04 April 2009

Inconspicuous consumption

The economic downturn and the growing awareness of the consequences of diamond mining have already heralded the death of bling.

As the economy worsens, flashing the cash is seen as more and more inappropriate. Formerly logo-smothered fashion and accessories are out; discreet luxury is in.

Leading online luxury fashion retailer Net-a-porter is, not surprisingly, embracing the trend. Its standard delivery “signature” packaging is a fiesta of tissue paper, glossy branded boxes, boutique bags and ribbon. In these more “austere” times you can, instead, choose to have your £7,873 Oscar de la Renta beaded georgette gown delivered to you the way you once would have had your porn: in a discreet brown paper wrapper – recycled, of course.

Net-a-porter.com founder Natalie Massenet is also about to launch theOutnet, a discount offering that the UK Telegraph reported will sell clothes and shoes ordered by department stores but cancelled as the downturn kicked in. The site is currently collecting email addresses and carries the cheery slogan: “It’s chic-onomics!™”

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