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Germany

How The Pandemic Pushed Up Prices On Some Luxury Goods

Rather than offer discounts, high-end brands like Chanel are asking even more for their products. Silvia Ihring, style editor-at-large for  German daily Die Welt, explains why.

An assistant walking inside empty Chanel in Hong Kong.
An assistant walking inside empty Chanel in Hong Kong.
Silvia Ihring

BERLIN — Now should be the ideal time for bargain hunters. Many clothes shops and online retailers have dropped the prices of designer items by up to 70% in a bid to shift stock that's been clogging up their warehouses throughout the coronavirus pandemic. But a few designer brands are resisting the urge to slash prices, and some are even going so far as to raise them.

Take Chanel as an example. In May, the French fashion house told Reuters that to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it planned to increase the price of selected bags by between 5% and 17%. The news agency also revealed that Louis Vuitton bags were more expensive in May than they had been the previous October. The Neverfull MM Monogram bag, currently sells for around $1,500, up from $1,320 in October.

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Geopolitics

Is Soft Power Dead?

With an activist Supreme Court creating a gap between democratic rhetoric and reality in the U.S., and Russia and China eager to flex military muscle, the full-force return to hard power looks bound for dominance.

U.S. flag and Chinese flag

Dominique Moïsi

-Analysis-

PARIS — Russia's war in Ukraine rages on, tensions are erupting in the South China Sea and now abortion rights are being stripped away in the U.S.: Looking around the world, we have to ask: what is left of the notion of soft power?

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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How can we talk about the power to convince when the power to coerce is increasingly the norm? And when there is such a gap between rhetoric and reality in the U.S. and in Russia and China, hard power almost seems to have become part of soft power?

“We will lead the world not by the example of our power, but by the power of our example,” Joe Biden said the day after his election. But what kind of example was he talking about? That of the Supreme Court’s judges, whose decision promises a terrible future to women and to all those who still wanted to believe in an enlightened and liberal America?

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