Bonfire of the Bear-Stearns vanities

It's time to trim the fat on Wall Street. No more fancy curtains for "the wife"

By Andrew Leonard
Published March 27, 2008 9:48PM (EDT)

Class warfare, anyone?

It's a gift that keeps on giving -- the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune suffered by the obscenely rich when they are on the wrong side of a financial markets hiccup. I just wonder how Reuters reporters Kristina Cooke and Chelsea Emery were able to restrain their schadenfreudic giggles when they obtained the following quotes from a luxury interior decorator in New York. (Thanks to The Housing Bubble Blog for the tip.)

"We only had about $50,000 worth of final touches," to go, "and the wife called me last week and said stop," said an interior designer, Darren Henault, whose work has been featured in magazines like Vanity Fair and Elle Decor.

"She said that they're not poor, and are never going to be poor," Henault said, "but their capacity for discretionary income for things like window valances just went out the window."

The woman in question is married to an executive of Bear-Stearns, so we can appreciate her angst, although comments about things going "out the window" should be considered in highly bad taste on Wall Street in the spring of 2008.

And yes, How the World Works is low-class enough that I had to go a-googling to find out what the heck a window valance is. Thankfully, the page for interior decorating has a glossary specifically for window covering terminology, so now I know that a window valance is "a window treatment that covers the top of the window and the drapery hardware. A valance is made of matching or contrasting fabric, often with a casing at the top, and gathered onto a curtain rod."

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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