Monthly Archives: June 2013

Is anyone else struck by how much Edward Snowden, in the few pictures that have surfaced and are used again and again, looks like a whistleblower of myth?

White, clammy-looking skin that seems like it hasn’t seen the sun in weeks, either because he has been hiding underground, sleeping in the Moscow airport, or holed-up with his computer (or all of the above); rimless glasses; colourless eyes; stubble; grey, nondescript clothes that throw no light on to the face; mussy hair that sticks up every which way – these are the clichés of the trade, but they also happen to describe his appearance in the image that has been passed round almost ad infinitum. The only other, presumably earlier pic available online – Snowden without glasses and beard, looking even more translucent and pointy – is no better (he looks kind of like an unhealthy Twilight-type).

Look: it’s me and mini-me! Or me and not-so-mini-me! Ok, actually, it’s Barack Obama and Senegal’s President Macky Sall, in matching outfits, from the light blue ties and white shirts down to the two-button suits.  Read more

According to a new report published today by the Digital Luxury Group, Chanel has ousted Louis Vuitton for the first time as the most-searched-for luxury brand in China (that’s their Beijing store, below). Rock our little velvet-lined world. Especially because why is one of the best arguments I’ve yet heard for why a brand needs to hit every luxury market segment.

 Read more

BusinessInsider.com has just jumped on the fashion list bandwagon along with Vanity Fair, Time, Bazaar, Vogue, and so on, adding their own special twist to the form with a “list of who determines what’s cool in America.” That being “designers, celebrities, journalists, stylists, and executives vying for influence.” Sounds good; demonstrates they don’t understand the fashion world at all.

 Read more

In more LVMH news, after Stuart Vevers announced his departure from Loewe, Delphine Arnault (below), Bernard Arnault’s eldest child, announced her arrival at Louis Vuitton. Lose some, add some. Ms Arnault is being moved from deputy managing director of Dior to deputy managing director and executive vice-president (the latter title for use in the US; the former for France) of LV, in charge of products, especially leather goods, aka the profit-generator of the brand. Now let’s read the tea leaves! Read more

So yet another Brit has landed atop a fashion brand, adding fuel to the idea that London is having a moment not seen since its Cool Britannia heyday. Coach, the billion-plus American accessible luxury handbag line that is in the process of trying to become a “lifestyle brand” (like, dare I say it, every other brand on the planet), has announced that they have poached Stuart Vevers (below) from Loewe, the LVMH-owned Spanish leather house, to be its new executive creative director. Start date still TBD. But ooooooh, already the implications are huge!

 Read more

These days we all hold certain truths to be self-evident: 1) that the Chinese market, while slowing, is still expected to be the biggest fashion market in the world; 2) that the Chinese are attracted to the idea of European heritage and skills; 3) that there is an increasing drive in China to support home-grown design (or to create it); 4) that the Europeans are trying to figure out how to exploit all those two realities to their own profit. Hence, for example, Kering’s purchase last year of Qeelin, the Chinese jewellery brand, and hence Iceberg’s decision to partner with Chinese video artist Yi Zhou for a capsule collection of menswear, womenswear, and accessories, to be launched next Christmas. What’s interesting about both these choices is they are focused much more on East than West. Fair enough: you go where the money is. And with the Iceberg case we reach example number 2 of this approach, thus bringing us ever-closer to critical mass for a trend.
 Read more

Can it be a coincidence that the start of the summer cultural season – ie, that time of year when blockbusters hit big screens and beach reads land on bookshelves – has been heralded by two launches that, while they don’t necessarily celebrate consumerism, certainly have it at their core?

Between The Bling Ring , Sofia Coppola’s dramatisation of Nancy Jo Sales’ magazine piece about brand-and-celeb-obsessed teenagers and the criminal lengths they reach, andCrazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan’s novel about lux- and status-obsessed Singaporeans, it’s hard to escape the idea that this will be the summer of stuff. Read more

Stuart McCullough, the CEO of Woolmark, wants to relaunch wool as a brand. A luxury brand. Woolmark, of course, is already a logo, and there are unquestionably luxury fibres (see cashmere, vicuna, silk), but to turn a fibre itself into a brand seems like – well, a challenge. Isn’t it a material? Can materials be brands? Is this the ultimate example of the contemporary belief that everything, but everything – people, dogs, washing machines – can be a brand? Maybe. But the does have two recent developments going for him. Read more

After Dolce & Gabbana, after LVMH & Hermes, now we have…Kering and Nicolas Ghesquière! Yup, the French Group is suing their former designer for saying bad things about them. Is it a smart move? I wonder. And who will really come out of it the winner? Depends how you define caring, I guess. Read more

Domenico Dolce & Stefano Gabbana may not have been in Italian court earlier this week when the judge handed down a sentence for tax evasion, but they were in London last weekend. The evening before the London menswear shows began, Dolce & Gabbana held a tailoring presentation at one of their Bond Street stores. To all intents and purposes, it was a catwalk show. Here’s what happened. Read more

We’re used to hearing about how this luxury brand is suing that web site for false advertising, and that one is suing that third party enabler for allowing other to sell counterfeit products, and yet another is suing for a product that looks a little too much like their existing product (OK, can anyone say LVMHand Google or eBay? Gucci and Guess?), but this is largely because the big guys, who have the most money, make the most noise. In fact, talk to the legal set and one of the greatest problems facing young designers in a globalised world is “trade-mark squatting.” Thus far, it’s mostly caused a lot of breast-beating and wallet-opening, but now one young designer has come up with a solution of sorts.

 Read more

All eyes are on the London catwalks at the moment, but something interesting is happening behind the scenes at Hunter boots: they are staffing up. What does this tell us? After all, they are investing a lot in this one, and you don’t make that kind of investment in high-profile people unless a high-profile relaunch is coming. Read more

So now we are deep in the London menswear , the beginning of a three-week cycle through Milan and Paris, and I thought in honour of the start of the run, I’d share some astonishing facts I was told recently by the Brioni folks about employment and spend.

 Read more

Once upon a time, to most people, “the woman in red” meant a mediocre 1980s comedy starring Gene Wilder and Kelly LeBrock. Not any more. These days, the phrase is shorthand for the protests in Turkey over the past two weeks. That the latter has so overtaken the former is testament to the power of the image in the age of social media. And clothing has a lot to do with that power.

Just as pre-fall appears in stores, pre-spring (aka resort) appears on runways. But how to make sense of a season that spans from November through to May? The answer for a number of designers: skin. Sometimes yours, sometimes an animal’s, sometimes something that looks like an animal’s.

It’s been an interesting week in fashion reality TV: Grace Coddington solidified her position as one of the industry’s hottest stars by cooking with Elettra Wiedemann, aka Isabella Rossellini’s daughter, on Ms Wiedemann’s YouTube show, and making potatoes Dauphinoise and steak, food that “any Vogue person shouldn’t be making” and John Galliano finally gave his much-anticipated Charlie Rose interview. Together the two revealed a truth about fashion reality TV media execs might want to start noting.

 Read more

All this talk about Silicon Valley and the monitoring of personal data for NSA reasons has got me thinking about another rarely acknowledged supplier of national defense materials located in California: Oakley.

 Read more

We all know that part of Steve Jobs’ genius was taking the rules of fashion and applying them to technology, be it the importance of must-have seasonal design, or gadgets that are actually accessories, and hence identity totems. As Michel Kors pointed out to me recently, however, fashion has never exactly turned the tables; it hasn’t figured out what it should absorb from Apple. Well, today BCG is publishing a paper that suggests things might be changing. They have pinpointed a lesson. And they want the luxury world to learn it.

 Read more

The resignation of creative director Emma Hill from Mulberry yesterday for “strategic differences” with new CEO Bruno Guillon, has opened up a whole can o’ speculation, centring on whether on not the designer might end up at Coach, the American handbag behemoth that is looking to turn itself into a lifestyle brand, and – according to insiders — looking for a name designer to do it, replacing current creative director Reed Krakoff, who resigned earlier this year. Of all the possibilities that have been floated for the post Ms Hill makes the most sense to me, for a number of reasons.
 Read more