Monthly Archives: January 2013

Luxury’s linguistic Dada has reached a new high (or low, depending on your view point).

When explaining TA Associates acquisiton of a majority stake in Dutch LLC, the parent company of contemporary brands such as Equipment and Joie, Jennifer Mulloy, TA’s managing director, said:

The new contemporary luxury segment has become an incredibly important revenue driver for both premium apparel companies and for retailers focused on this space.

I’ll say. Or rather, I’ll say “contemporary luxury” is new. In fact, I’ve never heard the term before. Probably for good reason. Read more

Strong sales of men’s suits boosted business at Ted Baker by more than a fifth over Christmas.

The British fashion retailer reported a 20.9 per cent uptick in total sales for the eight weeks to January 5 compared with the same period last year, while its store footprint grew by 13.9 per cent to 273,340 square feet.

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Roubi L’Roubi (left) and Pierre Lagrange. Image by Guy Hills

They may not be showing in the current London men’s fashion week, but Savile Row tailors Huntsman are making news nonetheless – in womenswear.

New owners Roubi L’Roubi, a British womenswear and costume designer (he made the clothes for the upcoming Nina Simone biopic starring Zoe Saldana) and his partner, hedge fund manager Pierre Lagrange, who just bought the brand for an undisclosed sum from undisclosed former owners, have outlined their vision for the storied bespoke brand; and it is female-centric. Read more

Shoes by Nina Ricci. Image by Vanessa Friedman

It seems the YSL/Christian Louboutin red sole suit has had some unexpected consequences. Yesterday, during the Nina Ricci pre-fall mini-show, what I was most struck by among the neat little tweed day suits and very pretty cocktail frocks was an aside from designer Peter Copping that the brand had decided to start using a signature shell pink on the soles of all its shoes, as a sort of shorthand fashion semiology.

Could this be the start of a new trend: fashion houses known by the soles of their shoes? Read more

The Missoni family. Getty Images

As the search for Vittorio Missoni’s plane continues, four days after it was originally reported missing, the depth of public identification with – and affection for – the Missoni family is being revealed (pictured from left are founder Ottavio; daughter and designer Angela; founder and Ottavio’s wife, Rosita; son and CEO Vittorio; and son and creative director Luca).

Here, for example, are some of the Twitter posts in response to #findvittoriomissoni, which Vittorio Missoni’s son, Ottavio Jr, posted when the plane disappeared: Read more

Getty Images

The first week of every year is always a week of predictions (fiscal cliff shenanigans aside, it’s generally a slow news week, what with holidays and all). Most of those I’ve seen so far have been non-controversial – Europe will continue to stagnate; there will be political turmoil in the Middle East; a sub-set of Republicans in Congress will behave badly; emerald green is the colour of the year (except please, not for ties) – which makes me wonder why, in the fashion world, no one thought to suggest what I expect will be the single most obvious trend of the year.

What is this glaring opportunity? High-end designer maternity wear.

I mean, really: what other niche is left to fill? And now that super-merchandise-movers/unpaid brand ambassadors the Duchess of Cambridge and Kim Kardashian will both be needing bump-accommodating gear, and people and paparazzi pages everywhere are guaranteed to follow and report on their every clothing choice with slavish devotion during their pregnancies, thus ensuring they will have to look chic and elegant no matter what sized basketball they have attached to their front. What better moment to launch? Read more

Lew Frankfort, CEO of Coach. Getty Images

Today the Harvard Business Review has come out with a new ranking of the 100 best-performing chief executives around the world, as measured by shareholder returns and growth of market capital over their leadership tenure, and guess what? Despite all that ballyhoo about the absolutely extraordinary unprecedented growth of the luxury market, etc, etc, only three luxury CEOs actually make the list. Oops.

But who are these unmasked men? (They are all men.) Lew Frankfort, CEO of Coach, who leads the industry pack by a wide margin at number 21 – the only luxury name in the top 50 (by standard definition); Sidney Toledano of Dior, at 68; and Patrick Thomas, CEO of Hermès, who is retiring this year, who comes in at 72. Chapeau, guys. Read more

Qatar Holding increases its share in jeweller Tiffany & Co. Getty Images

You step off the plane in your down jacket, experiencing that weird reality hit that comes with the end of the holiday: in the morning you have been cross-country skiing through woods – just you, your family and some wild turkeys – and eight hours later you are back in city traffic, and what happens? Investments. That’s what.

The rest of the US economy may be teetering on the fiscal cliff, Europe may be looking frim and luxury growth may be slowing, but in contemporary fashion, in America at least, things are getting off to a solid start. This morning, Rag & Bone, the hipster New York label, announced an investment by Irving Place Capital, the middle-market private equity fund, of about 25 per cent. Irving in the past has invested in Stuart Weitzman and denim brand Seven for all Mankind. And that follows two other such announcements by other labels. Read more