Oh, the tangled web these luxury moguls weave. We all know about Bernard Arnault and Francois-Henri Pinault, but how about those Reimanns? Granted, the name doesn’t rhyme as well with their rivals, but the German billionaires are creeping down the luxury acquisition warpath led by executive Peter Harf.
The New York Times magazine had a bumper package yesterday entitled “Shop China Shop!” Actually, the shopping story turned out to be subordinant to a bigger, Chinese economy story, but I guess it made a better cover. I hoped what was inside could answer a pressing question I’ve had about the lifespan of blingy luxury in emerging markets.
Antoine Arnault, Bernard Arnault’s 33-year-old son from his first marriage, is stepping into the management hot seat. Though it has not been officially announced, insiders have confirmed he is leaving his current job as Communications Director of Louis Vuitton to become managing director of Berluti, the luxury shoe brand that LVMH bought in 1993, in the new year.
It’s been somewhat amusing to watch the reaction to the December American Vogue, wherein the magazine mistakenly reveals, hidden among other exciting things (like how Angelina Jolie feels about Brad Pitt), a notable political incorrectness.
Yesterday marked a sudden surge in spending — not just on stuff, but on companies. According to the investment bankers with their eye on the retail and fashion sector, Christmas itself has come early: J. Crew has been sold for billions to private equity! Gymboree has gone to Bain! Coty has bought Philosophy from the Carlyle Group! (Remember: three=trend.) Action! The engine has restarted! And so on.
So, re my post yesterday, apparently I am not the only one who has taken note of the action in the virtual fashion space. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore, those Tweet-savants, as well as Nina Garcia of Project Runway and Marie Claire magazine fame (and – full disclosure – another old Elle colleague) have all invested in a Series A fundraising round for Fashism.com, a virtual gaming site/app where players post photos of themselves, and other users get to vote on whether or not they should buy the pictured outfit.
It’s starting to seem like practically every week there’s some new digital love story happening with fashion, and hey — you’ll be happy to know this week is no exception! There’s a very good piece this morning on BusinessofFashion.com about the rise of Tumblr as the platform of choice for the fashion world, and the company’s decision to make fashion a central core of their community.
All comments and reactions appreciated.
Last night I went to the Pierre hotel in New York to see a Lanvin loves H&M fashion show. They – by which I mean H&M, since this was clearly their gig to fund, though it had been given a Lanvin make-over — had taken over a jewel-like ballroom in the luxury hotel and erected a catwalk; outside was a red carpet.
The other day a very successful middle market etailer came to see me, to talk about her company’s growth and plans for the future. Aside from adding a magazine editor to pump up the content (this is a major trend in fashion web sites), said etailer is also renaming what they sell: instead of “accessible luxury” they are going to offer “everyday luxury.”