Monthly Archives: October 2010

Recently my friend Jamie Linville, whose screenplay for Ernest Hemingway’s “The Garden of Eden” has been made into a movie, forwarded the following exchange, which I thought was worth sharing for its insider view on dressing in Lalaland. He had asked screenwriter friends Michael Walsh (“As Time Goes By”, “All the Saints”) and Caleb Carr (“The Alienist”, “The Angel of Darkness”) for tips on what to wear to a Studio meeting. Read more

Today Sir John Sawers made the first public speech of a serving MI6 head in the section’s 100 year old history — wearing government apparachik disguise. I mean, how many more times do we have to see a politico showing what a team player they are by sporting a dark blue suit, white shirt and blue tie?  Read more

LVMH’s recent filing with the French regulatory authorities re its purchase of shares in Hermes over the weekend was notable as much for that fact that the Giant Globe-Straddling Luxury Group admitted they may, in fact, want to buy another chunk of Hermes, as for their disclosure that they had finessed their first purchase through equity swaps. Read more

For once, the trademark violation shoe is on the other foot when it comes to luxury. The Hells Angels are mad at Alexander McQueen (the brand, not the man) and they aren’t going to take it anymore. Or, to be more specific, they are taking it to court. Read more

The Economist says bling is back. I’m not so sure. Their reasoning seems to be based on two observations, one having to do with shopping bags, the other with sales. It seems to me there are some pretty big conceptual leaps going on here.

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Today I had a very nice conference call with Andrew Rosen, President of Link Theory Holding, the New York-based Group that is quietly positioning itself at the contemporary market’s answer to LVMH, and Olivier Theyskens, erstwhile long-haired high-fashion darling, because the duo was announcing a new partnership. Mr Theyskens is going to become Artistic Director of the brand Theory. This is a foray into unknown territory for both, as Theory has never had a “face” or presiding designer before, and Theyskens – well, let’s just say in the past he has occupied a very luxurious niche.

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Apparently owners of fashion and luxury stocks are as susceptible to trends as owners of fashion and luxury products. Post-LVMH’s purchase of a stake in Hermes, Women’s Wear Daily notes stocks in LVMH and Hermes were up 5% and 8% respectively on the Paris Bourse; PPR was up 1.5%.  Read more

Be still the beating hearts of luxury analysts everywhere. The rumours turned out to be true, the predictions were fulfilled, and today LVMH announced they had bought 15,016,000 shares of Hermès International, the jewel in the French luxury crown — or 14.2% of the share capital of the company. With intentions to increase their stake. Read more

Is record-breaking teen idol/country-rock crossover star Taylor Swift is on the verge of changing her style. I have various reasons for thinking this might be true, all explained in the column; what do you think? Read more

Should fashion be a family affair? At the beginning, it often has to be — where is a young designer going to find an executive who believes unreservedly in his or her talent, is happy to do the backroom work so they can have their creative freedom, and will toil away at all hours for little or no money, other than at their breakfast table, or childhood home?  Read more

We all know children are the future, but at least two brands in Gucci Group apparently think they will play a significant role in the conglomerate’s financial future too. Today Gucci announced they will launch kids’ collections in November, while earlier Stella McCartney spilled the same news. Stella, of course, already had two very successful test runs with kids’ collections for Gap, so her decision to take the profits in-house isn’t really a surprise. Gucci, on the other hand, is entering the market with a splash — and a couple of big assumptions about consumer behaviour that may, or may not, be true.

Jennifer Lopez for Gucci -- copyright Gucci

Jennifer Lopez for Gucci — copyright Gucci

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When announcing severe spending cuts, it helps to present a united front – literally. To look, if not exactly the same, very much on the same sartorial page. Certainly, this seemed the Tory modus operandi this morning as Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander set off for Parliament to present their plan for reducing the British deficit in almost-matching dark blue single-breasted suits, white shirts, and blue ties. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

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PPR is putting luxury on hold and charging forward into sportswear and sustainability. Yesterday, the French conglomerate displayed its trademark dispassionate ability to end (or suspend) industrial dalliances it feels may become less than productive by announcing the creation of – and concentration on — a new “sport and lifestyle” division run by Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz, who has also been promoted to Executive Chairman of Puma. Still, I’m more struck by the lead the group buried: the fact Mr Zeitz is becoming not only Puma’s Executive Chairman, but also PPR’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

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Tonight, Tamara Mellon is being honoured by the Elton John Foundation at their 9th annual “Enduring Vision” benefit, for having raised $3.5 million for the charity. It’s a big deal. Still, as much as I admire Ms Mellon’s accomplishment, as I mull over her appearance this evening and consider the piece in today’s FT about the fact women have made surprisingly few incursions into contemporary boardrooms, I can’t help thinking that in many ways, her real pioneering achievement has to do less with monies raised (where she’s successful, but not singular) and more to do with, well, appearance. Specifically, challenging accepted ideas of how a female member of the c-suite needs to appear.  Read more

Over the weekend the Italian newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore reported that, two years after it began, the tax authorities’ probe into Dolce & Gabbana’s business has been closed, and the upshot is…silence from the prosecutors. Has the government decided they were wrong? Or is something more dramatic coming? The fashion world is on the edge of its seat!

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Mayor Bloomberg’s love affair with fashion (and what it can bring to the local economy) continues apace. After cutting the ribbon on the Armani flagship store on Fifth Avenue, celebrating Burberry’s new store on Madison, and opening New York Fashion Week’s new home at Lincoln Centre, the Mayor has turned his affection to Ralph Lauren, who was awarded the key to New York City last night during a celebratory cocktail at the new RL womens’ flagship on Madison Avenue.

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It was a real-life fairy tale to see the rescued Chilean miners rise from the ground yesterday — about as far from a manufactured fashion moment as you could get, you’d think. Yet fashion was a part of it.  Read more

A few years ago during a Mulberry presentation I was talking to chief executive Godfrey Davis, when he asked me what I thought of the brand. I said I thought they should be Coach, the American handbag company having huge success by combining fashion with middle-market pricing – that I thought there was big opportunity in that space. Apparently, so does Coach. Read more

It never rains but it pours (and in Brooklyn, where I live, it just hailed). After the Gap on-line logo hoo-ha at the end of last week comes a report from the Stern business school at New York University and the think tank L2 entitled “Digital IQ Index: Luxury,” looking at how 72 luxury brands are handling themselves on-line, on their websites, social media, digital marketing and mobile apps. Guess what? They’re stuck in the mud!

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Today, Alexander McQueen announced it was taking control of its second line, McQ, after the current spring/summer 2011 collection. For the last five years since its launch, McQ has been produced under license by an Italian firm, SINV SpA. Its current creative director, Pina Ferlisi, will continue in that role, under the guidance of Sarah Burton, current creative director of the main line. This is interesting, for a few reasons.

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