Ecomonics

 

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You know that song “Blame Canada” that has entered the annals of history thanks to South Park? Well, now it has a literary competitor: a new book by historian William Howard Adams from Potomac Books entitled “On Luxury.” The subtitle is “A Cautionary Tale,” but it fact the general argument can be summed up in two word: “Blame luxury.” For everything. Read more

The love affair between politics and fashion continues apace. This week the Nelson Mandela Foundation unveiled its clothing line in NY and announced it was coming to New York Fashion Week in September. However, Mr Mandela – or his Foundation – is not the first political entity to realise that fashion can be a useful weapon. Indeed, dare I say it, I think this is a major trend.  Read more

As I was leaving Italy after Milan Fashion Week, I was chatting to Guglielmo Miani, the young-ish CEO of Larusmiani, a family-owned manufacturer of luxurious materials, when he let drop an interesting fact. Last week the Italian government quietly changed the law it passed in November that banned retail establishments from accepting more than €1,000 in cash. Surprise!

What changed?

Now, retail establishments have no limit on the cash they can accept from foreigners, as long as they take a photocopy of said foreigner’s passport. I’ll say that again: no limit. Italians are still restricted to €1,000. Read more

You know something is up when all the talk runway-side at a fashion show is about how a brand is NOT doing an IPO.

The Facebook listing has tech companies everywhere flirting with Wall Street (latest under discussion: etailer Gilt Group), but Michael Kors’ blockbuster public offering of last year, which saw his company attain a market capitalisation of $6.41bn, has not had the same effect on his fashion peers. Or so the folks at Tory Burch, whose a/w collection bowed this morning, might lead one to believe. Read more

The law passed last December by Mario Monti’s new technocratic government that limits cash transactions in Italy to EUROS 1000 and under has had some unexpected January repercussions on the fashion industry — or so I gathered at a recent, highy entertaining, lunch with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, aka Dolce & Gabbana.

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A snowman wearing a CNN hat at Davos

A snowman at Davos yesterday. AFP/Getty Images

Reading the FT’s live blog from Davos as I sit warm in my hotel room in Paris (it is one of life’s cosmic jokes that Davos always coincides with that ultimate in 1 per cent consumer indulgence, couture), I was struck that among the debates on income inequality, critiques of Angela Merkel’s speech, and the growing concerns of the private equity folks about the end of their special tax status, one of the few topics everyone agreed on was the importance of hats.

Indeed, before the repercussions of George Soros’s lunchtime talk were analysed, his special hat was noted, and compared with the bigger furry hat of FT columnist Martin Wolf. Personally, however, I think both pale in comparison to the enormous furry gloves worn by Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP. Read more