Elizabeth Paton

Elizabeth Paton is the FT's US luxury correspondent


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 dataRead 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 SimmonsRead 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.

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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.”

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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