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London: Words of Wisdom from Mrs. B

Feb 02 2009

MrsBurstein06B MrsBurstein06B MrsBurstein06B 

It's Monday, we're in the midst of a recession and everywhere you turn, the economic news is grim. If you're like me, your brain is having to work overtime to filter out all the doom and gloom so that you can actually get out of bed in the morning and get on with it. Perhaps it's my rebellious streak kicking in but I for one refuse to succumb to this constant stream of negativity spewing from every media outlet in existence. This is why I seized upon this uplifting interview with Joan Burstein, owner of Browns, one of London's most influential multi-brand boutiques.

Indeed, Paris has Maria Luisa Pomaillou, Milan has Carla Sozzani and London has Joan Burstein aka "Mrs. B". She is credited with, among other things, discovering John Galliano and Hussein Chalayan as well as introducing a number of influential American brands to the British public. She's been in fashion retail business for over 40 years and has known both success and failure. She's just opened a satellite boutique dedicated exclusively to shoes (be still my heart) and has an interesting perspective on the current economic mess:

On the wisdom of opening a luxury shoe boutique during a recession:

"I'm doing it and it's going to be fabulous."

On whether women will continue to splurge on expensive designer shoes:

"Luxury shoes will find their level. And anyway, I know I would pay anything for a shoe that is comfortable and looks good, and I suspect a lot of women are like me. Feet don't have fat days or bad hair days, which is part of the reason women are so obsessed with them."

On the importance of remaining positive despite the downturn:

"It's important to be positive when times are hard, but to those who are facing having to start again now I would say this: to have got where you did, you must have had talent, so use it again – and be humble, accept advice and work hard. I worked very hard, and now, I think, it's important to be doing my bit for British businesses because this is our economy and we're stuck with it."

I encourage you to read the entire interview and I dare you not to feel inspired by her no-nonsense take on things. Brava Mrs. B!


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Welcome to The Luxe Chronicles.

The Luxe Chronicles is a collection of interviews, profiles and musings on various aspects of the luxury industry and occasionally, a rant on our celebrity obsessed culture and the dumbing down of our collective sense of style and esthetic.

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