I’ve written in the past about how language barriers can have a significant impact on a luxury brand’s resonance with consumers and their spending power.
As labels continue their charge into frontier emerging and digital markets, this remains a critical conundrum at the forefront of their growth strategies. The logo can only go so far after all, and values and brand equity can often get lost in translation.
Increasingly it is clear that service in particular must be as accessible as possible to the evermore demanding customer. Many brands report a direct correlation to the increasing number of items bought – and the overall value of a sale – to clients if they are served in their native language.***
Kering clearly believes in the power of three. Tuesday held no less than three high profile CEO announcements from the French luxury giant regarding a trio of its big name brands.
There has been a recent slew of big-name brand entrants to the $90bn beauty sector, all keen to capitalize on designer star power in order to score soaring sales via the most accessibly priced luxury products on the market.
It makes commercial sense – a pyramid-style business model where a luxury collection at the “pinnacle” rests on a base of less expensive diffusion lines and offerings that provide the bulk of a company’s profits. Lipsticks, mascaras and fragrances are the lucrative entry point upon which to target the aspirational consumer, building up an appreciation of a brand and its heritage that increases over time – and possibly alongside a budding bank balance. Read more
Jean Paul Gaultier, the revered French designer and one-time enfant terrible of the 1980s fashion scene, has announced that his September 27 ready-to-wear collection, set to show during Paris Fashion Week, will be his last.
Mr Gaultier said that he will be shuttering his accessories, mens and womenswear lines later this year in order to focus on his couture collection and fragrances business, adding:
“Commercial constraints, as well as the frenetic pace of collections don’t leave any freedom, nor the necessary time to find fresh ideas and to innovate. This is a new beginning, I will be able to express again my creativity fully and without constraints.”
Proof that Apple was pitching its new Watch as its first official foray into style accessories was made evident during New York Fashion Week by the absence of several famous industry faces from the front rows.
The seasons may change, but this line-up does not. So the Silicon Valley tech giant scored a major coup by luring dozens of top fashion media power players and bloggers to its launch gala on Tuesday, including Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue (below).
The luxury M&A rumour mill has gone into overdrive yet again amid reports that LVMH is looking to acquire a minority stake in bright young New York fashion brand Proenza Schouler.
Although the terms of any potential deal have not been disclosed, people familiar with the situation said that LVMH was looking to take as much as 40 per cent in the label, which was founded in 2002 by designer duo Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez.
Proenza Schouler’s current group of investors is spearheaded by Theory supremo Andrew Rosen and John Howard of Irving Place Capital, also the powerhouses behind cult contemporary label Rag & Bone. Read more
In recent weeks, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds the world over have been awash with videos of triumphant participants taking part in the “Ice Bucket Challenge”, a stunt in which an individual has – you guessed it – a bucket of icy water dumped over their heads, all in the name of charity.
The hook that’s taken this viral is the subsequent nomination of others to take on the challenge within 24 hours, or to donate $100 to the ALS Association, raising both awareness and cash for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, more commonly known Lou Gehrig’s disease. Read more
An unexpected treat from Lyst, the Shoreditch-based fashion e-commerce platform that creates individualized shopping sites for every user based on a potent algorithmic cocktail of big data. Read more
Luxe leathers, tribal printed t-dresses meet corrugated, wooden changing cubicles and Japanese minimalism at the brand new Louis Vuitton temporary store in London’s Dover Street Market, writes Eve Simmons. Read more
In October The Met will open its doors in New York on a showstopping new exhibition of works which, when given to the museum last April by cosmetics billionaire Leonard Lauder, set the record for the largest single art donation in history.
The 78-strong collection of Cubist masterpieces – which includes 33 Picassos, 17 Braques, 14 Légers and 14 works by Gris – is widely considered the most eminent of its kind in the world. And the price tag? A cool $1.1bn. Read more
Those ubiquitous double-G Gucci bags are not whirring retailers’ cash registers as they once used to.
Sales at Gucci, the crown jewel in French luxury group Kering’s portfolio, weakened further in the first six months of the year amid tepid demand for its logo-heavy handbags. Read more
Interesting news surfaced last night: according to Reuters, flash sale site Rue La La is putting itself up for sale with a price tag of $400m and has hired JP Morgan as advisors for any potential deal. This grabbed my attention for a number of reasons.
Earlier this week Hermès’ womenswear designer Christophe Lemaire announced his impending exit from the ultra-luxe label to focus on his namesake collection.
This news, coming just days after the company undershot expectations in its latest quarterly performance, got me thinking about the rapidly evolving status quo forming for one of the star brands in the luxury galaxy. Read more
So Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder and self-anointed hero of media freedom, is adding yet another headline-grabbing feather to his cap this September: modelling at London Fashion Week.
The Australian, who has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the best part of two years, will appear in a show modelling a collection inspired by Clint Eastwood by Ben Westwood, son of the industry’s most famous designer anarchist, Dame Vivienne.
“My view about Julian is that he is a popular hero and he’s done a great deal to change public opinion. I think it’s a citizen’s duty to stand up for justice and freedom of speech,”
said Mr Westwood about his decision to make Mr Assange a fashion model.
“I want to highlight his plight. What happened to him is totally unfair. Julian’s been in the embassy for two years and it’s important that he doesn’t slip into obscurity.”
Another day, another high-profile auction house hits the headlines with a juicy legal scandal. Weeks after a 6-month siege of the Sotheby’s boardroom by Dan Loeb ended in a trip to the courthouse and the activist hedgie getting a seat at the top table, Christie’s is facing a $60m lawsuit filed by a rival for allegedly poaching its luxury handbags experts.
Does this mean that accessories could be the new flashpoint in the fight for market share in the auction world?
Papers were filed in Manhattan last Friday by Heritage, a Dallas, Texas-based company that specialises in auctioning ultra-luxe accessories. It was behind the sale of the world’s most expensive handbag in 2011 (this $203,150 scarlet red crocodile skin Hermès Birkin bag below in case you are interested, and the price included a juicy buyer’s premium of almost 20 per cent.) Read more
I read an interesting note to investors from the luxury analysts at Exane BNP Paribas last week, exploring the idea of measuring brand temperature.
Rather than focusing on the elements over which a brand has complete control, the team looked at the ‘hot’ or ‘not’ variables which it can only influence remotely via its marketing efforts.
Comparisons included equal marketing spends by one ‘hot’ and one ‘cold’ brand, then monitoring the spontaneous global marketing and editorial coverage triggered, as well as the potentially increased brand recognition in the minds of consumers. Read more
Fashion, just like the tech world, is borne from, reflective of and defined by the cyclical and cultural trends that continually evolve and adapt around it.
Both are businesses that are high-risk and tricky to be in, balancing books around supply and demand. But, more specifically, the real art that defines leaders from the pack is preemptively being able to guess what people want and need before they manage to recognize it for themselves. The best at this are making billions, both in fashion and tech.
But there’s one overlapping sector which both the titans of Silicon Valley and tastemakers of London, New York, Paris and Milan are still struggling to get en vogue.
Wearables. Read more
In a world where online control of both brand name and territory is considered increasingly essential, it is of little surprise that digital land-grabbing by luxury’s biggest players stepped up a notch last week with the launch of a new top level domain name – .luxury
Think it sounds a little gimmicky? That perhaps it won’t take off?
Then maybe think again – because some of the industry’s biggest players in the industry appear to be more than happy to pay the relatively modest $699 annual fee in order to take a stake in this new luxury e-space. Read more
After months of hype and incessant drum-rolling, the recipient of the inaugural LVMH Young Designer Prize was announced in Paris today – and rather refreshingly, its not who I would have expected.
The winner? Canadian-born, London-based Thomas Tait.
Who, I hear you ask?
Well you’ll certainly be hearing more from him from now on, after some of the fashion world’s biggest names decided he was the worthiest young designer out of an incredibly strong shortlist of a dozen international names and some very stiff wider competition. Read more
The gold price might have dropped by 28 per cent in the last year, and central bank acquisitions of the yellow metal might have fallen. But according to data just released by the World Gold Council, demand for jewellery – particularly in emerging markets – is still rock steady.