Thursday, March 08, 2007

Louis is Back, but Where is Paul?

Good news for Louis Vuitton in Taiwan this week. Police arrested the gang who broke into the French brand's flagship store in the central city of Taichung last year, stealing dozens of valuable bags. The theft hasn't stopped LV from expanding its presence on the island, since passing by the Breeze Center in Taipei yesterday, I noticed there's another large Louis Vuitton store waiting to open in May, just steps away from the Breeze's Gucci boutique.
What is troubling me however, is the seeming disappearance of some smaller if not less worthy brands. The Breeze's Louis Vuitton will take the place of Prada's MiuMiu boutique. And deeper into the shopping complex, I see Paul Smith ... or rather I don't see Paul. His colorful shirts and bags have vanished, and so has his name. Where is Paul, I ask you. Did he follow the fate of Belgium's Dries Van Noten, who slipped out of the Breeze earlier.
Is it just me or am I noticing a reduction of the mid-tier fashion brands? The names that are not as famous as LV, Gucci, Dior, Chanel, but still worthy of our respect and attention? Are the main logos dominating the market now, and will the lesser gods disappear off Taiwan's streets?
Even Louis Vuitton's chief designer, Marc Jacobs, seems to have trouble keeping his name up in Taipei. His store next to the Grand Formosa Regent was replaced by a Samsonite luggage outlet, then it reappeared inside the hotel lobby, now to disappear again as Harry Winston prepares a boutique. Marc is still present at the basement of the Breeze though, but for how long?


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