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: BusinessInsider.com 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.
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”?
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.