Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My two cents' worth on the one percent.

          A fashion marketing student of mine wanted to create a store for women to buy their Cotillion attire.

         He explained that the debutante season is really big in the South, and he wanted young women to come to him before they came out (as they say).

         The debutante season is a series of teas, parties, and dances where upper crust families formally announce the availability of their daughters. A Cotillion is the name given to the big party. It's actually the name of a dance, like the quadrille, where partners constantly change.

          No wonder the Great Gatsby had so many beautiful shirts. Even though he was from Long Island, you never know when someone will be coming out. One thing about the very rich, they do live in a style I'd like to become accustomed to.

          In my experience, when advertising people want to address the top tier, their work suddenly becomes more stilted and phony. They purse their lips, figuratively order a cup of Earl Gray and a scone, and lift their pinkies to pour.

         Their writing becomes stifled and sounds like a 1956 Cadillac ad. Words like "bejeweled" and "enchanted" pop up. Women in their ads become pale, men become old chaps, and cocker spaniels morph into toy Pekingese. 

          When I lived in Chicago, the people next door in my high rise had a daughter who was going through the debutante thing. She had to go for fittings and rehearsals, when all she wanted to do was walk her Manchester terrier. 

           Her parents were regular people.They had to dig their car out of the snow like everyone else, and were upset when someone tipped over their daughter's bike in the bicycle room. But they got into the social register, and that's what mattered. That became their life.

           I learned something I've carried with me my entire career, as I worked on ads for expensive cars and exclusive clubs, million dollar yachts, and hotels and resorts that charge an arm and a leg. This is it:

           There's no real difference between the rich and the poor. It's just better to be rich.


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