the Insiders


I was always impressed by Severin Wunderman, the owner of Swiss watch brand Corum, who passed away this week after suffering a stroke. He was a larger-than-life figure in an industry that can often use a jolt of excitement.

Severin was a "Big Idea" person. When he convinced Aldo Gucci to give him the license for Gucci watches, he knew how hungry people were for luxury branding. When he was bought out -- a deal that reaped him a lot of money -- he couldn't bear sitting on the sidelines as his non-compete clause stipulated. He once told me he knew he wanted to buy Corum the day he sold Gucci back to Gucci Group.

Severin couldn't live without a project and he couldn't live without zeal. Seeing Severin during the Basel watch fair was always my favorite appointment. He would be dressed to the nines -- often with a silver spider brooch pinned to his lapel -- and he would speak frankly on all subjects, which was refreshing. I knew I could trust him to paint a true picture. He loved art. I think it was his path to transcendence after having survived the Holocaust and having had to work his way up from the bottom (I believe he was a taxi driver at one point). It inspired him to think beyond business and his own bodily frailty after having been diagnosed with cancer in the Nineties and, as if through sheer determination, beating it.

Though physically he was diminished, his spirit remained big. I remember a meeting at his pied-a-terre in Paris several years ago. There was a view on the River Seine and Severin had furnished the pad with Forties furniture.

After a long talk, he took me around to see the art. I remember the Tamara de Lempicka and the many paintings and sketches by Jean Cocteau, whom Severin revered. I always reckoned Severin loved Cocteau so much (he had one of the biggest Cocteau collections in the world) because Cocteau excelled in so many fields, whether writing, painting or filmmaking. The last time I saw Severin, in March, he told me he had donated all his Cocteau pieces to a museum that was being built in Menton, on the French Riveria. I remember how excited he was that the museum was opening next year. It's sad he'll never see it. I'm sure he would have been pleased.

In my job, I spend a fair amount of time trying on the most expensive diamond jewelry in the world at the most decadently intimidating stores in New York, but every trip to Jacob & Co. was always a bit more exciting than the others. You never knew who or what you'd see in there -- from Barbara Walters to a scaled-to-life chess set made of white, cognac and black diamonds in the works for a Saudi Prince.

Jacob Arabov
photo by Thomas Iannaccone

I've known Jacob Arabov since 2005 and there have been many interviews at his East 57th street store and headquarters -- it's the only place you can find a 15-carat fancy yellow diamond alongside a watch with the image of a Playboy bunny on the dial. They don't have those at Graff or Harry Winston.

Swipe a card and the glass for the jewelry case drops down à la James Bond. Swipe somewhere else and a hidden pocket door opens to a leather-laden back area with a fully stocked bar. The VIP area is welcome to celebrities of all sorts, but a constant presence has been Jacob's wife, Angela, always involved in the business, and one of their three preteen sons wearing one of dad's larger-than-life five-time-zone watches with diamonds.

That's the thing about Jacob. Sure, you'd see pictures of him with all the bold-faced names -- Paris Hilton, P. Diddy, Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Posh and Becks, etc. -- but for so many clients, the family element was so endearing.

I wonder how the shop will fare without Arabov's presence for the 30 months while he is incarcerated for money laundering. After all, who else but Jacob would have the nerve to make a pavé diamond pendant the size of a CD, like the one he did for Pharrell Williams.

Of all the people I've interviewed in my three years of writing profiles here, Peggy Noonan was certainly one of the most memorable (WWD, June 20, page 12). As New York becomes a place less hospitable to creative types, there are fewer and fewer characters to write about. Will there be a group of people a generation from now who are as colorful as Susanne Bartsch, Simon Doonan, Don King, Florent Morellet, Eddie Hayes, Jimmy Breslin, and Peggy Siegal? I don't know and it worries me.

Peggy Noonan is not a person who'd ordinarily be described as a "New York character." For one, she isn't as eccentric as any of these people. Second, her politics are in opposition to all of theirs. But she is a rarity, a Republican gal who chose to remain in a Democratic town. And though she's a serious conservative, she's turned out to be a surprise thorn in George W. Bush's side, a fact that is particularly interesting given that she played a significant role in helping his father win the presidency.

In other words, she's a person who's surprising. And that counts for a lot.

There was excitement not often seen among London's fashion and art crowd Tuesday night when they gathered at the Barbican Center for the opening of Viktor & Rolf's exhibition of porcelain dolls wearing the designers' past collections. Guests clamored to glimpse the giant doll's house the duo had created, peering at the porcelain figures - all carefully grouped in different rooms by runway collection - that had taken up residence.

London's usual party crew - including Natalie Press, Mischa Barton, Kelly Osbourne, Matthew Williamson, Gareth Pugh and television presenter Alexa Chung - made the trek from the chic West End to trip through the labyrinthine halls of the center - a monolithic series of concrete bunkers near London's financial district. Indeed, the suitably dolled-up crowd, many wearing the Dutch designers' pieces, was a study in contrasts with the sober surroundings of the center, as were the pink and purple floral arrangements placed artfully around the halls.

The designers themselves, Viktor Hortsing and Rolf Snoeren, cut a low profile at the party, and after posing for a few pictures with friends they disappeared among the crowd. When the exhibition's sponsors took to the mic to congratulate the duo, the shy designers admitted that they "didn't have a speech."

But unlike many exhibition openings here, where the scenesters seem to be blissfully unaware of which artist they're feting on any given week, this crowd knew their stuff. Singer Róisín Murphy told me she'd even road-tested a look from the designers' fall 2007 collection - a black silk dress that came complete with its own lighting rig. Murphy wore the look (possibly its first outing on a civilian street) on the cover of her single "Overpowered," shot in southeast London. Not that the outfit didn't present its challenges "It was like wearing a sail," Murphy admitted. "I'd pose and then topple over."

Living in Italy, I'm accustomed to beautiful landscapes and cities soaked in history, but the Diane von Furstenberg event in Florence -- cocktails, a cruise runway show and a light dinner -- still got jaded fashion people gushing.

The candlelit soiree was held in the perfectly manicured Giardino Torrigiani gardens, Florence's largest private estate that spreads out over 14 acres. Even Florentine royalty such as the Ferragamo clan, Laudomia Pucci and other nobility with double-barreled surnames, were in awe.

Almost as impressive was von Furstenberg's perfect Italian. "It's thanks to my Italian husband [the late Egon von Furstenberg] and boyfriends," she chuckled. It was evident she felt at home and that Florence brought back memories, especially because she hadn't been back in years.

Not everything went smoothly, though. Von Furstenberg expressed concern over the clouds that had stirred. "We only have 50 umbrellas and no plan B. Let's pray it doesn't rain," she whispered. Interruptions came when Natalia Vodianova teetered over in the three looks, including a 1977 wrap dress, that she would wear in the show. "Do you feel it? You like it?" von Furstenberg repeated at each change. The designer's face lit up as she watched her 9-year-old granddaughter, Talita, scamper around with Vodianova's son Lucas, 6. Though the two kids had just met, they became pals in seconds.

That night, after cocktails, the designer held her cruise show -- no umbrellas needed. Models walked on raised catwalks that fanned out from a large central statue wearing her designs, with the Elkann clan, Eva Longoria and her husband, Tony Parker, looking on.
Red gowns might be the first thing people think of when they hear the word Valentino, but intimates know it means so much more. When the retired Roman couturier swept into Paris earlier this week for the opening of a retrospective exhibit at Les Arts Décoratifs, the lavish and effortlessly glamorous lifestyle he represents was in full flower -- from the hydrangeas-in-every-color-under-the-sun dotting the dinner tables at the gala dinner to the swirl of p.r. minions and international glitterati jockeying for his attention.

"I feel like I'm at Wideville," Marisa Berenson remarked, likening the grandeur of the museum's rich furnishings to the designer's chateau outside of Paris.

It will be interesting to see if Valentino's new brand stewards -- the private equity fund Permira and the designer Alessandra Facchinetti -- will be able to sustain the aura of exclusivity, privilege and refinement around the brand without the founding designer, who built it over a career stretching 49 years and with a loyal entourage of Hollywood A-listers, European royals and assorted jet-setters.

Not that the man seems worried, or wistful about leaving fashion behind. During our interview, he seemed relaxed, happy and enjoying his free time, looking forward to a summer vacation that would not be interrupted by the ceaseless cycle of collections. He told me his first idea was Spain, but then he ran into a Turkish friend in London and is now mulling the possibility of sailing his yacht in its blue waters. He's got a long list of other places he's keen to visit, including Fiji and Australia. There is definitely a life after fashion, and Valentino's sounds as glamorous as ever. His fashion foundation, and ambition to do ballet costumes, might have to wait.
I was surprised when Mary-Kate and Ashley's publicist had me get on the phone with both sisters separately about their new jewelry line under the Elizabeth and James label. I figured one of them would be the mouthpiece for the ever-evolving Olsen brand. But in an effort to establish themselves as two distinct people (as opposed to our favorite pigtailed twins from the "Full House" days), Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's publicist wanted me to speak with each of them and asked that I not refer to them as "twins" or "sisters" in my story (WWD, Monday June 16, page 12).

I spoke first with Ashley at about 10 a.m. the morning after the CFDA Fashion Awards. Apparently she wasn't gallivanting around Bungalow 8 or the Beatrice Inn the night before. While I'm no stranger to interviewing celebrities on their latest accessory venture (as almost all of them have one), speaking with Ashley was more like chatting with the president of a business, which, I suppose, she is. It wasn't all about "inspiration" or any soul-searching banter -- we talked executive stuff: licensing, retail strategies and how the merchandising and branding business has changed since the Olsens launched Dualstar over 15 years ago. She talked about how she and Mary-Kate dress themselves, and in the past have taken a beating for it in the press. She sounded at times humble, mentioning all of the fashion superstars she had met the night before who have made an impact on her. Our conversation lasted about 25 minutes before someone on her public relations team jumped in asking, "Do you have all that you need?"

My conversation with Mary-Kate was shorter and a bit more frantic. She was speaking to me while driving through Los Angeles (in sky-high platform heels, I'm sure). She talked about going into Robert Lee Morris' studio and playing dress-up with his couture pieces from fashion shows he's done for Donna Karan and Karl Lagerfeld, among others. I asked her how she and Ashley differ in how they go about their work. She began by saying that they might approach something in different ways, but the end result is always the same. I asked her how she felt about fame. "I don't know how to answer that question." It wasn't long before someone cut in.

"Activist" is a kind of weird name pinned these days on millionaire investors willing to stir up trouble for likewise fat-cat boards and ceo's. More than the corporate gadflies of yesteryear, the new brand of aggrieved shareholder has enough clout, cash and sometimes votes to cattle-prod cozy boards into action -- whether it be selling off a division or changing the makeup of the board itself.

Chico's FAS, which is being pressured by Spotlight Capital Management to switch up its board, is just the latest activist target. And then there's Carl Icahn, perennial corporate raider, who has been licking his chops over retailers with low stock prices and recently tried to unseat Jerry Yang as ceo of Yahoo.

Activist, though, is really a much better handle for the type who takes to the street with banners and chants than the sort who eagerly await an annual meeting. But activist is the name that seems to have stuck and, as I wrote about the impact of these assertive shareholders, I figured, maybe it's just as well.

Looking beyond the buckets of money to be made, shareholder activism is a genuine nod to that old oxymoron, "corporate democracy," and does, therefore, deserve a place in the grand tradition of open protest. Besides, activist shareholders are often asking the same basic question as those gathering by the thousands outside the White House: Why, if things are so bad, are the same people in charge?

Usually, that question isn't really answered, but in the corporate world, the asking tends to make often boring annual meetings less so. Absent an activist or an "American Idol" -- Wal-Mart had the newly minted pop star David Cook at its meeting this year -- most of the entertainment at the statutory annual gatherings comes from the quirky notions of corporate strategy from smaller shareholders.

Remember Evelyn Davis at the 2005 annual meeting where the deal to merge the Federated and May department store groups was sealed? She asked Terry Lundgren, now Macy's Inc.'s ceo, if he overpaid for May and quizzed him on the brand of jacket she was wearing (Lundgren passed the test, knowing immediately it was David Meister.)

John and Lewis Gilbert also made their mark. The brothers were said to attend more than 80 meetings a year, keeping corporate bigwigs on their toes.

And then there was Phillips-Van Heusen's 2003 annual meeting, where a man who identified himself as a shareholder and filmmaker expounded on the inadequacies of men's undershirts and, when it appeared he might reveal more than was strictly required in a corporate setting, two security guards approached. Nothing was revealed and nothing came of it. At least he had his say, which is, of course, what democracy promises.
A little more than one year ago, China launched an "Olympic smile campaign" urging all of Beijing to smile at foreign visitors. "Beijing citizens, especially those from malls, restaurants, hospitals and police stations, are urged to smile when they face hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world during the Olympics," state media said in announcing the drive 500 days before the start of the Beijing Summer Games.

But with a crackdown on visas for foreigners, political turmoil in Tibet and a devastating earthquake in Sichuan that killed at least 70,000 people, simple smiles may not be enough to draw foreigners to Beijing for the games, which begin Aug. 8. Tourism officials report that visitor numbers are down and thousands of hotel rooms remain unbooked for those three weeks in August.


These are tense times in Beijing, with less than 60 days to go before the opening ceremony. Police are randomly checking the passports and visas of foreigners, knocking on doors throughout the city, shuttling out the migrant workers who have helped build a new Beijing and going to great lengths to keep tight control on those who remain in the city.

Most tickets for Olympic events are sold out, although even some families of international athletes have failed to secure seats. Early last week, the government issued rules for who will and won't be allowed to enter China for the Olympics -- tickets being no guarantee of a visa. Those regulations bar those with "mental diseases" and sexually transmitted disease like AIDS and syphilis. Protests and political slogans, the government noted, require prior permission -- something not often granted here.

In the end, China will undoubtedly stage a grand Olympic Games. What remains to be seen is whether the Beijing Games truly will be an international celebration of sport, or simply an extravagant party by and for those in charge. In any case, the real relaxed smiles are apt to return in September or October when the show finally ends.
Cliche loves early. The early bird gets the worm; early to bed ensures health, riches and keen intellect. This entire industry has bought into the grail of early with remarkable and uncharacteristic unison, save for the occasional and constant dissenter, namely Donna Karan. We talked about this -- again -- during a recent resort appointment.

Donna Karan
photo by Talaya Centeno

These days, Donna takes primary issue with pre-fall. Certainly it's now heresy to question the obsession with resort: "Do you know it's the longest selling season and best sell-through of all?" goes the communal refrain. Yeah, I think we've all got it. I also think I have a reasonable handle on much of what goes on in this industry. But some matters are utterly over my head. Top of the list: If early is such a utopia at retail, why, before Memorial Day, was most of the domestic shopping world as we know it up to 40 percent off, soon to be 70? While this year the economy has exacerbated things, in fact, this markdown schedule has gone on for years.

Before the last round of collections, W market director Treena Lombardo and I were discussing whether we would buy anything new for the season. "Let's face it," Treena said, "if you don't have it for the shows" - in the cold of February and March - "why not wait for the sales?" She's not alone in that thought. And if women like the two of us who love clothes and work in fashion feel this way, how many civilian consumers do, as well?

Fashion had a horrible Christmas, and again, the economy was only partly to blame. Once upon a time, a cozy sweater was the perfect Christmas gift, a wear-now treat and size-wise, a low-anxiety gift purchase. Can the same be said for a resort bikini?

Hello, Amazon Kindle.
It has been said by many, but the death of Yves Saint Laurent from brain cancer last week in Paris at 71 marked the end of the grand era of French couture. That sentiment permeated the solemn - and beautiful - funeral mass Thursday for the great couturier at the 16th-century Eglise Saint-Roch. The service was attended by some 800 mourners, including French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, and designers from Valentino and Hubert de Givenchy to Alber Elbaz, Christian Lacroix, Marc Jacobs and John Galliano.

Yves Saint Laurent's coffin exits.
photo by Dominique Maitre and Stephane Feugere
Catherine Deneuve was close to Saint Laurent for many years and was a regular at all of the parties he threw recently - at the foundation he opened with his lover and business partner of 50 years, Pierre Berge. Deneuve read a touching poem by Walt Whitman that mused on the importance of the spirit and finding transcendence in each moment of life. I wish I could find the name of that poem. When I asked Deneuve, who was very emotive, she said she didn't remember.

Berge's speech was a testament of his love for Saint Laurent. "How beautiful and eager was the Paris morning on which we met," he began, his voice cracking with emotion. He ended with this: "As I leave you, Yves, I want to tell you my admiration, my profound respect and my love."

I saw Berge the day before the funeral mass. He was listening to the recording of Maria Callas singing "Casta Diva," one of Saint Laurent's fetish songs, which would be played during the ceremony. I could see he hadn't slept and that he was completely decimated by Saint Laurent's passing, which moved me considerably. I embraced him. Neither of us said a word.

I had interviewed Saint Laurent several times. What struck me most, even when it became evident that his health was failing, was his presence of mind. His manner of expression was always incisive, never glib. Yet it was also clear that he no longer belonged to this world, a world in which fashion has become more interested in feeding the media frenzy than in the perfect construction of a dress. Saint Laurent's era ended long before he retired in 2002, a fact he realized all too well and for which he told me he suffered. But what Saint Laurent gave to fashion - his inimitable style, his chic, his deep love and respect for women - will be remembered for a long time to come.
Who knew Anna Sui did her own Mondrian colorblock shift back in 1984? I certainly didn't -- until I went down to the WWD library last week to pull film for a story on Yves Saint Laurent's impact on fashion. I found scores of other surprises, too.

Yves Saint Laurent dress, 1965
photo courtesy of the Fairchild Archives
I pulled up a photo from his spring 1979 collection of a model wearing a harlequin-patterned gown and realized it matched a spring 2008 Viktor & Rolf look to a T. Hats from his fall 2001 collection rang of the spiraling, Frank Gehry-like toppers at the most recent Louis Vuitton show in March, and so on. It's amazing just how far-reaching his influence was, beyond the safari or le smoking looks that have become synonymous with his name.

As someone who's still fairly new to the industry -- let's just say, I'm a child of the Eighties -- my memory bank of YSL moments doesn't go very far and much of what I do know is filtered through the work of other designers. So it was quite an eye-opener to get down and dirty with the company archives. What didn't the guy do? Transparency, beaded tribalwear, even conical busts. (And I always thought Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier had paved that road.)

As for my favorite discovery that day, while looking at a complicated fringed patchwork coat from Saint Laurent's 2002 couture finale, I noticed the model behind it, walking away from the camera. The phrase "Or Never" was prominently displayed on her backside. Intrigued, I searched for a frontal view. What a nice surprise considering the events going on. The girl was wearing a cartoonishly cute coatdress, covered in hearts, stars and puffy clouds emblazoned with the words, "Love Me Forever."
As the fashion equivalent of the Oscars, the CFDA Fashion Awards should be the ne plus ultra in fashion moments, but last week's ceremony got off to a tricky start. Once the celebrities, designers and other industry types walked by the row of photographers (to shouts of  "Eva, Eva, Eva," "Naomi," and "Posh, look here"), the crowd congregated in a patio area behind the New York Public Library for cocktails. The problem? The floor was made up of slats, which, for  for this crowd meant dozens of stuck Manolo, Choo and Louboutin heels.

Victoria Beckham and Eva Longoria
photo by Steve Eichner
Maybe there's a fashion jinx, but something always seems to go a little haywire with this big industry shindig, from the lengthy ceremony (that at least once pushed well beyond midnight) to spotty food service and the awkward moment last year when emcee Ellen Barkin muddled up her Designer of the Year presentation and forgot to mention that Proenza Schouler was tied with Oscar de la Renta (causing a very uncomfortable moment in the audience -- not unlike watching one of those awkward scenes in The Office).

When this year's awards started going, the crowd sat stone-faced through much of the presentation, which at times was amusing, and touching. There was Diane von Furstenberg's heartfelt words about Yves Saint Laurent, who had died the night before; Fran Lebowitz's drier-than-dry humor that seemed to escape the fashion folk, and Amy Poehler and Tina Fey's smart dialogue about accessories, offering the ultimate fashion fantasy -- a Marc for Marc Jacobs sandwich  for Dean & Deluca with bread by Isaac Mizrahi for Pepperidge Farms. In the end, it all does come down to food, after all. For a lot that prides itself on not eating, they were getting quite antsy with the slow kitchen at the Bryant Park Grill. "You bet I am leaving, I am hungry," Marc Jacobs told me, as he squeezed himself by my table to say a few words to Naomi Campbell, who was sitting a few seats further down.

Maybe Michael Kors had a point while reflecting on the night during a resort appointment the morning after. "Fashion people eat junk food," he said.

How about burgers and fries next year? I would love to hear suggestions on improving the night.
While Congress scales back its agenda before it adjourns for the summer, the political season is heating up. The race for the White House has taken on new life now that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama has become the presumptive Democratic Party nominee. It will be my first time overseeing WWD's coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions, and the late summer events promise to be not only historic but also a study in contrasts.

Obama and Arizona Sen. John McCain, the GOP's presumptive nominee, are the perfect yin and yang when it comes to a host of issues, including trade, foreign policy and health care. McCain, the 71 year-old decorated war veteran who has spent 22 years in the Senate will go head to head with Obama - a rookie senator and former activist whose oratory style and call for change has captivated millions.

Against this backdrop, the fashion industry, which has a big stake in Washington politics - with $95.5 billion in imports coming into the country every year - is watching how the debate over free trade versus protectionism will unfold between the two candidates. Obama has been the trade skeptic on the campaign trail, calling for an amendment to the North American Free Trade Agreement, tougher action against China and stronger labor and environmental protections, while McCain has traveled through hard-hit industrial states like Ohio and Michigan, championing free trade and railing against "protectionists."

While the Iraq War is sure to be a key issue in the campaign and at the conventions, the country's economic woes should focus much of the debate on trade policy and will likely be the center of attention for WWD's coverage, as well.
June 11, 2008 2:12 AM

Beauty, Retail

Target's Beauty Play

Target's fall initiative of bringing in a fresh crop of unknown premium makeup brands to nearly all their 1,500-plus stores is either one of two things: Genius or doomed.

First, the doomed. The plan, which includes adding makeup testers for the first time, puts pressure on existing makeup brands sold there. With the in-stock struggles Target currently faces, not to mention economic pressures and prestige competition, mass staples like Revlon, L'Oreal Paris, Cover Girl and Maybelline New York could feel the big squeeze on the shelf. What new and innovative marketing--or retailing opportunities, for that matter--will help set the established brands apart from the newbies? Who will get the red carpet treatment this August with testers and lit shelves? How well will bargain hunting consumers take to smaller, new brands they've never heard of before?  Napoleon Perdis, Jemma Kidd and Petra Strand each have very limited distribution in the U.S. And will Target's muscle as a powerful advertiser and marketer be able to connect with the consumer, who's already saturated with beauty messages?

But prestige players in the mass beauty aisle can swing towards genius, too. Testers, for one, may make all the difference in drumming up excitement in the category and in the store. Once a consumer is drawn in, she may not want to purchase an item from a new brand she's not familiar with, but she can compare a similar shade from a big brand and then confidently make a purchase. Marketing the vibrant and lively personalities of the three makeup artists can only drive traffic: Kidd is a former model with looks to kill; Perdis' personality is robust and unstoppable; Strand's style will have women wanting more.

It may only take until Christmas time to know whether the new initiative will hit or miss. Until then, the Indie trio will get its moment in the spotlight.
The story of the women's denim industry has, for almost two years, centered on the overabundance of brands and the inevitable weeding out of those that failed to perform.

As writers from around the world began filing stories for our annual WWD Denim in Depth section that ran May 22, a new and perhaps more troubling theme emerged - lack of confidence in retailers. Brands up and down the price ladder have adopted a do-it-yourself mentality when it comes to retail. Signature stores are widely being regarded as the quick fix to slowing sales. The weakening global economy has taken a hit on consumers' pocket books in developed markets like the U.S., South Korea, Japan and Europe. In response, retailers have cut assortments, tightened inventories and started playing it safe when bringing in new styles.

"Retailers are scared," said one vendor. Retailers selling their own brands cut back drastically as well. One denim fabric supplier said he recognized a problem last August when fabric orders for holiday merchandise didn't come in. "I knew it was serious by October," he said. "People were canceling Christmas orders." Back inventory didn't clear out until well into March.

This has left few options for those looking to position themselves as global lifestyle brands - Seven For All Mankind, True Religion and Joe's Jeans to name a few - to introduce customers to their growing array of products. The push to open signature stores isn't limited to premium players, either.

Moderate brand Silver Jeans will be opening its first store in Denver this summer and believes it can open up to 75 over the next five years. While some brands rush to open up shop for themselves, others are abandoning the premium ranks in the hopes of enticing price-conscious consumers. Vendors are hoping the $65 to $125 price range will be the next sweet spot in the market.
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