Monthly Archives: November 2013

This being Black Friday in the US, and the topic of spending money being very much in the news, here’s an interesting study on the latter: has put together a list of the 35 biggest advertisers on Facebook this year. And guess what? Despite all that lip service paid to interaction and transparency and so on and so forth, there’s only ONE luxury brand on it. Also only one fashion brand. And they are probably not the ones you would expect. Read more

It’s all about football for men’s luxury brands. What else to make of the fact that Lanvin just became the first French brand to joined the ranks of Paul Smith (Manchester United), Armani (Chelsea, plus the English national football team, twice), Brooks Brothers (InterMilan), and Dolce & Gabbana (the Italian National team and Lionel Messi, the Argentinian football player they dressed for so long, they made a whole book about him), by becoming the “official tailor” to Arsenal, the UK football club immortalised by Nick Hornby in “Fever Pitch”?  Read more

Much ado in New York over the fact that yesterday, while on his “Yeezus” tour, Kanye West gave a radio interview on 92.3 suggesting his fans not buy any Louis Vuitton products from now until January. Apparently, he is upset that the brand’s CEO did not want to meet with him in Paris, and he wants them to feel his pain where it hurts. The problem is, he got the wrong CEO. Read more

Are accessory designers finally getting the recognition they deserve? Following Louis Vuitton’s announcement last summer that Darren Spaziani was joining the house as accessories designer, now Emilio Pucci is revealing a “get”: Elena Ghisellini, aka the woman behind Givenchy’s recent stream of It bags. She’ll work with creative director Peter Dundas. So far, so normal: both are LVMH brands, this is keeping it in the family. So why do we care? Lots of reasons! Read more

It’s about now that a film studio’s fancy turns to thoughts of awards. They need to get their Oscar/Bafta/Golden Globe contenders in by the end of the year, and general wisdom dictates that it is always better to save the most powerful for the end, so that they remain fresh in voters’ minds.

So the holiday season coincides with the release of high-minded movies such as Philomena , Dallas Buyers Club and The Book Thief – films that deal with big subjects such as adoption and motherhood, terminal illness and the Holocaust, as opposed to, say, superheroes and aliens, or bachelors on the loose. And as in film, so in fashion.

What a week. Monday, LVMH announced it was opening a giant, Google-like beauty campus in central France to help research and the local economy; Tuesday, Kering announced it was entering into a JV with Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier to grow his eponymous business. Yesterday, LVMH announced the establishment of the LVMH Young Fashion Designers Prize, which would award a young designer E. 300,000 and mentorship, from an LVMH exec (plus three grads a smaller amount and a year’s employ at LVMH); today, Kering announces it is creating the “Python Conservation partnership” in conjunction with the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN SSC Boa & Python Specialist Group) “with the aim of contributing to the improved sustainability of the python trade and helping facilitate industry-wide change.” (Kering likes snakeskin; that’s a look from the Gucci spring/summer 2013 show, above left.) Zowie. What are they putting in the water over there in Paris? Anyone else feel competition to be good heating up? Read more

Yesterday, in one of the more oblique resignations I’ve ever seen, designer Ann Demeulemeester announced she was leaving the brand Ann Demeulemeester, which she founded in 1986. She left a handwritten note, structured kind of like a poem, which I’m going to reproduce in full because – well, because I’ve never seen anything like it. In both its form and the fact that no one saw this coming, it makes for a pretty stark contrast with the gossip-ridden whispers and conspiracy theories that have recently surrounded other changes of designer.  Read more

Could Loro Piana, the Italian cashmere casual wear brand beloved by wealthy Russians, point a way forward for a renewal of the luxury conglomerates LVMH, Kering and Richemont?

From weakening sales at Louis Vuitton, to a miss by Gucci in its third quarter sales and the under performance of the soft luxury brands – Dunhill, Lancel and Shanghai Tang – at Richemont, all point to the need for a change of strategy at the luxury industry’s bellwether holding companies.

But Mario Ortelli, analyst at Bernstein, in a fascinating note argues that the mega deal struck by the Loro Piana family with Bernard Arnault at LVMH in July could pave the way to a broader shake up. Read more

In yet another sign that the balance of power between designers and the brands and Groups that employ them may be shifting in the designer’s favour, today Kering announced it had entered into a Joint Venture with Tomas Maier (left), aka the creative director of Bottega Veneta, aka the man who made that brand into the second largest luxury brand in the Kering stable, and the fastest growing, to develop his own brand, entitled – guess – Tomas Maier! Still, Mr Maier founded his brand in 1997 and joined Bottega in 2001. So why is this happening now? Read more

Today LVMH unveiled what as far as I can tell is a first of its kind in luxury: a beauty “campus” in Saint-Jean-de-Braye comprised of 18,000 square metres of buildings on 55 hectares of land “dedicated to research and innovation”, and housing 250 cosmetic and perfume professionals from Parfums Christian Dior, Guerlain, Givenchy Perfumes and Fresh. Sound familiar? Yes: it’s Google for beauty: great minds in a bucolic space designed to make creativity bloom. Think I’m reading too much into this? Consider the explanation. Read more

I expected many things when I first heard Somerset House in London was planning the exhibition Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore, which opens next week with more than 100 pieces from the late style icon’s wardrobe.

What is it with the Vogue franchise and its inability to figure out how to handle the power women of Silicon Valley? First US Vogue comes under fire (as does its subject) for photographing Yahoo chieftain Marissa Mayer (left) reclining glamorously in full fashion regalia on a chaise, and now UK Vogue is being castigated for the mistaken (that’s my take, not theirs) decision to label Ms Mayer et al “SWAGs:” Silicon wives and girlfriends.  Read more

The latest global luxury CEO survey from Ledbury Research and Departures magazine contains some interesting nuggets of information from the 70 unnamed chief executives who talked — the un-named bit slightly undermining the survey’s results, it must be said, though also underscoring the a) super-secretive and controlling nature of many of these companies; and b) suggests they may be telling the truth about some things that are perhaps a wee bit controversial. Like, for example, two things in particular. Read more

Phoebe Philo (that’s her, left) is in New York thanks to Celine’s support of the MOMA’s Isa Genzken retrospective, which opens tonight, and we were chatting about it when she revealed some exciting news: she had decided NOT to bring her pre-collection to New York, but was just going to show it in Paris, and she had decided NOT to post it immediately on-line on such sites as, but to keep it behind the scenes until just before the clothes actually were delivered to stores. That’s some pretty active swimming against the tide there. Read more

Much drumroll comes around the world from China, where Chinese Vogue is celebrating its 100th issue (left), which also happens to be its first “all-Chinese” issue — by which they appear to mean all-Chinese models and subjects issue, as it was also all shot by Mario Testino, who is, of course, Brazilian. Still, it’s interesting, both for the content, and for the sheer fact that for 100 issues it hadn’t happened. I mean, the magazine was founded in 2005. What took them so long? Before you say “why do we, who do not necessarily read Chinese Vogue, care?” I offer you this: the advent of the all-China Chinese Vogue is less about China itself than about the relationship between China and Western fashion, and where exactly the balance of power lies. Read more

It has been a week of trans-oceanic change, from Nicolas Ghesquière taking the design chair at Louis Vuitton in Paris to Virginia abandoning its traditional Republican loyalties and electing Terry McAuliffe as governor and New York voting for Bill de Blasio to replace Michael Bloomberg in Gracie Mansion. Of the three events, it’s the latter that strikes me as the most potentially subversive. And probably not for the reasons you think.

The analysts are not happy. Chairman Yves-André Istel’s statement at the Richemont earnings report today that “No disposals are under consideration at this time or for the foreseeable future.” has been met with grim reaction in the city, which was hoping that Johan Rupert’s sabbatical, and the new leadership of co-CEOS Bernard Fornas and Richard Lepeuwould opt for a rationalisation of the Group, where the fashion brands – Chloe, Alfred Dunhill, Lancel, Shanghai Tang, Alaia – have always seemed an anomaly. Clearly, there’s something of a perception gap here between internal and external players. Why? Read more

There’s a new competitor in the etail space, with a relatively original hook. This is, of course, the brass ring of on-line selling, where it is increasingly apparent that the first to a new idea (or a newish permutation of an old idea) wins big, and everyone else – well, seems to implode. So what is this Next Big Thing? Blake Mycoskie, the founder and CEO of Tom’s – the footwear and now eyewear company with a 1:1 selling/giving model – has launched an on-line department store called Marketplace that showcases 200 products from 30 brands founded with a charity component as part of their modus operandi. Think of it as Nordstrom’s – or Selfridge’s – meets Chime for Change. Read more

One of the weirder moments in the already surreal event that was the public confessional/press conference Toronto mayor Rob Ford held yesterday to admit smoking crack cocaine was, it has to be said, his tie. Unlike most such accessories sported during such penitent moments, which tend to dark, drab, night-of-the-soul shades and prints (see pretty much any white collar defendant in court) — or at the very least, a peaceable blue (see pretty much any banker testifying before a government sub-committee) – Mr Ford wore a souvenir number, spotted by brightly coloured logos from NFL teams. It provoked an immediate reaction. And therein lies a lesson. Really. Read more

Having now spent an entire evening mulling over Nicolas Ghesquière’s move to Louis Vuitton – OMG! Time to think! Such a radical concept – I can’t help feeling a little tinge of regret that M Ghesquière ended up at another major brand, instead of opening his own house. Sure, I’m excited to see what he does at Vuitton, and how the brand gets re-imagined with a new team, both corporate and creative, but at the same time, the fashion world feels smaller, rather than larger: instead of adding a new brand, and maybe a truly new designer to an old brand, which would create two new opportunities, we’ve simply engaged in yet more musical chairs. And I keep wondering why? Read more