Thursday, July 30, 2009
"Is that something we can change?
HAS Anna Wintour finally gone power crazy? That's what some fashion insiders are wondering this week after the Vogue editor in chief suggested a retail-sales strategy which some said amounted to industry price-fixing. At a Tuesday "town hall" meeting hosted by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, designers like Donna Karan and Elie Tahari lamented steep markdowns that have plagued profits since last fall, The Post's James Covert reports. "Could someone lead a committee that would make ground rules for retailers when the discounting starts, and then all the retailers can agree to it?" Wintour asked. When CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg pointed out, "That's illegal," Wintour said: "Is that something we can change? We have friends in the White House now." According to a Vogue spokesman, Wintour was merely alluding to designated days for retail discounts that are already in place in certain countries including France and the United Kingdom. "That may be OK over there," says Vano Haroutunian, a New York lawyer focused on the apparel industry. "But here, it sounds like collusion." After a flurry of blog postings yesterday, CFDA executive director Steven Kolb downplayed the brouhaha, saying Wintour's comments were part of a "brainstorm." For example, designer Betsey Johnson suggested staging a fashion show at Madison Square Garden. Nevertheless, Wintour's legendary power over the industry is matched only by her zeal to "push the envelope," according to one fashion insider. "Either the idea was crazy or it was brilliant, but it wasn't 100 percent crazy," our source said. -PAGE SIX, NY Post