Lucyann Barry, the New York style guru, says people no longer want to be singled out.
Lucyann Barry, the New York style guru, says people no longer want to be singled out.

Hidden wealth - it's the new must-have



NEW YORK // Lucyann Barry, a personal shopper and stylist for the super-rich, helped a client spend US$75,000 (Dh275,000) on clothes in three hours just a few months ago. The same client told her recently: "Now is not the time for excessive consumption." "Stealth wealth" was how Ms Barry described the shift among high net worth individuals towards a more discreet manner of spending. Less money is being spent on super-frivolous items, like yet another $5,000 handbag, and more on understated and utilitarian pieces, she said.

Each day brings fresh data pointing to a deepening US recession, which the rich cannot fail to notice. Last Friday, figures showed more than half a million jobs were shed in January, the deepest fall in 34 years and bringing the unemployment rate to 7.6 per cent. "The downturn is hitting every level of society in New York. Even the super-wealthy will have a neighbour who lost his job at Lehman Brothers and bring the troubles close to home," said Ms Barry, referring to the investment bank whose collapse last September signalled the start of severe financial turmoil.

"This country is ready for something new. The election of President Barack Obama indicated a move towards inclusiveness, not exclusivity. People don't want to be singled out, which means a new definition of status and brands," she said. George W Bush, the former president, was much derided when he urged US residents to "go shopping" as an answer to terrorism as well as economic decline. Now, it seems people are not just shunning conspicuous consumption but feel shame when they do enjoy themselves.

Investment bankers' slide in society from masters of the universe to masters of the dole queue has been accompanied by fear of the politics of envy and class war in some quarters. "I'd almost rather say I'm a pornographer," a retired Wall Street executive told The New York Times. "At least that's a business that people understand." Mr Obama's recent move to limit executive pay to $500,000 at banks that take government bailout money was received well by most Americans at a time when T-shirts emblazoned with "I hate investment bankers" are on sale.

"Anecdotally, we've noticed that this general sense of shame has been descending upon New York's society for some time now," said last week's New York Observer, which chronicles fashionable movers and shakers. "Companies and sponsors are afraid to host parties in fear of seeming insensitive. Socialites and celebrities are similarly hesitant to attend them. And for those still going out, seeming as if you might actually be having fun is absolutely, positively unacceptable."

The newspaper also reported that the mega-rich were using "hushed listings" to quietly signal if their multimillion-dollar Manhattan apartments were for sale, instead of publicly advertising as they used to. A venture capitalist, a widowed philanthropist, a pharmaceuticals mogul and a lingerie billionaire were those said to be selling real estate very quietly. "Some of the prices are so egregious and greedy," a real estate broker told the newspaper. "Why would you put the thing on, have friends speculate on why you would or wouldn't be selling? You do it quietly, and if someone gives you the right number, then great."

The coping strategies of the rich during difficult times remain in a different stratosphere compared to those less wealthy. For example, CoGoJets, a plane chartering company, says on its website that clients can save 50 per cent to 90 per cent if they use its "jetpooling" service and share a trip. A recent steep decline in overall consumption has left some analysts worrying about the "paradox of thrift" because if nothing takes the place of that spending, the recession could get worse. Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, described "how individual virtue can be public vice, how attempts by consumers to do the right thing by saving more can leave everyone worse off."

Mr Obama's stimulus package of about $780 billion in spending on public works to kick-start the economy is the focus of fierce ideological battles in Congress between tax-cutting Republicans and liberal-spending Democrats. Away from politics, retailers were preparing for more belt-tightening akin to a "financial hangover". The market for high-end luxury goods, in particular, was likely to fall into recession this year, according to the consulting firm Bain & Co.

On the brighter side, bargains abound and few believe the great American pastime of shopping will fade away but rather the new "recessionistas" will develop a heightened consciousness for when they do buy. Ms Barry has seen an increase in the number of clients who consign their barely worn designer clothes, shoes and handbags for sale through her appointment-only showroom, and more of them are donating the proceeds to charity.

Her international clientele include women in the Middle East who have bought her vintage Chanel jewellery and clothing. The average price of a new Chanel jacket is $6,000 but only costs a quarter of that at Ms Barry's boutique. "We used to have excessive spending when there was a lot of money around and the focus was on labels and status. It's good to have a correction," said Ms Barry, who used to provide trends and brands analysis for companies. "But there's this whole other group of women who have emerged who are buying consignment in order to treat themselves."

sdevi@thenational.ae

Story behind the UAE flag

The UAE flag was first unveiled on December 2, 1971, the day the UAE was formed. 

It was designed by Abdullah Mohammed Al Maainah, 19, an Emirati from Abu Dhabi. 

Mr Al Maainah said in an interview with The National in 2011 he chose the colours for local reasons. 

The black represents the oil riches that transformed the UAE, green stands for fertility and the red and white colours were drawn from those found in existing emirate flags.

Our legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants

MATCH INFO

Asian Champions League, last 16, first leg:

Al Jazira 3 Persepolis 2

Second leg:

Monday, Azizi Stadium, Tehran. Kick off 7pm

Fitness problems in men's tennis

Andy Murray - hip

Novak Djokovic - elbow

Roger Federer - back

Stan Wawrinka - knee

Kei Nishikori - wrist

Marin Cilic - adductor

$1,000 award for 1,000 days on madrasa portal

Daily cash awards of $1,000 dollars will sweeten the Madrasa e-learning project by tempting more pupils to an education portal to deepen their understanding of math and sciences.

School children are required to watch an educational video each day and answer a question related to it. They then enter into a raffle draw for the $1,000 prize.

“We are targeting everyone who wants to learn. This will be $1,000 for 1,000 days so there will be a winner every day for 1,000 days,” said Sara Al Nuaimi, project manager of the Madrasa e-learning platform that was launched on Tuesday by the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to reach Arab pupils from kindergarten to grade 12 with educational videos.  

“The objective of the Madrasa is to become the number one reference for all Arab students in the world. The 5,000 videos we have online is just the beginning, we have big ambitions. Today in the Arab world there are 50 million students. We want to reach everyone who is willing to learn.”

BACK TO ALEXANDRIA

Director: Tamer Ruggli

Starring: Nadine Labaki, Fanny Ardant

Rating: 3.5/5

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg

Tottenham 0-1 Ajax, Tuesday

Second leg

Ajax v Tottenham, Wednesday, May 8, 11pm

Game is on BeIN Sports

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Places to go for free coffee
  • Cherish Cafe Dubai, Dubai Investment Park, are giving away free coffees all day. 
  • La Terrace, Four Points by Sheraton Bur Dubai, are serving their first 50 guests one coffee and four bite-sized cakes
  • Wild & The Moon will be giving away a free espresso with every purchase on International Coffee Day
  • Orange Wheels welcome parents are to sit, relax and enjoy goodies at ‘Café O’ along with a free coffee
ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

2017 RESULTS: FRENCH VOTERS IN UK

First round
Emmanuel Macron: 51.1%
Francois Fillon: 24.2%
Jean-Luc Melenchon: 11.8%
Benoit Hamon: 7.0%
Marine Le Pen: 2.9%

Second round
Emmanuel Macron: 95.1%
Marine Le Pen: 4.9%

Types of fraud

Phishing: Fraudsters send an unsolicited email that appears to be from a financial institution or online retailer. The hoax email requests that you provide sensitive information, often by clicking on to a link leading to a fake website.

Smishing: The SMS equivalent of phishing. Fraudsters falsify the telephone number through “text spoofing,” so that it appears to be a genuine text from the bank.

Vishing: The telephone equivalent of phishing and smishing. Fraudsters may pose as bank staff, police or government officials. They may persuade the consumer to transfer money or divulge personal information.

SIM swap: Fraudsters duplicate the SIM of your mobile number without your knowledge or authorisation, allowing them to conduct financial transactions with your bank.

Identity theft: Someone illegally obtains your confidential information, through various ways, such as theft of your wallet, bank and utility bill statements, computer intrusion and social networks.

Prize scams: Fraudsters claiming to be authorised representatives from well-known organisations (such as Etisalat, du, Dubai Shopping Festival, Expo2020, Lulu Hypermarket etc) contact victims to tell them they have won a cash prize and request them to share confidential banking details to transfer the prize money.

* Nada El Sawy

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

Australia squads

ODI: Tim Paine (capt), Aaron Finch (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Shaun Marsh, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye.

T20: Aaron Finch (capt), Alex Carey (vice-capt), Ashton Agar, Travis Head, Nic Maddinson, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, D’Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Jack Wildermuth.

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

How to report a beggar

Abu Dhabi – Call 999 or 8002626 (Aman Service)

Dubai – Call 800243

Sharjah – Call 065632222

Ras Al Khaimah - Call 072053372

Ajman – Call 067401616

Umm Al Quwain – Call 999

Fujairah - Call 092051100 or 092224411

Profile of MoneyFellows

Founder: Ahmed Wadi

Launched: 2016

Employees: 76

Financing stage: Series A ($4 million)

Investors: Partech, Sawari Ventures, 500 Startups, Dubai Angel Investors, Phoenician Fund

England's all-time record goalscorers:
Wayne Rooney 53
Bobby Charlton 49
Gary Lineker 48
Jimmy Greaves 44
Michael Owen 40
Tom Finney 30
Nat Lofthouse 30
Alan Shearer 30
Viv Woodward 29
Frank Lampard 29


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