Monthly Archives: June 2011

Today a new report called “Uplifting the earth: the ethical performance of luxury jewellery brands” is being published by Lifeworth Consulting. Authored by Jem Bendell and Ian Doyle, and self-funded, it is geared towards encouraging luxury brands to embrace transparency in regards to their CSR practices by analysing and assessing ten high end brands. More startling, however, is the fact that the report says Chopard, Graff, and Piaget all sell – or say they could sell – rubies from Burma.
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Prada did it. Moncler almost did it. Ferragamo is about to do it and so, at some point, is Renzo Rosso of Diesel and Brunello Cucinelli. But Giorgio Armani thinks no one should do it – and Diego Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s, has now taken him to task. “It,” of course, is a public listing, currently the trendiest way to raise funds among Italian fashion brands.
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Tonight is the annual Serpentine summer party, aka “the height of the summer party season” according to vogue.co.uk. This year it’s sponsored by Burberry, which is a good thing, since it looks like it is going to rain. Expect trenches, as far as the eye can see!

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Fashion, I understand, is a seductive target. It’s hard to resist attacking such a big, glossy, seemingly superficial industry. But please, can we stop now? Yesterday, reading yet another giant treatise (this one by Tom Sykes in the Sunday Telegraph) blaming fashion for John Galliano’s descent into addiction, I wanted to rip my hair out. Come on, guys. Can we get a little perspective here?

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I have weddings on the brain this week. Not just because my parents have been married 50 years today – mazel tov – but because we are approaching the second big wedding event of the summer: the nuptials of the other Kate the Great, and all the designer-related opportunities therein. Whether Kate Moss marries her fiancé, Kills guitarist Jamie Hince, next Saturday as announced or this coming Friday as rumoured (to throw off all those photographers, who aren’t Mario Testino, hiding in the bushes), or some other time entirely (always possible), you can be sure of one thing: whatever she wears will set wedding dress trends for the foreseeable future.

Wardrobe diplomacy – aka the practice of a national leader (or leading representative) wearing clothes from the country they are visiting as a form of economic and cultural outreach – is back. Diane von Furstenberg just told me she had learned from the folks at Harrods and Selfridge’s that the newly minted Duchess of Cambridge had bought two of her dresses to take with her on her North American tour, which begins at the end of next week.  Read more

The Boston Consulting Group has released an exciting new report: “Navigating the New Consumer Realities,” which involves spending movements and approaches they have been tracking across the globe over the last three-five years, plus a survey of over 24,000 consumers. Guess what? Consumers are not so optimistic about their financial future and spending after all!
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São Paulo has just wrapped up its 30th fashion week, predictably notable for both its bikini offerings and celebrity appearances – film star Ashton Kutcher made it, but model Gisele Bundchen did not. Read more

John Galliano appears before a Paris court

John Galliano appears before a Paris court – AFP

And so John Galliano’s trial has started in Paris, and one question has been answered: would the designer appear in court in full-fledged character-bedecked glory – as, say, Napoleon, or an urchin, or the artist Rene Grau, as he did after many of his most famous shows for his former brand, Christian Dior – or would he play himself?

 

Mr Galliano is standing trial for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks to customers in a Paris café  this year. Read more

In the wake of the Prada IPO, where some investors balked at having to pay Italian taxes on their share purchases, according to Guangzhou Daily the government has announced plans to cut their taxes on luxury imports to the mainland by 2-15%. Brands all over Europe must be celebrating. Ooooooh the possibilities! The mind boggles.

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In all the rumours floated about who would be the next big creative director at Dior, from names old (Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, Vuitton’s Marc Jacobs) to new-ish (Haider Ackerman and Sarah Burton) one that hasn’t been mentioned but has, I discovered, actually been called, is perhaps the most surprising of all: Azzedine Alaia. I had heard whispers, but he just confirmed it.

To be fair, from a sheer talent point of view, this is not surprising: Mr Alaia is often voted by his peers one of the most influential designers ever (really ever; not just of the 20th century), and has been building a house of singular vision for decades.

He is also one of the last hands-on couturiers, beloved by his atelier. Part of the conundrum facing Dior is they need a designer who can work with the couture, and most youngsters, brought up on ready-to-wear, don’t have the know-how. Read more

The fact that Father’s Day coincides with the start of the men’s wear shows in Milan might be fortuitous but, somehow, I’m not surprised. I feel that, lately, everywhere I turn I keep hearing about the importance of men.

The first thing I thought when I heard the news a few weeks ago that Conde Nast had signed a 25-year, $2 billion lease for a million feet in the new One World Trade Center building was: but where will they shop? Where will they eat? What will they do with their free time? Today the question was answered: they will shop at the new mall in the World Financial Centre!  Read more

Rick Perry, the Texas governor who is apparently exploring the idea of a 2012 presidential bid, has at least one thing going for him, other than his catchy “Texas job creation” theme: his hair. It’s lush! It’s long! It’s electable! Read more

I was struck this morning by the news that Ron Johnson, head of retail at Apple, is becoming CEO of JC Penney. He’s the third fashion CEO I’ve heard of that got his start at Apple, and learned according to The Book of Jobs. Think that’s a coincidence? I don’t.

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VF Corp’s $2.3 billion acquisition of Timberland, and the fact that the see the brand as one way to “up their apparel content,” as CEO Eric Wiseman said to Women’s Wear Daily, has my trend sensors all-aflutter. After all, it was one thing listening to Francois-Henri Pinault talk about his acquisition of California surf brand Volcam earlier this year in a bid to increase the “sports lifestyle” component of PPR. But now there’s another big group getting pro-active in the sector. We have competition!

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There’s a new report out from Walpole, the British luxury consortium, and Ledbury, the British luxury consultancy, with a jaw-dropping discovery in it: Americans are the most important luxury shoppers in England! Who knew?

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Once upon a time, children used to want to grow up to be doctors and lawyers. Or, at least, policemen and famous rock stars. Admittedly, speaking of the latter, as those of us forced to sit through the Justin Bieber docu-bio will know, that rock star actually dreamed of being a crossing guard but – well, we’ll ignore that. Because nowadays it seems the thing to be, whether you are a person, place or thing, rock star or editor, is a brand.

The rumours that Hillary Clinton wants to be the next president of the World Bank have now gone public thanks to Reuters, and though they’ve also been publicly denied by her camp, I can’t help keeping my fingers crossed. After all, if she did want/get the post, and Christine Lagarde does succeed in her quest to head the IMF, think what this will do to the image of bankers around the world!
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Labelux has splurged on yet another brand, though “splurge” might be an exaggeration – they wouldn’t disclose how much it cost. But just two weeks after snapping up Jimmy Choo from TowerBrook, Labelux, the private, Vienna-based luxury group owned by Joh A. Benckhiser SE, a holding company owned in turn by the reclusive Reimann family, has bought Belstaff, of biker leather chic fame.  Read more