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There is clearly still money around — just ask the folks at Christie’s handling the Yves Saint Laurent art auction.

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LUXURY, THE L.A. WAY: The recession is redefining luxury in the City of Angels. In the case of Rodarte, it means excluding pants from its new fall collection. “All anyone ever talks about is the economy, and we don’t sell our pants anyway,” said Kate Mulleavy, who designs Rodarte in nearby Pasadena with her sister, Laura. “So screw it. We won’t make them.” Mulleavy shared her thoughts on creating clothes in an era when consumers might not have the money or desire for buying them at a panel on Monday night at the Hammer Museum. For Christina Kim, founder of the artisanal line Dosa, taking the time to hand-stitch delicate handkerchiefs purchased off eBay into an exotic jacket is a luxury. Tom Binns, who has mocked the rarefied jewelry world with ornate necklaces displaying glass picked off the beach and pendants etched with the phrase “Big F*** Off Diamond,” explained his theory of value: “I make these things valuable. It’s how you look at it.” The audience, which included designer Jasmin Shokrian and stylist Arianne Phillips, didn’t need much convincing. Known for her collaboration with Madonna, Phillips said luxury connotes “handmade, quality, worth in construction.” Indeed, denim guru Adriano Goldschmied predicted the future by referencing the past. “Luxury will go back to what it was before,” he said. “It’s not about mass production anymore….Even if [customers] can’t afford it, at least you give them a dream. A dream, in my opinion, is the engine for our work.”


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