Monthly Archives: June 2012

Recently I was riding my bicycle around Prospect Park in Brooklyn, something I do a few times a week, when a Bicycle Dude in multicoloured team-sponsored Lycra zoomed past. I say “zoomed” because my bike, a relic of the Liberty/Target collaboration, has an amazing print on its chassis but no gears. I tend to ride it at my leisure, while humming songs and looking at the trees, while Bicycle Dude was clearly in training mode.

I was fascinated to read some comments by Joseph Giaconda, the lawyer who just won Michael Kors $2.4 million in damages in NY Federal court for the brand’s case against cybersquatters, about the potential new risk for luxury brands from counterfeit bloggers. Ooooh, these tangled webs those fakers weave.  Read more

So Google has unveiled its disruptive hardware technology, Google glass, the smart headgear that the googlers told the FT showed the company “had a healthy disrespect for the impossible.” Maybe so. But looking at the pictures of founder Sergey Brin in the things, not to mention the naturally beauteous models they have posted on their product site looking windblown and ecstatic with their heads bisected by some sort of metallic band, I also think they have a disrespect for the importance of style that may not be healthy for sales. Read more

Today Dolce & Gabbana confirmed rumours that it will create a small couture collection for the first time, to be showed July 9th to a group of clients in Taormina Sicily. The unveiling will take place far from the classic couture environs of Paris; the eye of the Chambre Syndicale, the governing body of the French couture tradition; and the fashion media. The choice is strategic for a number for reasons.
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The branded jewellery game, long viewed as an area with the least players and the biggest potential pay-off, has a new entrant: Versace, which just announced it will introduce its first high jewellery line (one-off creations with emeralds, diamonds, etc) this Sunday during its couture show at the Paris Ritz. I’ll see your collection and raise you! Read more

Tomorrow clothes collector extraordinaire Daphne Guinness is auctioning off another chunk of her vaunted wardrobe, the recent subject of a dedicated exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology — 100 or so pieces, to be exact, to be sold at Christie’s in London. Why? She’s selling clothes to save clothes!
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So after all the chat about the current economic situation driving a polarisation of price-points – either super-high-end luxury or cheapo Uniqlo – Euromonitor has come out with some research that begs to differ.  Read more

In one of those cosmic coincidences of timing, just as the Leveson inquiry in the UK paints journalists in the worst possible light, HBO is on Sunday launching The Newsroom, a new series from Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing) that will paint journalists – well, TV journalists – in a relatively promising light: trying, most of the time, to be good. Even though I’m of the print species, I, for one, am glad.

Let’s be honest: Rebekah Brooks, ex-CEO of News International UK brought down by the phone hacking scandal, does not have a great image – and I’m not just talking about her executive style. The riot of red hair with which she is closely associated, combined with her tendency to wear black, landed her on the cover of Private Eye recently with the title, “Salem Witch Trial”. But today a new movie bowed, to pretty rapturous reviews, that may do a surprising amount to change perception. Read more

So, Yves Saint Laurent has confirmed that new YSL designer Hedi Slimane’s first rebranding of the company that Yves built involves….dumping the Yves! Albeit only from the ready-to-wear stores and labels.
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There’s a piece in the paper today I did about Joseph and Karen Altuzarra, his mother and CEO, and their impressive working relationship and in the course of our conversation, something came up that didn’t make it into the story, but I thought was worth passing on: Mrs Altuzarra is convinced, as is her son, that the fact she didn’t know much about the fashion system when they launched really worked to their benefit, financially. Read more

Here’s a tip: go poke through the applications for ICANN’s new top-level domain name program – you know, the one that will allow companies to have their own .whatever denomination, instead of just .com or .org or .fr. It makes for fascinating reading. You’d think this would get luxury and fashion all a-lather, given their obsession with brand control and intellectual property protection and all that, but it seems not.
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As far as strange, opaque industries go, modelling is up there with espionage and rocket science: it’s a world built on image, and invested in preserving its mystery. Recently, however, two inmates (intimates?) have started to speak out about the reality, and what’s interesting is they’re not talking about the sex/drugs/eating disorders issues we are used to, but rather employment-law-type infractions: pay inequality, ridiculously long working hours, bad working conditions, and child labour. Read more

I woke up this morning to what is, I believe, the shortest ever CEO announcement I have seen, courtesy of Schiaparelli. It’s like a luxury HR haiku! Or a clue to how they mean to go on. Read more

There were many things I found odd at first and then grew to love during the 12 years I spent in Britain: Pimm’s, summer pudding, wellies. However, the one thing I could never quite get my head round – or under, to be exact – was the fascinator: those inexplicable quasi-hats that are more like the idea of a hat than any meaningful headgear. Perhaps, I thought, they are a cultural step too far; a social signifier that a Yankee can never penetrate; the final proof I am from a different gene pool of dresser.

Buried amid all the Mulberry hoo-ha over the last day since shares tumbled one comment stood out to me. It was from Godfrey Davis, Mulberry’s chairman, who blamed the fall in profits, which led to the fall in shares, on a bad performance in his outlets. Outlets? In luxury goods-land? Well, yes – of course. We all know about them. But who knew they could have that much of an effect on a brand’s bottom line?
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Just days after returning from styling Madonna on her MDNA tour – a certain wardrobe slip-up in Istanbul notwithstanding – Arianne Phillips visited the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, to see her work celebrated in a new exhibition. ‘Magnificent Obsessions: 30 stories of craftsmanship in film’, sponsored by Italian sunglasses brand Persol, brings together actors, directors and designers deemed by curator Michael Connor to demonstrate “the fierce passion behind cinema”.

Many of the items on display might never have been discovered if Connor hadn’t tracked down the artists and gained their trust. Pages ripped from the diary of actor Ed Harris explain the emotional cost of his transformation into Jackson Pollock for the 2000 movie ‘Pollock’, and complex sketches by Alfred Hitchcock map the camera angles in the desert scene in ‘North By Northwest’. A series of colour charts created by director Todd Haynes to guide the actors in ‘Far From Heaven’ had to be rescued from a box in his basement. Read more

LVMH just announced the acquisition of Arnys, a family-owned French made-to-measure tailor established in 1933. It seems the plan is to combine it with Berluti, to give that brand, run by Antoine Arnault (aka Bernard Arnault’s eldest son) a super-high end suiting service. The former luxury shoe brand also launched men’s ready-to-wear last season. Take that, Savile Row! And take that, PPR! Read more

Salvatore Resort 2013

As fashion statements go, it doesn’t get much grander than Salvatore Ferragamo’s 2013 resort show at The Louvre in Paris. It wasn’t  just the setting or the clothes themselves, but the reason behind the location. Ferragamo is sponsoring the exhibition ‘The Saint Anne, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Ultimate Masterpiece’ at the museum, and combined showing its collection with private tours of the da Vinci show for guests from all over the world. In return for its sponsorship, Ferragamo gets to be the first label to show a collection in the archways of the Denon peristyle, which frame the Louvre (previous shows have been in the courtyard) and to host  drinks and dinner (serving wine from the Ferragamo family’s Il Borro estate in Tuscany) and most importantly it gets an implied link with one of the greatest artists in history. There was nothing exactly humble, or indeed subtle about the message that was being telegraphed here, namely da Vinci and Ferragamo: Italian genius. Read more

Yesterday at L’Wren’s Scott’s resort collection (her first), I saw what is possibly the best ever sartorial uniform for any female politician wanting to re-instate ye olde UK-US special relationship, or up it as it currently stands. It would also be a great look if Michelle Obama was planning to come to the London Olympics. And speaking of Olympians, guess who is the latest famous person to declare their desire to be a fashion designer? Read more