why.

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  2. Times are changing and in this day and age I guess that it's either adapt / reinvent or die...

    Luxessed

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    1. But the thing is... Look at Hermes, look at Alaia, or, say, Bottega Veneta. They follow their own rules (and with the first two - for decades!) and yet profit margins don't exactly suffer. And one can reinvent over and over again, yet remain true to the idea of their founder.

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  3. i loved your take on this. i wish more houses would stick to their own paths and not cave.

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  4. Your site is beautiful Natalia! I loved this post, very thought inspiring.

    Emma | www.fluffandfripperies.com

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  5. Interesting perspective and well written.

    I dont know if brands can maintain Hermes like austerity and keep their shareholders happy in terms of growth. Rei of CDG has stayed ferociously independent because she owns and runs her company. Stella McCartney has come this far somehow by keeping with her ethics. I see these two women as rare gems in the industry. Apparently, MaxMara has fallen into the rat race with the changing times.

    I would mourn too, if my favourite designers decided to pull a Balman post Kardashians on me.

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  6. True elegance is missing today, and it makes me sad. Luxury fashion should be special.

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  7. I miss anticipation. At the end of the day, this is what everything comes down to - the birth of iTunes, the downgrading of luxury, the digital age. We refuse to wait for anything anymore, but the things that we wait for, that we covet, are the most wonderful - and the waiting and coveting are an enormous part of that, which it seems we have all, sadly, forgotten.
    xox,
    Cee

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