What credit crunch? London's a hotbed of fashion retail growth.
This past week, Rick Owens and Marc by Marc Jacobs opened doors on South Audley street in Mayfair. And a walk down New Bond Street revealed workers near completion on Michael Kors' new store, set to open later this month - all of which suggest both designer and brand faith in shoppers.
And if they'll find that loyalty anywhere, it's London. There's a palpable difference between shoppers here and in the states. I spent a Saturday afternoon walking from Barneys to Bergdorf in New York just a few weeks ago. Racks of clothes went untouched and bored sales staff milled around. It was like a museum of clothes in which more than one salesperson told me, "No one is shopping in New York right now."
But then I spent this past Friday doing some spring shopping in Harrod's and the store was bumper to bumper, can't-get-a-salesperson-to-help-you packed. Sure, London's an international shopping hub, but so is New York.
Why, in the midst of this global economic crisis, do London's stores feel like the circus and New York's a mausoleum? And is the answer to that question the same as why designers continue to open stores on this side of the Atlantic?
REBECCA SUHRAWARDI AUSTIN