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Reine du luxe09/10/2008 - par Mark Tungate
It's always a good idea to irritate the powerful. This week I succeeded in annoying Tina Gaudoin, editor of the Wall Street Journal's smart new luxury magazine, WSJ. Gaudoin was friendly as we sat down to breakfast at Le Meurice – until she realised I was there to get a quote for my forthcoming book about the luxury industry. «We could have done this over the phone,» she said. It was almost as though she had flown to Paris specifically to meet me, which was not the case. In fact, I'd gotten out of bed early in order to meet her. Still, after my completely unnecessary apology, she graciously agreed to comment on the future of luxury.
Here's a brief précis. The rich will become even more demanding, insisting on genuine value and looking for real quality. There is also evidence to suggest that they will ask for products to be delivered to their homes, rather than be seen swishing down Fifth Avenue laden with shopping bags at a time of crisis. This should be a boon for luxury websites. Welcome to the age of non-conspicuous consumption.
After those useful soundbites, my attempts to chat were greeted with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. Then she suddenly said, «It was nice to meet you.» Before I'd even finished my coffee or nibbled a croissant, I was being subtly but firmly told to leave. It was an impressive performance, worthy of Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl. As a humble freelancer, the right to dismiss others is a luxury I will never possess.