LVMH isn’t doing terribly in the downturn. Net profits for the first half of the year fell 23 percent, which sounds horrible, but competitor PPR just announced that its profits fell 76 percent, which is far more embarrassing (even if the decline was mostly owing to sales of YSL’s Beauté division last year). But while LVMH’s sales increased 0.2 percent, PPR’s sales slipped 3.6 percent. Perhaps LVMH is winning because they’re adapting better to These Times. They’re slowly broadening their customer base for apparel, to include not only the very wealthy, but just the wealthy folks, too. And so Givenchy is launching a new capsule collection called Redux, designed by Riccardo Tisci. Already the marketing is genius: The name alone says, “Are you a middle-income consumer? You can probably afford me on sale!”
Prices start at around $340, which is still cheaper than Alexander Wang’s biker shorts. The line is based on Givenchy classics like the white shirt and leather jacket. Tisci will show Redux twice a year alongside the pre-collection. The line will be available in October and will include shoes. So the downturn is paying off for the aspirational consumer. It’s probably only a matter of time before more lines like this emerge. Funny how when the economy makes a luxury company its bitch, they find out who their real friends are: the poor. Except Louis Vuitton’s customers. Those people are unstoppable.