Monday, February 18, 2008

Who shops at Prada?

Standing in the middle of the temple to retail that is Rem Koolhas’ Prada flagship store in Manhattan, I was struck yet again by the dichotomy between the brand image that Prada would like to present, and the consumers who actually keep the label afloat.

I was there to return a pair of shoes with a broken heel and, as I waited for ten minutes or so for the problem to be dealt with, I propped myself against a pillar and watched the shoppers milling about the store.

It was evident that nobody was interested in the women’s’ clothes, and that shoes, sunglasses and small leather goods were the biggest sellers. Most striking of all were the customers, who were dressed down with their designer label bags and sunnies clashing against Ugg boots, tracksuit bottoms, down jackets and parkas.

Of course this was the Soho store on Broadway, which is always going to attract rubber necking tourists but, even taking this into consideration, I didn’t spot a single customer who looked like they had an interest in Prada beyond the status symbols it could offer.