Time Essay: The Sad Truth About Big Spenders

The face of luxury (a dizzy little thing) seems to pop up at the oddest times.

In our own odd times, for example, there are very few signs of a world in the chips. Yet, on a given street on a given day, Rolls-Royces idle bumper to splendid bumper; the air is soaked in Bal a Versailles; diamonds go like Tic Tacs. From now to Christmas The New Yorker will be heaving with ads for crystal yaks and other lavish doodads in "limited editions," for which one assumes there must be buyers. Saks Fifth...

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