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Luxury Designer Brands: Exceptional Quality or Flamboyant Fad?

Cartier, Ralph Lauren, Giorgio Armani… say these names and visions of sparkling diamonds, classic sportswear or tailored suits come to mind. Most only dream of wearing the labels that are considered the best of the best simply because of price. But where do quality and style fit into your buying decision?

Are designer labels an exceptional value because they offer more or are they simply flamboyant fads destine to pass?

In Touch With the Past, the Present and the Future

Most brands we see today are not entirely new. Rather, they are derived from a long history of service to the fashion industry and fashion consumers. As brands grow and diversify, they gain in recognition in front of people with substantial means as well as the general population.

This is the case with such designers as Ralph Lauren (established in the 1960s) and Coco Chanel (established 1912) and others. They made their marks with high society by understanding people and what they wanted.

Ralph Lauren started with ties. His men's ties were wide and flamboyant: in direct opposition to what the current style was for ties. But Lauren was right. Men loved them and they immediately became a symbol of status.

Likewise, Chanel began humbly by making simple hats that struck the fancy of women of privilege. Chanel's hats grew in popularity as they were bought and wore with pleasure. Soon the Chanel name also became a status symbol..

Luxury designers understand what others are looking for in the way of fashion and are able to provide it. They make a connection and are able to deliver new trends for the future while maintaining the classics of the past.

Quality Counts

There is a certain pride that comes from owning a $2,000 suit or a $550 pair of designer shoes. However, designer labels aren't just about spending three times what the average person does for a pair of trousers. Most luxury designers offer exceptional quality at every turn, which brings about better fit, more comfort and long-lasting apparel and accessories that last.

With features including hand-stitched seams and 100% Italian wool, there is no wonder these trousers offer comfort as well as years of fashionable wear. From selecting the best materials, using more stitches per inch, opting for fuller patterns so the apparel hangs as it should and other distinctive traits, you'll find superior quality that holds up better year after year.

The same can be said for other designer label goods. A diamond watch from Tiffany includes Swiss mechanics, 18 karat gold bands and superior quality diamonds of exceptional cut, clarity and color. A diamond watch from your local retailer can't match the same standard or craftmanship that go into well designed classic watches and timepieces.

It's All About Style

While quality is important, truly fashion is all about style. Apparel, jewelry, handbags, shoes and other items could be made from indestructible materials, but if they lack the right appeal - if they fail to make us feel special when we wear them - all is for nothing.

Top designers such as Hugo Boss, Gucci, Laura Biagiotti, Missoni and Prada understand fashion and how to weave the right styles into our lives. These designers know what we like before we do. How? Because they employ many different research tactics then combine their findings with current style trends.

But success doesn't lie solely with being in vogue. The ability to refresh the classic by instilling discreet elegance is another mark of true fashion talent. Donna Karan is a prime example. Her creations are never trendy yet always look modern. She re-invented the woman's power suit back in the late 80's by introducing the seven essential pieces of a wardrobe. In addition, she contoured traditional suits to give them a more feminine appeal. Women immediately recognized Karan's sense of style as their own and flocked to buy her apparel.

But the "look" isn't necessarily about wearing specific pieces of clothing, jewelry, accessories or fragrances. The "look" is the designer's overall flare. To exude the style of your favorite designers, you can simply follow their advice.

    • Hermes - Strong use of color, mosaic patterns and clean lines -leather, heavy buckles, scarves and ties with stylish handbags and belts.
    • Brioni - Tailored and classic cut suits, shirts and ties. Each design from the Brioni collection is handmade and precision cut to perfection.
    • Oscar de la Renta - Rich, deep colors (especially red) with lots of embellishments: ruffles, fringe, embroidery, sequins and fur.
    • Donna Karan - Black with flashes of gleaming white and bright colors, tailored and sleek, A-line dresses and plunging necklines.
    • Calvin Klein - Turtlenecks, leather skirts and boots. Long, lean lines including narrow crop pants. Reptile hides including alligator and crocodile.
    • Manolo Blahnik - Shoes that turn heads for a second glance. Style, comfort and color is a an important factor for Manolo Blahnik women's shoe designs.
    • Joy UK - Designer clothing made from rare and exotic natural fibers utilising Alpaca, Vicuna and Guanaco to create a highly fashionable line of stylish clothing.
    • Ralph Lauren - Tailored classics including khaki pants, cable-knit sweaters, structured suits, leather shoes, belts and accessories in natural colors; and primary shades of red, yellow, green and blue.
    • Gucci - Especially with men's and women's shoes, Gucci is all about buckles, zippers and other embellishments. From women's dress pumps to men's loafers and sandals, patriotic colors and black leather are prominent in their shoe line.

Designers understand that fashion has to function with life. When clothes, shoes and accessories look good, make us feel good and project the image we want to project, price begins to fade amid a combination of indulgence and value recognition.

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