The Business of Preppy, Frette Kinda’ Sorta’ Goes Outlet, Logo Atrocities

Hello-Hello! Happy Summertime everyone!

We jump back into the daily drill taking a quick glance at the Business of Preppy as we refer to it here at the Prepatorium.  Most true-blue preps are comfortable in their own skin, returning to the brands they were raised with again and again, while occasionally adding a new contributor to their personal style mix.  The overwhelming majority of classic ‘preppy brands’ have always provided outstanding value in exchange for one’s investment, be it a suit from Brooks Brothers or a belt from LL Bean.

The business of marketing to preps alongside ‘faux preps’ (or those aspiring to same) is particularly daunting during These Challenging Times. Many of us marked the loss of classic stationer Mrs. John L. Strong with sadness last week. For those unfamiliar with the brand, this description in the NY Times story suffices:

“Mrs. John L. Strong was the stationer of choice for well-heeled brides and socialites. They were in good company.

Other customers included the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (the Duchess had her crest engraved in royal blue), Pat Nixon and Mamie Eisenhower, Oprah Winfrey, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and Vogue’s editor, Anna Wintour.”

Below, a photo from last winter’s Forbes story on the company and its CEO, Nanette Brown:

PHOTO: Dennis Golonka/Forbes

PHOTO: Dennis Golonka/Forbes

Sniff, sniff. (Psst, does anyone have a tissue?)

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Another outstanding story in the Times references changes in strategy for a locale generally isolated from previous economic downturns, the Hamptons:

“The Hamptons wants you to perceive it as conforming to the spirit of these hard times and not to caricature it as the flashy, traffic-choked, over-the-top playground it has increasingly become.”

“Raw glitz is out, confirmed Valerie Smith, owner of the Monogram Shop on Newtown Lane here, where napkins imprinted with “Reduced Circumstances” are selling well. “I didn’t order the $2,500 Italian backgammon board this year, which I sold three of the summer before last,” she said.”

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And then we have news that Frette has opened an online outlet. (Gasp. The horror!)

The Italian purveyor of luxury linens is doing the ‘outlet store’ online only; it opened May 15 and closes at 6pm EDT June 15, so shop early, shop often, but shop soon if so inclined.

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Marketing in this day and age also involves using all available tools, something that has challenged preppish retailer J. Crew.  While the issue seems to be significantly reduced, Crew’s inability to manage basics at their online store is well-documented, approaching infamy in some annals of marketing nightmares.

Now the company’s blogging policy is under the microscope by the folks over at Media Bistro, although the story indicates the primary concern for J. Crew policymakers is likely micro-blogging site Twitter. However, as the story notes:

“If J.Crew’s official Twitter efforts are an indication, they have a lot of work to do to shake out their social voice. McAuliffe’s email signature finishes with @JCrew_Insider which stands at 299 followers, 1 following, and 7 updates at the time of this post.”

As of this writing that number is 334. The last @JCrew_Insider Twitter post is dated more than a month ago, April 21st, mentioning the retailer’s Malibu store opening. If tweeting store openings is a priority, at least one mention of the company’s Hamptons locations should be made.

(In the interest of full disclosure,  the Princess is on Twitter and loves it, as are many of our fabulous blogging friends.)

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Today we have two entries from the land of logo abominations, the first dubbed The Ugliest Rolls Royce Ever by the witty writers at Luxuo.

PHOTO: AutoJunk via Luxuo via Carscoop

PHOTO: AutoJunk via Luxuo via Carscoop

The second item may be familiar to readers, it was featured in Vogue‘s June issue, the Last Look page.

PHOTO: Courtesy via WWD.com

PHOTO: Courtesy via WWD.com

Yes, silly season is still with us. The Fendi bicycle is available in two versions, one selling for $9500 (removable fur saddlebags and other accoutrements) while the budget version (hee-hee) is merely $5900.  The lower-priced model does include Fendi’s Selleria leather accessories, a leather GPS navigation holder, key & bike chain cover. (In all candor, we do this second entry rather tongue-in-cheek, as there simply isn’t lots of logoing going on; it was all about the flow of words, the perfect segue, in a manner of speaking. Heh-heh.)

But we have good news: a new entry to the luggage market will not be triggering a case of logophobia for almost any of our tastefully-inclined readers.  Okay, for our clue, it’s time for a show of hands: how many were raised toting about Hartmann bags?

Aw, you guessed already! The collaboration between Brooks Brothers and Hartmann luggage quietly debuted last week:

Brooks Brothers

722F_TAN

The official launch is slated for this week, but if shopping now, there is special introductory pricing.

Well dollfaces, it’s time for today’s quiz: what classic brands do you swear by? What new discoveries have you made? Any major disappointments along the way? Do tell, we’re dying to know.

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23 Comments

Filed under Logos, preppy, Preppy clothing & brands, Preppy Fashion, preppy lifestyle, preppy stationery, Sign of the Times

23 responses to “The Business of Preppy, Frette Kinda’ Sorta’ Goes Outlet, Logo Atrocities

  1. OH MY GOSH! I had NO IDEA about Mrs. John L Strong! They have been my FAVORITE for YEARS!!!!! I am VERY sad about this. Thank you for filling us in! GOODNESS!!!!

  2. frette outlet..oh no!!

    Also, you need to sell the kate spade file folders..i can find them anywhere..thet are red and polka dot

  3. Ha, very good post. I will post a pic of a designer/logo item that I feel is way too over the top. Thanks for giving me an idea for my blog tomorrow.
    Brands that are tried and true? Hartman Luggage? Yes, yes and yes! Other brands? Too many to count but I do remember as a child my mother driving out to Troy to go to Somerset and back then it was anchored by Saks & Bonwit Teller. I remember Brooks Brothers being the only store in between the two (I’m sure there were others but that’s all I can remember I was really young then).
    I would like a moment of silence for Jacobsons..We (a mighty shopping force, my mother, sister and I) would hit all of them in a day when I was a teenager. If we had had cell phones back then a conversation would have gone like this. “Where are you going? Jacobsons Where are you going after? Jake’s And after that where are you going? Jake’s again”..lol

  4. LPC

    a) Yes! Hartman. I love my Hartman. I’ve had it for something like 15 years now and I love it. The little bit of leather detailing always cheers me up after a long wait at the luggage carousel.
    b) Brands. Perfect timing. I actually just bought 2 pairs of Levis this weekend. At the Levis store in SF. Fantastic service. And great-fitting classic jeans. Neat. Tidy. Dare I say a little preppy? Now if I could just find the white linen shirts and classic Italian leather sandals my mother wears I’d be ready for the next 2 decades of my life.

  5. I drove by the JCrew Malibu two weekends ago. The people I was with wouldn’t stop. I was sick. So close and yet so far. The location of it is brilliant.

  6. mary anne

    I remember when Abercrombie and Fitch was worth walking into. Anyone remember John Meyer of Norwich or Villager? Pappagallo?

  7. So sad about Mrs JLS- a sad mark of the times.

    Me-thinks that possibly the Anti-Prep drives the LV logo-licious ride?!

    xoox

    kHm

  8. Really? Bruce Springsteen sends a lot of engraved notes?

  9. Vicki

    I swear by Cole Haan, have bought 3 handbags from the website in the past 6 months. The prices are great and the bags never, ever logo-y.

    I like the RL Chaps line at Kohl’s as well, good quality and prices on baby cable knit sweaters and boatneck t’s with 3/4 sleeves. I’m also happy with my Land’s End purchases this Spring, the crinkle patent driving mocs in black, and the U neck modern fit T shirt in a watermelon shade. LE cannot be beat for kids, my 5.5 year old has alot of their clothes and looks stylish AND age appropriate. The shoe quality is first rate for adults and kids alike.

  10. You know how I feel about logos on steroids… that photo of the Rolls made me jump. Literally.

  11. so never multi-tasking again!!

    I still have pieces of Hartmen luggage that belonged to my grandparents.
    Bass Weejuns, Rolex and Aspinal of London!
    Have a smashing night!
    xxxx me

  12. Thanks for dropping by my blog! 🙂

    Hmm Chanel and Cartier!

  13. oh TP I am just LOL at the perfectly horrible Rolls Royce!!!! I belongs on one of those auto makeover shows like Pimp My Ride!

  14. I’m making that Rolls Royce my next car…not.

  15. Princess Freckles

    That’s so sad about Mrs. John L. Strong! There are so many companies going under recently, its very sad.

  16. Hello. Thanks for quoting us ! would be great if you could add us to your blogroll : )

    Thanks !!

  17. Well dollfaces, it’s time for today’s quiz: what classic brands do you swear by? What new discoveries have you made? Any major disappointments along the way? Do tell, we’re dying to know.

    Ooooh – I love the luggage!!

    I still swear by JCrew . . . some of my other tastes have changed over the years as I have less income and more children now 🙂 JCrew and Banana Republic are overflowing in my closet though, and have been for years.

    I agree with the commenter who mentioned Lands’ End – they have become a recent favourite of mine as they have stylish, basic staples at great prices. And my kids wear lots of their clothes too, great quality at great prices.

  18. Ooooh – I love the luggage!!

    I still swear by JCrew . . . some of my other tastes have changed over the years as I have less income and more children now 🙂 JCrew and Banana Republic are overflowing in my closet though, and have been for years.

    I agree with the commenter who mentioned Lands’ End – they have become a recent favourite of mine as they have stylish, basic staples at great prices. And my kids wear lots of their clothes too, great quality at great prices.

  19. That is very, very sad to see about Mrs. John L. Strong. Hadn’t she just recently opened an online shop? Before These Difficult Times had come upon us, I’d been planning my very first order. Sigh.

    Thank you for today’s laugh with that Rolls – as Holly Golightly said, “I must say, the mind reels . . .”

    That Hartmann luggage is lovely, although after this weekend’s viewing of “Rear Window”, I now find myself (again) wanting to track down a vintage Mark Cross bag.

    As far as prep or preppish classics go, I still use my Coach bags from the BL (“Before Logo”) era. I still find good things at J Crew or BR for preppish items, although the quality is hit or miss. I am not as loyal as my forebears were to one brand; I have fond memories of my grandfather making his semi-annual trips to Brooks Brothers & another local shop to restock his repp ties and such.

  20. Oh, I cannot get over the adorableness of that Fendi bicycle. If my boyfriend saw it, I truly believe he would convince himself of it’s practicality. Ha! What an adorable creation. You find the most intriguing things, my dear!

  21. I LOOOOVE the luggage. Possibly more than Samsonite’s Black Label Vintage Tuscan Collection. The Hartmanns look quite a lot like Ghurka though, on second glance. The bike is adorable as well, though I’m not especially fond of the fur sack.

    I am curious as to getting your opinion on something. I love your blog and all the delicious tidbits you post and I would appreciate your preppy opinion on a pair of shoes: http://www1.bloomingdales.com/catalog/product/index.ognc?ID=185606&PseudoCat=se-xx-xx-xx.esn_results. The marc by marc jacobs floral canvas oxfords. I’m torn – hit or miss? preppy or complete mistake? cheers!

  22. We are ever-so-flattered you would ask our opinion, goodness!

    The shoe is simply darling, and the overall design with the cap toe is definitely preppish, although we do make a minor deduction in style points for the open triangle on the shoe’s top. BUT…. note the emphasis on *minor*, as in: the shoe’s overall fabulosity makes it a must in our humble opinion!

    Smiles across the pond to you!

  23. Re: John Meyer of Norwich mentioned above. I have created a Pinterest board archive of some of the designs. My father was John Meyer.
    I would love your comments and recollections of the line. Thanks! Elise Meyer

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