Luxury Shoppers Turning To Private Gatherings


Say you haven’t yet been hit by the recession, but you don’t want to show off your continued good fortune by shopping at Saks. What’s a luxury shopper to do? Simply shop at private, exclusive gatherings. Leave it to the rich to show sympathy for those affected by the recession while still indulging in elite activities.

NY Times: [Maggie Buckley, an editor at Allure magazine] is one in a coterie of shoppers turning their backs on conspicuous consumption but trawling for treasures nonetheless at invitation-only shopping events springing up in hotel suites, at private showrooms or in the well-appointed parlors of their peers. Feeling the pangs of conscience, they are shopping on the down-low, finding deals in places that are the retail equivalent of a safari on a private game reserve…

Such covert shopping has long been enjoyed by the upper crust, people who could pay six figures for diamond-and-sapphire brooch or sable wrap — and the privilege of exclusivity. But in the current climate, stealth consumption has gained a more potent appeal, taking place at gatherings with an insiders’ feel…

“There is certainly a stigma to spending openly in this economy,” said Eric Spangenberg, a consumer psychologist and the dean of the business school at Washington State University. “These people don’t want to appear flippant by disregarding the woes of the economy,” he said, “but they still want to get their shop on, and they’re going to find a way.”

Those who cannot wean themselves off the shopping habit flock to events that are, in Dr. Spangenberg’s phrase, “the high-end equivalent of a Tupperware party.” There they trade gossip and air kisses — and spring for crewelwork pashminas or pavé diamond pet collars.

Photo from The New York Times