Bling is dead, says Chanel (and long live bling)

The New French Revolution on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

The recession is hammering the French luxury goods market but stylish Parisians are responding by taking the long view and heralding it as a “revolution in values,” reports the International Herald Tribune. Closures and layoffs are stoking anxiety, but there’s hope that “an era of sometimes vulgar high living is over and that a more bedrock French way of life will emerge.” Some luxury purveyors are actually advocating price-cutting. Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld views the economic malaise as bringing “a big spring housecleaning—both moral and physical” that will remove gaudy excess. “Bling is over,” he says, replaced by “the new modesty.” That said, he has no plans to cut back at Chanel, which just endured its first layoffs since 1939: “We have no budget, we do what we want and throwing money out the window brings money back in through the front door,” he said. “The luxury in my life is I never have to think about it.”

Herald Tribune