And so it was for many years: the ateliers of Chanel, Dior, Balmain, Valentino and others were sacred places : timeless and spaceless.
Every couturier owned his/her atelier and money was a mean to access this world yet it was not the main engine.
The rest of the world, normal people just dreamed about the masterpieces weared by charming (and affluent) ladies.
Black and white pictures of famous ladies taken by famous photographers (Marella Agnelli by Richard Avedon) were icons to be admired and works of art.
Fast forward forty years and there's a new King in town: the Stock Exchange.
Huge multibrand groups entered the fashion arena -- after winning victories over the main brands they bought -- and climbed the steps of the stock exchange.
Meet the new chariot drivers: the powerhouses of LVMH, PPR, Richemont.
LVMH owns Dior, Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, Pucci, Kenzo, Donna Karan, Louis Vuitton, Celine, Fendi, Ebel, Tag Heuer, Sephora, etc
PPR owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Sergio Rossi, Stella McCartney, Boucheron, Roger and Gallet, Bedat, even the auction house Christie's, etc.
Richemont means Cartier, Piaget, Baume and Mercier, IWC, Jaeger Lecoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Dunhill, Lancel Montblanc, Chloè, etc.
Get the idea? Three groups make up the biggest slice of the fashion market.
What this means is that stock fluctuation now drives the fortune of designers and buyers for these brands: high revenues keep the job of the couturier safe while rising prices secure money to buy for the new affluent ladies.
The need to sustain the stock price and deliver revenues has generated a Starbucks effect, as defined by Stephane Marchand in his book Les Guerres du Luxe.
"It's what these marketing geniuses call the Starbucks effect, referring to the positive impact generated by the coffee giant to the entire coffee shops market. It's a vertical contamination that works with an halo effect: when some companies raise the perception of a market through innovation, new brands and advertising, the entire market gets the benefit."
And to complete the picture, mono brand stores open everywhere: dozens and dozens of stores in each city around the globe.
To make the wheel running the old couturier world is just not enough.
You need to get as large a slice of the market as possible and the highest margin on each product.
The adopted strategy is the strategy of the flagship product.
A special thanks to Valeria Maltoni