I visited Kitson on Robertson this Sunday, since I haven't been there since before their expansion, a couple of years back. I used to love Kitson for their eccentric and original accessories, but this last visit left me very disappointed.
Kitson used to be very original with their buying. There would be great finds hidden in every corner. Now they've changed their buying rules... "Buy a little of everything. Mark it up 300% (unless it is a very cheaply made item, then mark up by 500%). If Paris or (insert celebrity name here) purchases one, stock up like no other and display a picture of Paris wearing the item." Yay, so Kitson has turned into Shop Intuition!
I was a bit worried when www.shopkitson.com launched because they seemed to stock all of the obnoxiously wanna-be celebrity items like the Mrs. Timberlake tank tops or the I love Botox cosmetic bags. But I figured, maybe the website is utilized to dump all of the unwanted items from the store, and the store has all the fresher, cuter stuff. But nope... in the store there were Clooney and Pitt shirts left and right, they were fully stocked on Betty & Veronica (I'm guessing ever since it showed up in US Magazine) and of course the "hot and trendy" Juicy Couture bags everywhere.
But I guess that makes Kitson very business savvy and just not a leader in finding the "hottest and newest trends." Which, sadly, is starting to become the trend in fashion these days. It's not about originality or sharing your artful sense with the world. It's about lowering quality, raising prices and rolling in the dollars. You have Marc Jacobs who is working on a "lower" line that is more accessible to those who cannot afford his Marc by Marc Jacobs line. In other words, GAP and Express are making all the fashion dollars and he wants a piece of the pie. You have Isaac Mizrahi who seemingly introduced the world of couture to the average day American via Target but in actuality cut his quality and raised his profit margins enough to generate billions of dollars for Target annually. (Imagine Mr. Mizrahi's cut?) Then you have Karl Lagerfeld, who is in my mind the most brilliant of them all, fading slowly into the sea of designers as younger and equally-talented artists are emerging into the scene. What does he do? Join with cheap-fashion conglomerate H&M to put together a 30-piece winter wardrobe that every woman can "afford"... hence will buy... hence make more money than he ever has with a single season of Chanel. What's one $50,000 couture dress compared to 10,000 Americans buying a $50 jacket? Exactly.