Monthly Archives: December 2012

It’s that time again when we think back over the year, the time of a million lists of good and bad, of the best and worst, the time of “Persons of the year”. It’s that time when we begin to make resolutions and then debate the efficacy of these resolutions, and then resolve on either more resolutions or fewer of them.

This will be my last post for 2012, barring an extraordinary luxury industry news event. However, before I don my skidoo suit, I wanted to leave you with two thoughts: one has to do with the new luxury buzzword, and the other with a new kind of luxury group.

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The fashionisation (if you will forgive the term) of life continues apace. After co-opting technology, homeware and pets, the latest everyday products to make the leap from objects to accessories are books. They aren’t just for reading any more. In fact, they are barely for reading at all. They are for looking at.

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Much has been made in the US of Heart magazine’s new “ShopBazaar,” a web site linked to their high-fashion flagship title that allows you to effectively shop most of the pages of the book on-line. While such editorial-commercial links are not exactly new, however, what I hadn’t realised, because they’ve been keeping rather mum about it, is that is only ONE of Hearst’s “experiments” in the space – or so explained Duncan Edwards, President of Hearst International, when we were talking earlier this week. The company had a few different such “trials” going on around the world. Trials? Read more

The annoucement today that Michael Burke, one of LVMH’s longest-serving executives, would become chief executive of Louis Vuitton, LVMH’s biggest brand, was an interesting one. Not because it reflects any Machiavellian planning on the part of the Group — Mr Burke’s predessecor, Jordi Constans, who had joined Vuitton from Danone, was forced to step down for health reasons — but because it’s a very safe decision on the part of LVMH.

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It struck me, looking at the upcoming Givenchy ad campaign, which features FoR (friends of Riccardo – -Tisci, the brand’s creative director) Mariacarla Boscana, artist Marina Abromovic and matador Jose Maria Manzanares, that one of the biggest fashion trends of recent years has been the selling of a quasi-family-reality – but more fabulous and famous, natch, than any of our real families. This seems to be reaching critical mass, and I rather expect it will continue next year. Why?

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Hong Kong’s sizeable British expat community is getting excited about next year’s opening of Topshop in the city’s central business district.

But they are not the only reason why Sir Philip Green has decided to open the British brand’s first permanent outlet in greater China.

The city is a favourite holiday destination for mainland China’s growing middle class, who flock to the tax-free special administrative region to shop, and also an international financial centre passed through by many visitors already familiar with the brand. Locals also have among the highest spending power in the region.

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The news that Silvio Berlusconi, once-and-possible-future-Italian-PM-candidate and always colourful character, is engaged to be married to his 27-year-old girlfriend begs the usual question: not “Wait, isn’t he still married to his second wife?” (yes, they are in the midst of their divorce), but rather, “what will she wear?” Presumably, it would be useful for a woman marrying a political player to dress with patriotism in mind – sic Kate Middleton — but this presents an interesting conundrum, because of all the big four fashion capitals, Italy has been the slowest to embrace that emerging and potentially very lucrative market known as wedding dresses. Read more

The other day I got an email from a colleague entitled “strange question”. This is the sort of email that immediately makes me perk up (it’s always fun seeing what other people consider strange) so I opened it instead of putting it in the “get to later” queue. Given the timing, I was expecting a request for advice on the best charm bracelet, or whether sequins were too much for an office party, or whether it was possible to go tie-less in a tuxedo, but instead what I found was: “Are animal prints – leopard, zebra stripes, and so on – still in?”

Duh.