Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, Dior take America. Risks loom.

Tech stocks such as Facebook have also led a startling downturn of the Nasdaq, skirting into bear-market territory. Cryptocurrencies are suffering their own crash, which has led to questions about another technology that has had fashion brands drooling: the potential value of NFTs.

So, the US isn’t a bedrock of sure economic growth, even if publicly traded luxury brands must gravitate to wherever in the world promises the best returns in their relentless aim for increasing quarterly returns.

There’s another, smaller risk that European luxury brands should consider when diving headfirst into foreign territories. The wonder of savoir faire is that it is anchored in the extraordinary skills and knowledge contained within those brands and their employees at home, nurtured over decades or centuries. Transported abroad, brands may fail to grasp the nuances of their target culture and place. We saw that in the initial forays into China, when luxury brands initially went overboard producing products that catered to stereotypes — handbags in shades of deep red and jackets embroidered with dragons.

Balenciaga Resort 2023 and Louis Vuitton Resort 2023.

Photo: Vogue RunwayEmily Malan

This month, Dior’s show notes in Venice, California, were chockablock with off-note references to “Tinsel Town” (that’s Hollywood, not surf-ville Venice), and “one Fresh Prince down the road in Bel-Air”, a wince -inducing nod to an American television show reboot starring the actor Will Smith, whose punch thrown at comedian Chris Rock on this year’s Oscars stage has left him and Fresh Prince, for the time being, in ignominy. Louis Vuitton had trouble locating its own stunningly beautiful cruise show. The Parisian brand described the location as San Diego, but was actually in nearby La Jolla, a town that is far more upper-crust than a city known for its Sea World tourists.

For Beccari, exploring and taking risks in new territory is now the job of luxury brands and their leaders, who must grow their revenues and consumer constituencies. “My job, the job of Kim, the job of Maria Grazia, is an encounter between history and modernity,” he says. “That’s what our job is — to get surprising moments and to tease it to the streets.”

Comments, questions or feedback? Email us at feedback@voguebusiness.com.

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