Sunday, September 23, 2007

Booming Vietnam's nouveaux riches indulge a taste for luxury

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam: In a country whose peasant army once marched on flip-flops cut from old tires, Gucci beach sandals priced at US$365 (€260) can come as a shock.

But the luxury market is booming in Vietnam, where Ho Chi Minh's communist revolution exalted equality and the common man just a generation ago.

As the country begins to embrace private enterprise, its nouveaux riches are snapping up shoes at Gucci, handbags at Louis Vuitton and watches at Cartier, offering proof of how much the country has changed after decades of war.

"I sold a US$4,000 (nearly €3,000) leather jacket recently," said Do Huong Ly, a stylish young saleswoman at the Roberto Cavalli shop in Hanoi. "Our customers want people to know that they are high-class."...read more...