Look! A $29,000 Skirt.
Oh, but that hemline.
Thank you for subscribing to Back Row! Don’t forget to tap the heart at the top of this and all posts you enjoy, and please subscribe if you are new here. You will support independent fashion journalism that is not funded by ads and can therefore say stuff other outlets cannot. These posts are free to read, and the community keeps it going.
Those New New Bottega skirts with the thick muppet-y fringe on the bottom cost nearly $30,000. I’ll wait while you push your eyeballs back into your skull.
The prices made the rounds on Twitter this week since the pieces are available in a trunk show on Moda Operandi. What’s a trunk show, you ask? It’s sort of like chumming for rich people — designers spill out their stuff, often in a physical store, and hope that some people will show up and take the bait. Moda saves the rich from that physical store. (Although after watching Inventing Anna, I gather that when you are so rich you can shop at Bergdorf in a private room with snacks and champagne and other equally rich friends, going to stores might not be so bad? It’s not like hitting Sam’s Club before a hurricane.)
Yes, this purple skirt that everyone loved on the runway is $29,000 in the Moda Operandi trunk show. It also comes in yellow, in case you need two. A 2022 Toyota Camry starts at around $25,000. Even for the highest of high fashion — like, ate the entire pan of brownies high — this is a notable price. Then again, so are the $6,800 pants from this show that you thought were jeans but are apparently leather treated to look like jeans. You’re surely wondering, But can’t you just wear jeans? And N2 Bottega is saying, But do you WANT to drive a Camry?
The high prices may serve another purpose for N2 Bottega, which left Instagram last year, despite its 2.5 million followers. Parent company Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault explained around that time, “Bottega has decided, in line with its positioning, to lean much more on its ambassadors and fans by giving them the material they need to talk about the brand through various social networks, by letting them speak for the brand rather than doing it itself.”
Prices of fashion things have been in the news with greater frequency than usual, largely because of Chanel, which last year charged $825 for an advent calendar comprised of cardboard, beauty samples, and garbage, and which increased the price of their signature handbags three times last year, meaning the small Classic Flap bag that once cost $5,300 now costs $8,300. A Chanel spokeswoman told the Wall Street Journal last month that this had to do with quality: “The price of certain raw materials, which were already difficult to procure due to the quality we require, is regularly increasing and therefore leads us to adjust our prices.” However, the Journal also reported:
The Chanel spokeswoman said the company raised prices on its Classic Flap bags in January, July and November 2021, but declined to comment on the amount of the hike. She said the January 2021 increase reduced disparities in regional prices by raising prices in the U.S., while prices in other regions either rose slightly or stayed the same.
Which is another way of admitting that at least one of those price increases was completely arbitrary.
In fact, that Journal article reported that luxury prices are increasing across the board:
“All the luxury industry is raising prices,” John Idol, the chief executive officer of Capri Holdings Ltd., owner of Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Versace, told analysts recently. “We’ve seen absolutely no consumer resistance to any of the price increases that we have taken, and there will be more.”
So while the non-luxury fashion-consuming majority of people experience pain at the pump, the wealthiest among us are going, “Oh, like your shoes hurt?” Meanwhile, apparently experiencing no pain at their now-Hermès-priced Chanel bags and presumably also these $29,000 skirts. Meaghan Mahoney Dusil, co-founder and CEO of PurseBlog.com and PurseForum.com, explained to the Journal:
“As much as some people are upset at Chanel’s price increases, they are still buying,” Ms. Mahoney Dusil said. “As the price goes up, it becomes unattainable for some. But the core customers won’t be priced out.”
In Fashionista’s recap of what buyers are buying from the recent Spring 2022 collections, Neiman Marcus Fashion and Lifestyle Director Lisa Aiken called Matthieu Blazy’s first collection for Bottega “one of the most anticipated shows of the season,” and said that it “did not disappoint,” citing “the luxe leather ready-to-wear (like the skirt in look 25)” among her favorite pieces. Bergdorf Goodman Chief Merchant Yumi Shin also said she loved Blazy’s show, citing the fringed skirt as a “standout.”
And who’s not to agree? It’s a great skirt! A festive skirt. A skirt that screams “joy” but also “yachts.” A skirt that, quite unlike the other hot skirt of these times by Miu Miu, isn’t so short as to require its own set of built-in underwear. It comes in a comfortable midi length and A-line shape so you can, without thinking twice about it, do bold things like sit in chairs.
Another thing people enjoyed about Blazy’s show was the minimal styling. He paired those fake denim pants with a white tank top, and that skirty-skirt-skirt with a simple brown crewneck sweater. These items are also available for purchase in the Moda Operandi trunk show. The ribbed stretch cotton tank is $500, the brown alpaca chevron sweater $1,900. It’s as if this brown sweater was styled with that skirt specifically to bring it down a notch — like the skirt was just too good for its own good.
But the sad brown sweater was actually on a lot of runways. See: Prada, Bruno Cucinelli, and Raf Simons, to name a few. (Fellow Substacker Leandra Medine recently made a compelling case for embracing brown clothes.) We are hopefully emerging from the worst of the pandemic, but it’s unclear when the end will come, and an aesthetic of full-on glamour doesn’t feel quite right, making leather pants that look like jeans not totally illogical. However, as evidenced by the price of luxury clothes, and bigger than usual recent price increases at Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Rolex, these shoppers are immune to pedestrian matters like inflation, suggesting they would also be immune to things like the appealing relatability of a plain-seeming brown sweater, which most people would not guess cost $1,900 (unless, of course, you are Anna Dello Russo and went out in the full runway look).
But that’s the thing about high-fashion prices, right? You’re not paying for the clothes, you’re paying for the brand. And the sad brown sweater with the $29,000 skirt reminds people like me who don’t own any boats that N2 Bottega sees me, and would love to take my money for the $500 take top or the $1,300 gloves or the $5,200 flap bag which — oh look at that? — is more than $3,000 less than the Chanel version.
Do you see what the luxury fashion brands just did there? If N2 Bottega sells the $29,000 skirt, the $5,200 bag must be worth it.
If you haven’t yet, hit that subscribe button to get more posts like this sent to your inbox around twice a week.