Monthly Archives: September 2012

There are two warring design crowds in Paris this weekend and they’ve got the Champs-Elysées in a logjam. On one side are the fashion folk, who have been here since Wednesday; on the other are the car crowd, who descend on the city today for the Paris Motor Show.

Both are in search of great design moments that will elevate their profession and justify the trip (and give them hope for future consumption patterns). While it’s unclear yet how the car people will do, the fashion people spent day three largely idling.

This has been a good week for Richemont’s fashion brands. Tonight a Chloe retrospective opens at the Palais de Tokyo, and last weekend Lady Gaga gave a shout-out in front of millions of fans at the Stade de France to the designer Azzedine Alaia, calling him a genius. You know what that means: sales! Read more

It seems to me Chanel is fast becoming the Swatch of luxury – and no one is really paying attention.

Today WWD is reporting that the couture house’s affiliate, Paraffection, has acquired French super-glove-maker Causse, which joins the other EIGHT specialist ateliers they have bought up in the past decade including embroiderer Lesage and button maker Desrues. The spin goes: Chanel is preserving French know-how for posterity (and indeed, according to our piece on manufacturing in France, if you don’t, say, use Lesage for embroidery, you would probably need to go to India to find the same skills). But at the same time they are acquiring a monopoly on said skills. Which is where the Swatch comparison comes in. Read more

Aeffe, the Italian fashion and manufacturing group that owns Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, and Pollini and manufactures for names including Jean-Paul Gaultier and Cacharel, has added another brand to its fold: Emanuel Ungaro. After all those Italian houses – Bulgari, Brioni – getting taken over by the French, finally the money is going in the other direction! Read more

Take that, PPR! You’re not the only luxury player on the block that’s recognised the potential of “sports lifestyle” brands (though you may be the only one with an entire division, and strategy, dedicated to the sector). Compagnie Financiere Richemont, the Swiss luxury group that is normally known for its watch and jewellery expertise – they own Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Jaeger LeCoutre, and so on – just announced it has acquired US-based high-end casual clothing/golf brand Peter Millar. The move raises so many interesting questions! Read more

Making the rounds at Milan fashion week this season has been interesting; people keep talking about their Big New Idea to improve the Italian fashion business. Consensus seems to be: something needs to be done. But what? Here are some of the suggestions:
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Diega Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s Group (and known internally largely as DDV, which is what we will cal him for brevity’s sake) is, it turns out, as susceptible to trend as any fashionista – only with DDV, it’s his own trends. Yesterday he was celebrating a new niche collection made by Love editor Katie Grand for his Hogan line, Ms Grand being the second cool British editor DDV has signed up; previously he got Jefferson Hack, aka Kate Moss’s ex, aka founder of Dazed & Confused, to make a small line of shoes for Tod’s. Are your fad sensors tingling yet?
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Honestly, I thought nothing could top the silliness of the Congressional attack on Ralph Lauren for not making all those FREE Olympic outfits in the US, despite the fact the politicians were fine with a Chinese brand sponsoring the diving team, but the mistaken furore generated by a review written by Cathy Horyn in the New York Times during the – yes – New York collections comes pretty close. I kept thinking it would go away, but instead it seems to be picking up steam — to such an extent that I am starting to wonder if it’s time to ask that perennial question: Who benefits?  Read more

I just received what I think has got to be the most egregious example of mutual appreciation that I’ve yet seen on the part of luxury and the tax authorities that benefit from it. Which doesn’t mean it’s not significant. Read more