What? Luxury Edition? Are they Kidding?

My wife came in the other day with the recently arrived TIME magazine luxury edition. I agreed with her sentiment, which was basically: “What, are they crazy?” It’s hardly a time for talk about luxury.

Technically, I think it was the Style & Design special issue, which had a luxury theme. It’s not the regular weekly TIME magazine. Still …

The Sunday New York Times noticed the same thing, with a piece by Stephanie Clifford titled Celebrating Luxury in the Time of Melancholia:

Daniel Kile, a spokesman for TIME, said the magazine’s editors didn’t realize how bad the economy would get when they were planning the issue. “Most of the issue was closed in early October, before the severe economic downturn,” Mr. Kile wrote in an e-mail message.

Before the issue closed, the staff hastily added a few articles addressing the climate, including one about luxury shoppers who were indulging by buying virtual products at the site Second Life. (That is no cheap habit, though: a woman featured in the article had spent nearly $10,000 in the last two years buying virtual luxury gear for her virtual luxury self.)

Many luxury-magazine editors and publishers have been arguing that luxury spending will continue, but in the last few months, ad pages have started to plummet. The ad pages for this issue were flat from the issue a year earlier, Mr. Kile said.

No increase in ads? Really?

Really, by early October we’d already had the bailout and the stock market crash, housing prices had been going down for nearly a year, and more than a million jobs lost since January 1.

They’re running TIME magazine … aren’t they supposed to realize?


  • Jen says:

    Living in the Bay Area such as yourself, it doesn't feel like the downturn has really hit this area yet. If you go to shopping areas such as Santana Row, which has rows of fancy restaurants and stores, you'll notice you're still hard pressed to find parking and the stores are full.

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