Luxury Fashion Spotlight 2008 - Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry

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Despite a soft economy, fashion brands are still launching high-end goods that command prices of $10,000 and beyond.

With all the concern over consumer spending, inflation, and soaring gas and oil prices, many consumers are scaling back. On one hand, Apparel Search is hearing about a return to the classics and "seasonless" collections that can effortlessly allow fashionistas to move from one season to another. On the other hand, we're hearing about over-the-top excessive luxury items that boast 5-digit price tags.

Trend-driven retailer H&M, which is renowned for its inexpensive, disposable goods, has taken another approach to fashion with the opening of its London-based store, COS-Collection of Style. Rather than focusing on fast fashion, this retail destination sells high quality items at ground level prices. COS believes that fashion inspiration is no longer an elitist affair, and offers a collection that fuses fashion essentials with re-invented classics and cutting-edge trends. Styles range from cropped blazers and skirts to polo shirts, skinny pants, and cocktail dresses. Again, quality is paramount and these styles are designed to remain in the closet season after season.

Another fast retail brand, Japanese retailer Uniqlo, also offers a complete assortment of affordable apparel. Looks range from t-shirts and sweaters to denim and outerwear. Also part of the Uniqlo fashion family is French retailer Comptoir des Cotonniers, which also focuses on affordable classics. It will soon be making its New York debut.

With the focus on affordability and many consumers seeking classic, budget-conscious looks, Apparel Search is, of course, still finding upscale retailers that are offering over-the-top expensive items. Coach's limited-edition alligator bags are commanding $12,000, while Ralph Lauren's Purple Label offers its Slim Alligator Folio for $10,000. Ralph Lauren also offers one-of-a-kind gifts, which include the Pocket Watch Clock in a frame for $3,800.

For those who like to capture attention and flaunt their bling, Dior offers its blazing red "Dior Christal" chronograph watch. A total of 307 diamonds adorn the bezel, bracelet, and dial, and the watch also includes two rows of sapphire crystals. Although prices were unavailable, Apparel Search can only imagine there are plenty of zeros at the end of the price tag.

Also for the luxury-minded, Lanvin offers a grained leather large sac bag for $1,885. For Sex And The City and Manolo Blahnik fans, there's Manolo's Snakeskin Flat Mid-Calf Boots priced at $1,600. For the more budget-conscious, Yves Saint Lauren offers a leopard-printed pashmina stole at only $595.

Apparel Search believes that even in times of economic uncertainty, there will always be a consumer out there who is willing to spend on high-end fashion.

By Regina Cooper

Apparel Search defines the changing definition of luxury from the rare, artisan-like goods from yesteryear to the mass-produced "luxury" items of today.

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