The issue of who will remain wealthy over the next two years, and how they might spend their disposable cash, was very much on the minds of the panelists, including top marketers with experience at some of the most storied names in luxury items and apparel -- from Gucci and Prada to Tom Ford and L'Or?al.

The panelists agreed that in a recession in which even upscale consumers may find themselves strapped for disposable cash, it is a bad strategy to chase customers too far down the economic ladder. "We don't want to see huge price cuts that will create a lower-priced brand," said Brad Farrell, skincare brand manager for L'Or?al Paris. "That's because you don't want to tarnish your brand. When this is all said and done, you still have your brand reputation to uphold."

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