Here's the Good News: Designers and Execs See Positive Points

Karl Lagerfeld said, “Chanel did even better this year than last year in the same time."

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“I did the Chanel campaign in Vermont. To go there, we had a private airbus. For the moment, private jets are less expensive than ever because the businessmen are not allowed to fly because it’s bad for the image of the company. So the private jet owners who rent their jets, they have to have somebody, because jets cannot stay on the ground all the time. In Venice [for the upcoming cruise show], we will take over the Hotel Excelsior. At the end of the month, we go to Moscow to repeat the show we did in Paris. Russia insisted and, for the moment, business is good in Moscow. I talk about Chanel. I don’t know the other ones.

“You have to have something very quality and fashion at the same time, and the names are the guarantee of all that. That’s why big names are important. That’s why it might be more difficult for smaller companies. Also, Chanel is beautifully run as a company. There are no debts. There’s no healthier business than Chanel. I can tell you Alain Wertheimer — he knows what he is doing. He’s no fool.”

Sidney Toledano, president and chief executive officer, Dior: “I was in the States recently, in Florida and New York, and I had the feeling the mood has changed. I don’t know if it was spring, the nice weather in New York, but my feeling was customers were going back to stores. We have been doing very well with the ready-to-wear the last two weeks with the summer collection and the new bag we have, Le Trente. It’s a new logo, a lot of lambskin, python, very colorful colors. Also, we had some fine jewelry doing well.

“In February, I felt the U.S. was really depressed. [Now] I have the feeling Americans are somehow saying, ‘OK, we have a crisis. We’re not going to spend our life talking about crisis.’ I felt more positive. I know the problems are still there, but people are going back [to the stores]. On Saturday three weeks ago, Fifth Avenue was crowded and you could see people lining up in front of some stores and activity in the stores.

“London is unbelievable because of the pound; double-digit growth. It benefits a lot of tourists. The numbers in our own stores, and in Harrods, Selfridges — amazing. And China is growing, very strong, double digits. Korea is picking up as a local market. Japanese travelers are going to Korea because of the strength of the yen versus local currency.

“The sky is not blue everywhere, but you have a lot showing here and there. People are working hard again; designers are motivated. John [Galliano] has been doing resort, and he comes with a lot of new ideas. People are more about understanding local market needs. You need light, colorful garments for Florida when it’s already hot in April. You don’t go with the same collection in most of America. Obviously, you have to protect your design, your image, the global approach on the design and keep the integrity of the brand. But people are [also] talking a lot to the stores, to retailers, understanding the need, optimizing. The crisis has brought everybody back to retailing, merchandising and servicing — how to service better and talk to the customer.”

Marc Jacobs:
“The weather is beautiful. I’m in love. I’m engaged to be married. I’m working on building a new home, and working in the studio with Steven Meisel and Madonna on the next [Louis Vuitton] campaign. Then, I have two days of shooting with Juergen [Teller]. The Met is [tonight], which I’m excited about. I’m receiving a FiFi Award. Then, we receive the International CFDA award for Louis Vuitton. So, I kind of have really great stuff on a daily basis. I can’t find anything to be unhappy about at the moment.

“True, everything is budget, budget, budget and trying to be frugal, but we’re not going to cut back the quality. We’re still doing what we love and the way we love it. All those things are very real, but it’s not stopping us from being creative and being excited and being happy about what we do.”

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