Monthly Archives: May 2011

As promised, I’ve been thinking more about the LVMH/Hermes war of the words, and what Pierre Godé said yesterday at the Hermes AGM, and whether or not it should be taken at face value, and my answer is…not entirely. Read more

Ooooh, things are heating up in the heavyweight bout of name-calling that is the LVMH/Hermes relationship. At the Hermes AGM in Paris on Monday, Pierre Godé, Vice-Chairman of LVMH, and one of Bernard Arnault’s closest and oldest advisors, stood up and made the following statement, which LVMH then emailed around for those of us who sadly could not be there. It’s reproduced in full.

“This morning, Le Figaro published an interview with Hermes Président Bertrand Puech, in which he accuses LVMH of wishing to destabilise family shareholders, staff and suppliers – all allegations which I formally deny.  In fact, this AGM is as good an occasion as any to discuss these points, dispel some myths and correct misconceptions.

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When did fashion become the go-to second career for celebrities in need of an Act II? It has crept up on us, like all trends, starting with a sighting here – Sarah Jessica Parker prolonging her role in the public eye between Sex and the City via Halston Heritage – and a campaign there: Björn Borg finding life after tennis in athletic wear. Then, suddenly, it’s everywhere: Emma Watson growing up via niche collections with Alberta Ferretti and People Tree; Justin Timberlake getting elegant with William Rast; Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen re-inventing themselves as serious designers with The Row, and ditto Victoria Beckham.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who has the best fashion week of all?

Such appears to be the refrain of the moment in Paris and Milan. Perhaps it is because of the historic rivalry. It’s like siblings: Who is better? Bigger? More creative? Who knows more powerful people? Who gets more attention? Perhaps it is because lately it seems as if every country is starting at least one, if not two, fashion weeks of their own, but Milan and Paris seem to be doing their utmost to add more designers to their schedule, thereby increasing their reach and power and asserting their primacy in this notably hierarchical world. Read more

Diego Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s Group, has just taken the race for the new Chinese consumer, aka the Great Eastern Hope of the luxury industry, to a new level, and claimed them for – well, not just himself, but his country.

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Very interesting comment from a reader yesterday, noting that as Michelle Obama has become more established in her role, she has adopted more establishment designers. Read more

Last night Michelle Obama wore white Tom Ford to the Buckingham Palace banquet. Once again, she matched the Queen! I have to say, though, I’m not entirely convinced by the choice. And the more photos I see of it, the more it niggles.

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If the Obamas trip to the UK isn’t the most sartorially co-ordinated opening of a State visit in history, I’ll eat my Philip Treacy hat.

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The news that the strange and controversial Philip Treacy creation sported by Princess Beatrice at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton has been sold on eBay for almost gbp 80,000 is both generally shocking (although very nice for UNICEF, who gets the money) and also shockingly educational.

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One love affair ends and another begins: after three (count ‘em) relationships with private equity firms, Tamara Mellon, chief creative officer and founder of Jimmy Choo has hooked up with a long-term partner in the form of Labelux. Or at least that’s how she sees it.

“It feels like we have finally come home,” she said, when I called her hours after the commitment ceremony that was the private group’s acquisition of the luxury accessory brand. “They are in this for the long-term,” she continued happily. “Ten years is a short horizon for them.”
According to Ms Mellon, this is a huge relief after the upheaval that was her brand’s various private equity pairings, each of which lasted the usual three to five years. Read more

It is striking that in the various profiles and news reports that have been written in the past few weeks about Mario Draghi, governor of the Bank of Italy and just-nominated European Central Bank chieftain – at least until he got knocked off the front page by that other head of a three-letter financial institution, Dominique Strauss-Kahn of the IMF – pretty much all of them mention his dress sense and then attribute it to his nationality.

How quickly a garment can turn against us. In the absence of any information other than rumour and old gossip, one of the leading characters in the drama that has been the arrest and arraignment of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn over the last few days has been…his black overcoat. Silent but symbolically potent, it has proven of great descriptive use, it seems, to the myriad reporters covering the story and charged with spinning it to a voracious public.

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In the rapt-making interview that was yesterday’s Oprah-meets-Ralph-Lauren-in-Telluride show one admission stood out a mile: Mr Lauren’s sense that he is “an assistant to Obama.”
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And so the Queen has come to Ireland for the first time in almost 60 years — and she has done so in her usual, thought-through finery.

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And so the long, drawn-out — what? season? wardrobe filler? money-spinner? — that is cruise (or should we call it resort, or spring, the way brands do?) begins. Oscar de la Renta kicked it all off yesterday with a straightforward, ladies-and-girls-who-lunch show in their unfinished new office digs on 42nd street and Fifth avenue.  Read more

If last week saw creative directors playing musical chairs, with Hannah MacGibbon out at Chloe, to be replaced by Pringle’s ex Clare Waight Keller, and Patrick Robinson dumped by the Gap, today it looks like it’s corporate’s turn. British accessory success story Anya Hindmarch has announced a new CEO, its first outside exec ever, in the form of James McArthur, while at Boucheron PPR says Jean-Christophe Bedos is being replaced by Pierre Bouissou, who left as managing director of rival LVMH’s Berluti last year.
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South Korea has a dismal reputation on animal rights. Filthy, unregulated farms where dogs are slaughtered for their meat and black bears are tapped alive for their bile are harrowing yet widely tolerated. Read more

The Cannes Film Festival has had its first few star-studded days yet it seems to me that the most pressing question thrown up thus far is not which movie will win the Palme d’Or. Nor is it what fabulous series of dresses jury member Uma Thurman is wearing on the red carpet or even how the restored version of A Clockwork Orange is received, but rather: is Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, first lady of France, pregnant?

Watching “L’Amour Fou”, the documentary about Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Berge, and the $484 million sale of their stuff that opens today in theatres in the US, it’s hard not to think about John Galliano, and his rather spectacular implosion last March. indeed, it’s hard not to think that this film is as much about eulogising an era that is no more — that of the designer as monstre sacre — as a relationship. Or maybe they are one and the same?

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St John, the upscale but staid US woman’s brand that specializes in knitwear, has just released the first pictures of British actress Kate Winslet in their autumn/winter ad campaign. They are nice — she looks kind of old-sat glam in an old-style movie theatre — but it’s nevertheless a surprising combination. The question is, when it goes wide, will it be surprising in a good way (wow! Makes me rethink this label!) or a bad one (doesn’t make sense?!).

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