Monthly Archives: September 2011

I’ve been perusing a new magazine named “Astonish” that claims to be “the answer to an industry starved for smart, unique and visually-stimulating Fashion & Art content.” I have to say, I wasn’t actually that astonished by the photographs, nor did the contents, leave my mouth agape. But the business strategy is intriguing.

See, “While other publications work with the same pool of talent year after year,

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Not so long ago my colleague Luke Johnson, aka the author of the entrepreneur column for this newspaper and himself a pretty successful beginner of businesses, wrote about the mythology of Facebook, and what it has done to skew a generation’s idea of possibility. Essentially, he said, the idea that everyone should – and can – start a business from a laptop in their dorm room that will go on to make them gazillionaires is distorted and largely untrue: Facebook was a once-in-a-lifetime disruptive event, not a model, and its enormous success has not done the twentysomethings that grew up in its shadow any favours.

One of the more astonishing success stories of the past century has been the evolution of luxury retailing, from small-scale family firms to an international, multi-billion dollar industry. In the process, the family names of the men and women responsible for this transformation – among them Armani, Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Lauren and Missoni – have become more familiar as brands than as individuals. Yet, as the modern industry struggles to reconcile its artisanal heritage with today’s public offerings and quarterly reports, it is the personal, family connection that bridges the gap.

President Obama, his VP, and John Boehner’s Republicans may be butting heads in every other area of political and economic policy, but sartorially, they’re in harmony: not copying each other, but coordinating. I wonder (it would certainly be nice to believe) if perhaps there’s more diplomatic discussion going on behind the scenes between Mr Boehner and Mr Biden than the Tea Partiers might have us believe. Read more

John Galliano

John Galliano in January 2011. Image by Getty.

What’s next for John Galliano, after a French court ruled today that the ex-Christian Dior designer was guilty of hate speech and fined him €6,000?

The designer lost his job and his eponymous company this year amid the controversy that emerged when a couple complained to French police that he had made anti-Semitic comments at them in a Paris café.

But Mr Galliano’s rehabilitation has already begun, thanks to Kate Moss, who stuck by him as her wedding dress designer, and US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who put a picture of Mr Galliano with Ms Moss in her September issue, which is the largest of the year, and included a spread on the wedding. He has been to rehab, and is staying quiet. I think the biggest challenge will be finding someone to back him in whatever he does next, given his track record, and the fact that, in most news stories hereon out, he will be referred to as, “John Galliano, the design genius found guilty of anti-Semitism in Paris in 2011.” Not exactly the clause anyone wants attached to their name. Read more

We all know fashion folks are unabashed about borrowing good ideas when they see them (how do you think trends happen?), but this doesn’t just apply to cut and colour: it works for money-spinning strategies too! The CFDA just announced they were taking a pge from the British Fashion Council’s playbook (ooh sports metaphors! Gotta love em) and bringing ten of the past CFDA?Fashion Fund finalists to Paris Fashion Week Read more

September is both Back to School! and Back to Fashion Week!, and sic discussion with my children about what they are looking forward to, I’ve been mulling over what Iam looking forward this fashion season, which begins in NY on Thursday. For what it’s worth, here’s what I expect to be the best topics of discussion over dinner or cocktails:
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Today James Scully, J Crew’s CFO, to trumpets the beginning of the brand’s international roll out. It began two weeks ago in Toronto with the opening a stand-alone store in Canada, and the launch of Canadian e-tail. Mr Scully said the company was “really pleased with the results in customer feedback so far.” Interesting, that. As far as I knew – and I was in Canada, outside of Toronto, for the last two weeks — the story all over the Globe & Mail was of how irate J Crew’s loyal Canadian customers were because when the store opened prices were up to 50% higher than they were in NYC. Guess that’s feedback, of a kind.
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It’s that time of year when fall ad campaign break, and magazines occasionally double as doorstops. Judging by the size of US Vogue, along with yesterday’s Hermes announcement that operating profit was up tk per cent, you’d think that the economy, at least as far as luxury has gone, has recovered. But back to the ad campaigns. Hands-down the most charming one I’ve seen thus far is the new Lanvin video: check it out, and I dare you not to smile. Which suggested to me perhaps its appeal was worth exploring.

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