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Dead Again

Pierre Berge regularly claimed that the Yves Saint Laurent's retirement would mark the death of couture.

Teri Agins wrote, "It's not only the end of the millennium, but the end of fashion as we once knew it."

And in a new book to be released on August 16, Dana Thomas argues, "Luxury has lost its luster."  Just in case we missed the point, the volume is cleverly entitled Deluxe -- presumably with emphasis on the "de." 

Pity about those apparently deadly double-digit increases in sales volume and profits reported almost daily in the press and in earnings statements.  Who knew?

Despite analyses more suited to the Grim Reaper than frivolous fashionisti, however, stories about design and luxury tend to amuse.  In her chapter on fakes, "Faux Amis," Thomas offers the following vignette:

One day in 2004, New York security expert Andrew Oberfeldt and lawyer Heather McDonald were participating in a raid in a counterfeit mall on Canal Street in downtown Manhattan, when they saw a petite blond woman sobbing hysterically.  In a thick Texas drawl, she pleaded with McDonald:  "This is my first time to New York and this is awful!  I just want to take my things and go home."

McDonald asked the police what the Texan's "things" were:  "She had fifty-eight of the same bag," McDonald says incredulously.

McDonald said no, and the Texan left in a huff.

Five minutes later she returned, tears gone.

"I'm on the cell phone with my lawyer, and he says you can't do this without my day in court, so I'll take my bags and go," she declared.

"No," McDonald responded.  "I'll take your bags and see you in court."

"Two weeks later we're doing a raid at a nearby location," McDonald recalled when we met in June 2005.  "And who do we see?  The same Texan.  I told her, 'I thought you said you were never coming back here.'  And you know what she said?"

"What?"  I asked.

"Bite me!"

Yes, dear readers, I have taught in Texas -- although hopefully not the lawyer of the blonde in question.  And I will uncharacteristically refrain from further comment.