An aristocrat who has fallen on hard times is on the verge of making a fortune by writing a guide to teach Germans how to live in style on a shoestring.
Count Alexander Graf von Schönburg-Glachau has cashed in on the growing fear that the good times are over. High unemployment and growing numbers of lay-offs have led to an era in which scrimping and saving have become national pastimes.
In his book, The Art of Stylish Poverty, Count von Schönburg-Glachau, 35, unveils the secrets of leading a quality life on very little money, based on his own experiences. He calls such a lifestyle the knack of "nouveau pauvres chic".
Everyone in Germany is going to get poorer, says the count, whose family's fortune was built on mining in Saxony, but who now rents "modest" flats in Berlin and Potsdam.
"In my family, being poor is something of a tradition - 500 years ago we were very rich, but it's been downhill since then. But whilst we never had much money, we learned to compensate for what we didn't have with taste."
This included his father's choice of a rusty Lada as the family car, and his mother's knack of covering Ikea furniture with fancy cushions and drapes.
He turns for copious tips to his sisters, Fürstin Gloria von Thurn und Taxis and the London-based Maya von Schönburg, both prominent society figures who are estimated to be worth more than £1 billion between them.
"[My sister Gloria says] it's uncool to possess an original, rather copies of handbags and watches show that you're better travelled … because you can only get them in Hong Kong and Bangkok… She says originals are for Russian oligarchs."
He also recommends the type of shopping that sister Maya enjoys in London - "shopping interruptus" - or going through the entire process of choosing clothes and trying them on, before abandoning them at the tills.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
The Art of Stylish Poverty...
From the Telegraph: