Flaunting wealth is definitely out these days - but that doesn't mean the rich have stopped spending. The wife of former Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld, the guy some consider responsible for bringing down the Wall Street firm - and nearly taking down the entire financial world in the process - will routinely shell out five or 10 grand each time she shops at the Hermès boutique in NY. But as reported by The Daily Beast, she asks for plain white shopping bags instead of the regular – and quite identifiable – Hermès bags.
At Hermès and a handful of other exclusive retailers, “secret shopping” has becoming the winter season’s newest trend. Anyone who can still afford, say, the three cashmere throws at $2,225 each that Mrs. Fuld bought when she stopped by the store that day isn’t likely to advertise it. Instead, the city’s most extravagant shoppers are ferrying their purchases home in unmarked bags; delegating delivery to assistants; or manipulating credit card bills to disguise their spending from outsiders—and their spouses.
[Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a market research company for purveyors of luxury goods and services], has heard of several retailers offering plain packaging, or shipping in unmarked boxes, including Net-A-Porter, the online designer boutique that traffics in labels such as Chloé, Missoni, and Jimmy Choo. (The company didn’t return a call to confirm.) A quick trip to Tiffany confirmed that the Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan has white bags available too, although a salesperson there said the store has offered them, as an alternative to the classic blue bags, for at least seven years.