The handwriting seems to be on every wall (if not THE border wall), collapse is now the norm. Washington is always on the verge of decline but look at the other cultural headliners. Hollywood has been in an overall slump for a while, and the Oscars can’t even find a host, let alone any interest in a red-carpet roll-out. Fashion can’t even help Hollywood’s special events since they are lost at their own wheel with designers desperately trying to reboot the business and Instagram doing to the entire Fashion Industry what Napster did to music (even fashion original Tavi Gevinson announced her retirement at 22 from her own popular “Rookie” blog).
Then you have the NFL Super Bowl struggling with its overamped halftime. It seems no one wants that gig either. I say bring back marching bands.
The obvious big meltdown is the stock market and of course the economy — but we expected that after boffo Christmas expenditures. Everyone now feels broke, busted and disgusted.
So, are we all just supposed to “stop, drop and roll” as the sky comes tumbling down? Although my 96-year-old mother corrects me constantly when I use the word “collapse” and insists I use “change” instead and to “adapt … adapt.” She would know as she has seen it all come and go and morph into something else. And she continues to continue.
I just remember the good old days in 2003 when our nation invaded Iraq and all the Iraqis were seen cheering us in the streets with “Democracy, whiskey, sexy!!” Ah … what a cultural description! What a popular t-shirt logo! And now what is THAT exactly?
Where do we go for “hopeful” in this doom and gloom landscape? After all, we all need some diversion — it’s part of living. We can’t just continue to sink into our bottles of Opioids.
Here’s what does look good; pot and pets and beauty products. Not only as investments, but everyday escape activities. Friends of mine are now running cannabis dispensaries and all are minting money. That industry has nowhere to go but up and pot stocks are holding their own, even in the downward spiral.
The pet industry is unbelievable. It is now reaching $100 billion and between Amazon and Chewy.com (I will invest in the latter as soon as it goes public) there is promise! There is even a cannabis product line for dogs and that biz can only go up, up, and away!
It has been reported that an “average” pet owner spends $125 a month on their dog or cat. Really? I also heard $1,000 a month in some cases and was aghast at that figure! Then I added up my own four-year-old poodle Sunshine’s maintenance including grooming, playdates, food, snacks, toys and various vet visits — his annual dental cleaning was $700, mine is much less — four times a year. In New York City, people pay exorbitantly for twice-a-day dog walking and now there is a private dog hiking service — trips to upstate for $150 to snort around the mountains. Not to mention the popularity of pet resorts, therapist and nutritionists. As I said, the pet industry is exploding!
Last November I ventured into luxury Longchamp’s luggage store on Madison Avenue to explore their great lightweight nylon line of “Pliage” totes. They had just issued their exclusive “limited collection” in partnership with Clo’e Floirat (an art critic and cartoonist for The New Yorker).
The collection consists of bags decorated with her colorful and whimsical drawings of packs of dogs walking their owners. These patterns were printed on their keyrings ($125), totes ($300 – $480), scarves ($110), dog collars ($125), and leashes ($215) and even an umbrella ($265). Indulgent? Ridiculous? The line is almost sold out.
Even Kenneth Lane Jewelry is reissuing their dog-blinged scatter pins. And this is just the tip of the pet iceberg. Soon there will be exclusive pet cosmetics (shampoo, conditioner, cologne) and we already have the gourmet snacks and gluten-free bags of food. Now DIRECTV just added a dog channel; you can leave it on all day for your home alone pooch to watch other barking dogs or meditative nap music. Better than a burning yule log or the fish swimming in an aquarium with a spa music soundtrack.
Pet obsession is almost out of control. This holiday I sent out THE most popular page-a-day calendar (there are many with cats, Zen sayings and food) called “365 Dogs.” It is Workman Press’s most popular dog calendar contest with over 6 million copies sold annually for the last ten years.
It is the Playboy Calendar for canines and my dog made the cut! He is “Mr. July 9th.” In lieu of dog shows and an Instagram account, I entered him into the calendar competition. He is now a star appearing on the cover of my air conditioning company’s calendar and is “Mr. September” on my vets’ daybook as well. Face it … I paid both those businesses enough this year to get him into a Justin Bieber/Jonbenet Ramsey celebrity position.
But let’s turn from beasties to beauty. No one wants to look at fashion ads of shoes, handbags, jewelry or hear designers preach with “equality, diversity, and gender balancing” on their $950 t-shirts. I’m sick of clothes and shopping for “a message.” I need a “lift” and a lot of denial. Enter the beauty business in 2019.
As department stores become morgues — Sephora, Ulta and Blue Mercury are now standing room only glitzy showcases. Nothing is crashing in those stores ka-ching-ing cash registers. There isn’t a woman I know of lately that isn’t “springing” on a pricey serum, volumizing shampoo or a set of eyelash extensions. And let’s talk about the lip gloss Star Wars going on between Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty “lip bomb” (with diamond milk?) at $20 and Kylie Jenner’s “lip kit” gloss ($45). Rihanna’s makeup line is now worth $250 million — Kylie’s is now $600 million. Forget about booty and boob enhancement, “bee sting” lip gloss is a quick ‘n easy 2-minute makeover.
Liz Taylor once said as one of her many life tips: “Pour yourself a drink, get a new lipstick and change your attitude.” No Kidding! And Liz never made it to the era of branding — all she had in 1991 was a successful White Diamonds perfume line for a measly $60 million. Today a bottle goes for $20 at Walmart.
So as handbags, shoes, clothes and general department store beauty floors hit the skids — a visit to Ulta (which includes drugstore and high-end cosmetics) and Sephora (a luxury cosmetics superstore with great beauty experts to help you explore anything and everything) is smashing all shopping records. And even giving some consumers a real “experience,” which is what retail is struggling with nowadays.
Perhaps the master of “change-up” and beauty RuPaul should have a few last words on the whole topic. In his new self-improvement “picture” book — Guru — he addresses drag queens; “As drag queens it is our job to mock the hypocrisy and mediocrity and absurdity of society.” And as for change (not collapse) “When the going gets tough, the tough re-invent themselves.” And lastly in answer to Liz Taylor’s makeup “talking points” RuPaul believes “When your eyeliner is on point — your life is on point. My lips are overdrawn to compensate for my lack of giving a shit.”
Now who’s feeling “down and out” — not this happening drag queen!