Aspiration vs affordability

Apart from the fact that I’ve been poorly and mostly housebound, I’ve not been in the mood for shopping for weeks. At first I thought it was the credit crunch holding me back and that I was being subconsciously sensible and saving my money but that’s not it. While in the West End last week I went for a browse in Liberty. There was a special one-day discount promotion for loyalty card customers with discounts up to 50% off throughout the store (although annoyingly, the final prices weren’t displayed). This should have piqued my interest but instead it made me feel deflated. Seeing stacks of Chloe and Marc Jacobs bags, belts and wallets piled high like bunches of bananas on a market stall at close of day only served to devalue them. Part of the appeal of designer goods is the luxury experience of buying them. This is why people get a buzz out of going to the Chanel shop to buy their lipstick instead of buying it at Debenhams. It’s why you’ll find dresses sparingly displayed three-finger-widths apart on a rail in Prada so you have to be looked after by a salesperson. (It’s also why uber-luxe stores like Hermes don’t have sales.) The hushed atmosphere, the pristine merchandise, the personal service are all factored into the price and what make a Prada dress ‘worth’ its four-figure sum. If it’s just going to be treated like a piece of tat like the poor Alexander McQueen sequin leggings at Saks, then we might as well all shop at Primark.