Monthly Archives: December 2010

LVMH just announced that they had upped their stake in Hermes, picking up enough additional shares to cross the 20 per cent threshold. In other words, all that lyrical public posturing by the Hermes family members asking Bernard Arnault to leave them alone in their beautiful garden achieved exactly … nothing. My guess is it actually inflamed Mr Arnault’s famously competitive instincts. (Hate to say I told you so, but….)

LVMH’s official position remains the same: they want to support a French national treasure, no plans to take over, yadda yadda yadda — just, well, the opportunity was there (and, as someone said to me earlier, “20 per cent sounds so much better than 17 per cent”). Read more

Luxury leaves 2010 on a high note. Most analysts see good things for 2011 – the folks at HSBC, noting the positive performance of watches and jewellery last month, even say: “It is hard to find industries with better fundamental prospects than luxury for 2011.”

Indeed, post-end-of-year auction on December 14, Christie’s reports they had “a record-breaking year for fine and rare watches” with an estimated “$91.2m in total sales – the highest annual total ever achieved for watches.” Meanwhile, Tom Murry, ceo of Calvin Klein, told me they were having a very good Christmas season, and plan to open double-digit stores next year, and Tamara Mellon, chief creative officer of Jimmy Choo, has world domination in mind, and plans to expand into ready-to-wear, watches, and jewellery, after launching mens’ shoes. Read more

A pretty provocative paper comes from a group of INSEAD professors, albeit with a less-than-pretty title: PERFORMANCE IMPLICATIONS OF OUTWARD PERSONNEL MOBILITY IN CREATIVE INDUSTRIES. It looks at the question of whether the talent drain in fashion houses – or the tendency of designers to occasionally jump ship – is actually, as has been posited in the past, a bad thing, and concludes….wait for it…not necessarily.  Read more

Just in time for the new year, Boston Consulting Group has come up with a new definition of the luxury industry. It’s mega.

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It’s that time of year when everyone looks back, assesses, makes their naughty and nice lists, and, in this world (ie, the world of this blog) generally makes best and worst dressed lists, which as far as I can tell, are just handy excuses to re-print as many pictures as possible of Gwyneth Paltrow. So I was quite pleased to discover the CBS business network (bnet) had instead come up with the 10 worst fashion business mistakes of 2010. Read more

Sometimes weather has an unpredictable effect on companies. Earlier this week, Deckers, the US-based owner of Ugg Australia, manufacturer of the Ugg boot – those smooshy sheepskin things that became a giant trend (sales are about $800 million according to Accessories magazine) – launched a lawsuit in California against Emu Australia, makers of smooshy sheepskin boots, alleging trademark infringement.

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It seems that, just as the poltical pundits have become disillusioned with Barack Obama, the style set is over Michelle Obama.

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Harvey Weinstein is accessorising his production slate.

The Project Runway kingpin realised before everyone that fashion was both visual enough and competitive enough to make great reality employment TV. Now, according to Nikki Finke’s Deadline,  he has created a spin-off series along the lines of Project Handbag (and shoes, and jewellery, and… hats?) that will feature accessory designers, and has sold it to Lifetime.

Harvey Weinstein watches Heidi Klum at the Project Runway Finalists Fashion Show in 2008

Harvey Weinstein watches Heidi Klum at the Project Runway Finalists Fashion Show in 2008 — Getty Images

I can’t quite decide if what is officially, and super-creatively, titled Project Runway: Accessories, will work.

Certainly, no one can argue with the success of the parent show.

On the upside, accessories are famously easier to sell than ready-to-wear: they’re priced more accessibly; independent of sizing and thus simpler to manufacture and more broadly appealing; and widely touted, these days, as recession-friendly, the way to change an outfit without breaking your budget by buying, say, a whole new coat. Accessories are having a moment, and TV might as well exploit that. Read more

ust in time for the Kate Middleton/Prince William royal nuptials, Matthew Williamson has announced he is following Alberta Ferretti and Oscar de la Renta into the lucrative brand extension that is wedding dresses, unveiling his first full collection next May. Coincidence? Read more

Today Donna Karan showed her first full “Casual Pre-fall” line: a bunch of “everyday” luxury items like drapey t-shirt dresses, washed leather (known in Karan-speak as “antiqued”) and crepe trousers.  Read more

For anyone interested in the progress of American IP law, I highly recommend the fashionapparellawblog, run by US law firm Sheppard Mullin, who specialise in IP rights and have become one of the luxury industry’s go-to groups of attorneys in this highly fuzzy area. Read more

The 2010 British Fashion Awards just took place, and guess who won? Well, Burberry, for Digital Innovation; Mulberry, for Designer Brand; and — drumroll please — for Designer of the Year: Phoebe Philo for Celine. Oh, and Alexander McQueen, with that Lifetime Achievement thing. In other words, a large chunk of the major international brands that can be linked to the UK (and that advertise globally).  Read more

Well, they said it was coming. You know those teasers Coty CEO Bernd Beetz kept dropping last week about plans for a purchasing trifecta before year end? He came through, and yesterday announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Tjoy, the Chinese skincare company, thus completing the third leg of a Philosophy-OPI trinity. Read more

At least that seems a natural assumption given the collection he showed today — and the descriptions of the clothes involved. Consider:”Pink lame and tulle embroidered dress, dyed slate stripe fox coat”

“Gold foil printed merino wool cable knit sweater, gold lame pleated pant” Read more

The canonization of Lee Alexander McQueen continues apace. Tomorrow is the actual British Fashion Awards, aka the Oscars of the UK fashion industry, but perhaps to get the buzz going the BFC has announced they are bestowing a gong for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion design on Alexander McQueen.  Read more

Diego Della Valle, chairman of the Tods Group, holder of 19.05% of Saks Fifth Avenue, owner of Fiorentino FC, and BFF of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, possible Berlusconi rival, is stepping up his efforts to become the saviour of the Made in Italy brand, broadly defined. Defined, in fact, to include any cultural institution that is, or has been, Made in Italy Read more

Tell me this: if you were a filmmaker casting, say, a James Bond film, and there was a role for a “shadowy whistle-blower” whom governments think is terribly dangerous but who is smooth enough to talk (and slip) his way out of almost any jam, who is a sort of popular hero just elegant enough to be threatening, would he or would he not ressemble Julian Assange?

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Clothes issues can make common cause for us all. How else to interpret The Economist’s sudden interest in (and defense of) the Scottish Fair Isle sweater? The mag has taken up the cause of the Shetland knitters, whose signature snowflake designs have been co-opted — horrors! — by the high fashion industry without proper accreditation.  Read more