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Decoding the Top Ten Collections list

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RECOGNIZE, RESPECT Prada

As a rule there aren’t many surprises in who appears on Vogue‘s much jockeyed-for Top Ten Collections list. As it typically goes, Prada makes the list and Prada buys ads. But this year, Prada didn’t make the list. Not one Prada property (neither Miu Miu nor Jill Sander) was acknowledged, leaving a fashion watcher feeling disoriented, lost, scared, and wondering just what the hell all of those glossy ad dollars Prada spent went to pay for. In the fashion powerhouse’s stead, star designer Alexander McQueen and the slightly overhyped helmet-hawking Balenciaga—two houses with paper-thin ad budgets—took the first two slots.

Money, if nothing else, rules the Top Ten. So what gives? The Gucci Group, that’s what, the parent of McQueen and Balenciaga that’s using its ad-buying power and influence to establish the new names it hopes will turn profits by 2007 and rescue Gucci from a bleak future in handbag hell. It’s working. The two designers any Anna-loving Vogue reader must adore might not yet be cash cows, but they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to do while Gucci Group pays their allowences—garnering credit after credit on mag covers.

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