Monthly Archives: October 2012

Today Ledbury research is publishing their “CEO Sentiment Indicator,” an exciting document in which they chart the words of luxury execs as they reveal the thoughts of said execs about how things are shaping up for the future. They gave us an exclusive peek at it before release. And guess what? They are not feeling the love.

 

You know that song “Blame Canada” that has entered the annals of history thanks to South Park? Well, now it has a literary competitor: a new book by historian William Howard Adams from Potomac Books entitled “On Luxury.” The subtitle is “A Cautionary Tale,” but it fact the general argument can be summed up in two word: “Blame luxury.” For everything. 

Sorry – that title is a bit misleading. I am not suggesting Jochen Zeitz, the chief exec of PPR-owned sportswear brand Puma, is in favour of counterfeiting. Rather, I was struck by comments he made as reported today in the FT regarding the benefits of synthetic fabrics vs leather in ye olde sneakers, and how the former were significantly better for the environment than the latter. This is something you actually hear a lot from various environmentalists, and it seems to me most consumers would consider it surprising. They also might be surprised to learn that fashion, whether driven by eco concerns or just the lust for the new, is fast going in the same direction.

 

From swish suits and sweatshirts to gowns inspired by royals from fact and fiction, Paris trends for spring/summer 2013 can brighten any part of day.

Forget Belgium; Bernard Arnault should follow a number of his compatriots and move to the UK. The small country to the North (sorry) certainly appears to be doing its best to woo the mogul — aka France’s richest man, aka chairman of LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate — anyway, by vaulting him up the honours ranks. Today, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced the Queen is giving M Arnault the relatively rare KBE, for “services to business and the wider community in the UK.”

 

On Wednesday night, after the last show of the spring/summer 2013 season, after the last dinner (almost after midnight) I trucked up to Azzedine Alaïa’s atelier to see what he was working on. Mr Alaïa often shows the week after the Paris collections are over (which is also when he sells to stores), and I often stop in for a preview, but this season he wasn’t doing a mini-presentation at all, except for buyers. So, as one does, I asked him why? 

Marwyn Management Partners (MMP), the UK-based listed investment and management group, has just doubled down on the luxury market. After starting the on-line HNW members-only shopping deal site Luxup, directed in part at the Chinese tourist market and in part at amassing a mind-boggling amount of information on individuals’ shopping habits, MMP just announced an agreement to acquire le Chameau, the French maker of luxury rubber boots, from current owners Lafuma. 

Wandering around the Paris presentations you pick up some interesting facts. Here are three I wanted to pass on, which have to do with accessories (prospects for the future of), and which surprised me. 

The drive to extend copyright to fashion design and otherwise protect the creative industries in both Europe and the US, where the Senate Judiciary Committee has just passed the Innovative Design Protection Act, has a lot of momentum behind it.

Current US law does not protect most fashion design, because it considered “useful” and also too general. How, for example, can you protect “a dress”.

But here’s something interesting: even though the American bill is not yet law, one UK designer has managed to get one of his designs patented, in all the territories where he sells, under the intellectual property regime as it now stands, because it involves a new technology as much as aesthetics.