Monthly Archives: March 2011

It never rains but it pours: less than a month after John Galliano’s public implosion and firing from Dior, LVMH (which is actually owned by Dior) faces another hoo-ha, as the ex-CFO/COO of Marc Jacobs International, Patrice Lataillade, sues both the Group (which owns a chunk of MJ, just as Dior owned a majority of John Galliano’s eponymous company), MJI, and MJI president Robert Duffy in Manhattan Supreme Court for sexual discrimination.

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Just back from a week out of time on the beach in the Dominican Republic to news both disturbing and provoking – and no, I’m not talking about Libya, or Silvio Berlusconi. I’m talking about Sylvester Stallone’s new clothing line.

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So how did the “all-action” Budget announcement go? Opinion might seem divided over an increase in the bank levy, say, but in one area at least, chancellor George Osborne made a good choice: presentation. It’s never easy when you have to stand up in front of a nation and tell it that things are not, actually, changing much, and in spite of all the great investment you have planned, life is still going to be pretty tight and your growth forecast smaller then anticipated. It’s never easy to figure out how to dress to deliver pain. But overall, in his barely-blue shirt, dark suit and optimistically royal-purple neckwear, he did all right.

Finally, an answer to the Biggest Question In Fashion. No not who’s taking over at Dior, but what Carine Roitfeld will do after French Vogue. Since she left her position of editor last year and was succeeded by Emmanuelle Alt, there have been rumours flying about her next move, from working with Tom Ford to heading up a French edition of Harpers Bazaar.  Read more

There’s one 21st century anxiety that informs the way most women dress – from chief executives to red carpet starlets – and that’s a horror of overdoing it. We’ll be sure to find out whether other guests really will wear black/white tie/cocktail dress before dusting off that full-length sequined number for a party. At Sam Cam’s reception at Downing Street during London Fashion Week in February the dress code stipulated – bizarrely- “suits” and there was much investigative journalism done on the part of the British fashion press to see just how much effort was required.
This isn’t something I can imagine the late style icon ( yes it’s an overused term but she earned it) Elizabeth Taylor ever did. I can’t exactly visualise the young screen goddess, confident in her wide-eyed, hourglass beauty, calling ahead before a party to check that one of her monster pieces of bling – such as the yellow heart-shaped Taj Mahal necklace or 33 carat Krupp diamond ring, both given to her by Richard Burton – would be a bit over the top for a small supper. It’s been said that Taylor’s death marks the end of an era for Hollywood and it can also be seen as the official end of an era in fashion, although really the era of no-holds-barred, maximal glamour has been gone for some time. Now, the epitome of chic is an outfit that’s sophisticated but pared down, balanced, slightly restrained: think Tilda Swinton in a couture-inspired, full-length silk skirt by Jil Sander combined with a white shirt. If there was a constant in Taylor’s wardrobe over the years it was maximalism. Big tan, big jewels, big eyebrows, big hair, big…curves. Well, she did once say “ big girls need big diamonds”. Read more

By Rachel Sanderson

The buyout of Bulgari by LVMH has triggered more than a popular outcry in Italy about Italian fashion brands falling into foreign hands. The government yesterday passed a bill to try make it more difficult for foreigners – read the French – to acquire, literally in this case, the family jewels.

True, Italians have some reason to bemoan the buyout of some of their most lauded names by foreign owners. Bulgari’s move to LVMH follows Fendi before it, while Gucci and Bottega Veneta are securely enfolded in France’s PPR. Valentino is owned by a UK private equity firm. Gianfranco Ferre was recently rescued from bankruptcy by Paris Group, a Dubai-based retailer. Read more

Theoretically, faced with earthquakes, bankruptcy, etc., a name should be the one thing you can always hang on to. Not in fashion. Here is a short and non-comprehensive list of living designers who have lost their names in recent years:Herve Leger; Roland Mouret; Jil Sander; Helmut Lang – and so on. This is a big question mark over John Galliano, whose brand is owned by Dior, — will they sell his name back to him? Can he afford it? Will they close it? Or what? And now rumours are circlign around Jimmy Choo.

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What is the best dress for a courtroom appearance? This is not to be confused with best-dressed, and is something I’ve been wondering about a lot recently, thanks to the number of celebrity cases that seem to be reaching trial – not to mention that extremely well-publicised fashion incident that recently occurred in Paris, and which is going to be heard at the French high court in May.

Italian Vogue editor Franca Sozzani has just taken a big step out from behind the glossy curtain, and decided to launch an on-line campaign to close down pro-anorexia sites on-line. Read more

Kerry Taylor Auctions just reported that the not particularly fashionable sheer tube dress Kate Middleton wore at the St Andrews charity fashion show to catch Prince W’s eye lo those many years ago just sold at the Passion for Fashion Auction for…GBP78,000. Read more

The CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) nominations have been announced, and guess what: of the six major awards, three designers represent almost one fifth of the nominees. Makes the options looks pretty thin, no?

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There’s a report in today’s FT about falling luxury stocks on the back of the situation in Japan, but in reality, luxury groups have spent the last 10 years strategising about how to replace Japan on the balance sheet (China, anyone?), so in a way they were among the most prepared companies for the effects of the current disaster.

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I just got a surprising email from Lucien Pellat-Finet, the French luxury cashmere czar, noting he has had a significant uptick in sales in Japan over the last few days.  Read more

Last week’s Paris collections were rather over-shadowed by events off the catwalk, but one off-piste meeting has stuck in my mind, because I think it’s something to watch. I has been called up to look at a new web site called “Motilo,” the first social shopping site.  Read more

Transparency appears in sheer tops, skirts and trousers, while elegant caped heroines make visual statements on the runways of the autumn 2011 women’s wear shows

Follow the FT’s latest reports from Paris Fashion Week.  Read more

I spent my last night in Paris watching Azzedine Alaia getting ready for his show, and it was a very thought-provoking way to end this whole hoo-ha of a season. Fitting, you could say (pun fully intended).

You could also say, “But wait! The shows are over! Why is he only getting ready now?” To which I would say: “That’s the point. He is only ready now – actually, he’s not quite ready now, but he will be soon – and he only shows when he is ready.”

And here’s the interesting thing: Mr Alaia’s business is growing by leaps and bounds. He’s taking over the enormous former Prada space at Barneys New York, he has a 120 sq metre space at Harrods already, he’s getting a bigger place at Harvey Nichols, opening corners in China, etc.

This is, I remind you, someone who no longer plays the fashion game at all: shows when the press has left Paris if that’s how it goes (buyers are still there; someone is around), delivers when it’s ready, and doesn’t do pre-collections. Plus, his work is priced at the highest end of the fashion spectrum. All of which has served to make him…more in demand. Read more

Follow the FT’s reports from Paris Fashion Week. Read more

The saga never ends. Yesterday a friendly retailer forwarded an email they had received from Ittierre, the big Italian company that manufactures many of the eponymous John Galliano licenses (on which that brand depends for a large chunk of revenue). Here’s what it said: Read more

A fitting end to a strange, dark season.

Louis Vuitton fashion show