Dolce & Gabbana To Cease Production of D&G?
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Join Date: Nov 2008
D&G Will Die; Long Live Dolce & Gabbana
When Dolce & Gabbana said recently that it is folding its younger, less expensive D&G brand into its high-end line, many retailers were bewildered. D&G's success has at times overshadowed the more deluxe Dolce & Gabbana. And the prevailing wisdom is that a luxury brand loses cachet when it offers cheaper wares.
The danger, this theory goes, is that $300 Dolce & Gabbana dresses hanging beside $3,000 dresses with the same label will leave shoppers confused about what the brand stands for. "The Dolce super-label has sublime value," which could be diminished in consumers' minds, says luxury-consumption consultant Jim Taylor.
But there's another way to look at this wager: Consumers—savvier and more confident than ever about fashion—no longer pay as much attention to narrow tiers of brands. They've been mixing and matching expensive and cheap clothes for years. Meanwhile, luxury brands can seem cluttered with different lines when what consumers really care about is the designers who stand behind them.
Indeed, Mr. Taylor this week advised a roomful of luxury-company executives that they are annoying high-end customers by creating tiers of brands. "Nothing upsets affluent consumers more than finding there are multibrand models for multiple levels of quality," he said at the American Express Luxury Summit in Park City, Utah. In other words, maybe Dolce & Gabbana has already been devalued simply by the existence of D&G.
Mr. Taylor argues that companies must choose between two strategies. Either they must go the way of Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren and "paint the earth" with multiple brand levels or they must "simply be sublime" and cater to the roughly 20% of luxury consumers who shop without regard to price.
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