Should Luxury Shopping Be Smiley?

When we were little, UFOs were real. Anytime there was a light, a buzz, a creak in our bedroom, we knew it was the aliens coming to zap us away. "No
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When we were little, UFOs were real. Anytime there was a light, a buzz, a creak in our bedroom, we knew it was the aliens coming to zap us away. "No
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When we were little, UFOs were real. Anytime there was a light, a buzz, a creak in our bedroom, we knew it was the aliens coming to zap us away. "Not happening," said our dad one night, when he caught us watching cartoons at 3 am, terrified. "Aliens are just as scared of you! Your little pink hands. Your scary yellow hair. They take one look and scream." And so we got over our fear of Close Encounters, but eventually developed another equally frightening idea: That girls in the fashion world are like little aliens, fascinating and terrifying to "normal" people. We scare and revolt and amaze the "normal" people, and they do the same to us. That mentality may explain today's Wall Street Journal piece about luxury shopping - apparently, as brands attempt to court more mid-market consumers, they're wondering if their stores should be more accessible. Accordingly, an "emotional specialist" and charmingly clueless guy named Dan Hill cases Rodeo Drive with a WSJ reporter. He calls the YSL boutique "contemptuous" because of "the down-stretched arms [of the mannequins] with hands flexed as though to ward off intruders." He thinks the "cartoonish, smiling apple figure" on the front of the Louis Vuitton store is to welcome new customers, not to showcase Murakami's new exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. And his favorite store, the one he thinks is doing the best to lure new luxury customers from a retail perspective, is Coach. "The key word here," he says, "Is accessible." We'd surmise that's exactly why the brand's stock and profits are currently falling harder than Britney's reputation, but hey, he's the specialist - we're just the aliens.