Last week, was Met Gala Week, and with it came a whole lot of looks and a whole lot of discussion about how the annual costume party/publicity event fits into the overall fashion ecosystem. Read on for more from the last week in fashion. Don’t forget to subscribe to the Glossy Podcast for interviews with fashion industry leaders and Week in Review episodes, and the Glossy Beauty Podcast for interviews from the beauty industry. —Danny Parisi, sr. fashion reporter
The Met Gala is more than just a costume party
At this year’s Met Gala, the theme was a tribute to the late Karl Lagerfeld. And, as usual, we were treated to all the greatest hits of Met Gala fashion. Among them:
-Outfits that were on-theme and tasteful: A$AP Rocky wearing subtle Karl-esque black leather gloves; Lizzo in a black dress draped in pearls
-Outfits that were on-theme, but wild: Jared Leto in full cat costume as Karl’s beloved cat Choupette; Doja Cat in a full uncanny face prosthetic also dressed as Choupette
-Outfits that were not on-theme, but tasteful: Pedro Pascal’s shorts
-Outfits that were not on-theme and wild: Michaela Cole draped in 130,000 crystals worth of Schiaparelli
-And, my favorite, outfits that were vaguely nightmarish: Every inch of Lil Nas X covered in silver crystals; the aforementioned Doja Cat look
On the Glossy Week in Review podcast (which you should subscribe to, by the way), my guest host Deena Bahri from StockX and I talked about the recurring complaint about the Met Gala that the clothes aren’t practical. It’s an understandable reaction to seeing someone covered in 130,000 crystals or wearing a dress with a 30-foot train behind it. But the Met Gala is an art show as much as it is a fashion moment. Like any haute couture, it’s about showing off the kind of craftsmanship that designers and their teams are capable of when unbound by the need to make it consumer-friendly.
The Met Gala can also reflect larger trends. For example, a number of attendees wore vintage pieces, including Nicole Kidman, who wore the dress she had previously worn for a Chanel commercial in 2004, and Dua Lipa, who wore a dress designed by Lagerfeld for a 1992 Chanel runway. Those looks coincide with the overall push toward circular fashion and the destigmatization of re-wearing and reselling clothes, rather than always needing newness.
Even if you’re never going to wear Rihanna’s vast cocoon of Valentino fabric, there’s still a lot to appreciate from the Met Gala for anyone interested in fashion.
Price over quality
Last week I wrote about beat-up, stained, wrinkled, ripped and otherwise busted luxury handbags acting as a kind of gateway drug into high fashion. Increasingly, customers are buying secondhand bags in “fair” condition, as opposed to “good” condition or “like new,” as categorized by resale companies. Those customers see the wear and tear on a well-loved Birkin bag not as a downside but as a sign that the product has a history. Vestiaire Collective, for example, has seen a 13% increase in those sales in the last month. It doesn’t hurt that these pieces often cost a lot less.
Since writing that piece, I spoke to Quaid Walker, co-founder and CEO of the secondhand watch marketplace Bezel, who said the same idea holds up in the watch space. Scratches, dents and notches on a high-quality watch are seen as a badge of honor, a sign that this watch has a history and pedigree. And they’re bringing more young consumers into the luxury watch space due to their lower price points.
“At the highest end, there are people who want a watch that’s never been touched, but a lot of our buyers fall outside of that,” Walker said. “You also have buyers who are so price-conscious that they don’t mind the scratches. They think, ‘I’m gonna wear this and scratch it up anyway, so why pay an insane premium for a flawless watch?’ Some of our oldest and most valuable watches have a lot of wear on them, but even collectors can like that. They call it an honest piece.”
Keep an eye out next week for a new Glossy Luxury Briefing written by me that will dive into other disrupting factors in the luxury watch space.
Layoffs, layoffs, layoffs
Layoffs have been a near-constant feature of 2023 so far, and there are no signs that the cost-cutting is stopping anytime soon. The retail sector — inclusive of fashion and beauty brands — became the most laid-off sector in April, overtaking the tech industry. Retailers laid off 36,000 people in the month, including Gap, which laid off 1,800 employees, and Walmart.
And outside of retail, the fashion industry saw another institution fall: Paper Magazine. The iconic publication — famous for the Kim Kardashian “Break the Internet” cover, but also known for decades as an arbiter of New York fashion taste — abruptly laid off its entire staff last week amid declining sales. It’s a sad end to a storied publication and a sign that layoffs and a challenging economic climate are affecting all areas of the fashion industry and not just the brands themselves.
Photo: Julie Kandalec/Getty Images