I was struck this week by a report from Havas Media on the world’s most “meaningful” brands – struck by the fact there was but ONE luxury brand in the top 20 (L’Oreal), and by the fact that this all was revealed only a day after I returned from the FT’s luxury conference in Vienna, which had culminated in a panel of luxury CEOs all discussing the need to connect meaning to their brands, and how they are going about it (education, sustainable supply chains, philanthropy), and only a few days after Gucci held its Chime for Change concert in London, which raised over GBP4 million for women’s causes around the world. It’s hard not to think that whatever luxury thinks they are doing, it’s not getting through broadly enough. Read more
Interesting move on the part of incoming Hermès CEO/family member Axel Dumas to start off his leadership with an aggressive anti-LVMH statement. Presumably the idea was to do two things in one fell swoop: herald a new sheriff in town and demonstrate his toughness (despite his relative youth, at almost-43). I wonder, though, if it’s also doing a third, perhaps less intentional – or at least, less obvious: giving Hermès , aka the ultimate in classic luxury, some street-fighter edge. And if so, is it actually good for the company’s image, or a mistake? Read more
For the last two days I’ve been at the FT’s Business of Luxury in Vienna, and some fascinating titbits have come out in conversation. My three favourites have to do with Italian M&A potential, getting some perspective on the brand thing, and possibly the best new consumer group acronym I’ve heard. Read more
After the growing, and counter-intuitive success of the London Collections: Men, aka the only fashion week on the calendar these days with any buzz; after the purchase of Christopher Kane by the-former-PPR-now-known-as-Kering; after Jefferson Hack’s work with Tod’s; today comes yet another announcement that adds fuel to the growing sense that London is the fashion city of the moment: Katie Hillier, British accessories designer, and Luella Bartley, the YBD, are joining Marc by Marc Jacobs as creative director and design director of womenswear, respectively. Bring on the Brits! If you want to be a buzzy brand, these days, apparently, you need some of your own.
The ECCIA, that odd-acronym’d unified lobbying association for the luxury groups of Europe, just released a new survey about the perception of luxury in Europe, and guess what? Despite Francois Hollande’s tax-the-rich scheme, and other austerity measures, it’s a lot better than you think! In fact, 75% of people surveyed LOVE luxury. To understand why that number is a big deal, know this: it has tripled in three years. Why?
It has been a week since David Beckham stepped off the field for Paris Saint-Germain in the final game of his celebrated football career; a week since the tears and hugs and accolades rained; a week since the whispers began.
The speculation is about what he will do next, of course. Though some interesting possibilities have been mooted (Beckham should learn to act and be the next James Bond! He should go into politics!), the majority opinion so far is leaning toward fashion. And by fashion I don’t mean another one-off collaboration for H&M; I mean something long-term that could land on the schedule of the London collections: men. Just imagine the promotional potential, not just for Beckham, but London menswear as a whole. Read more
The other day I was talking to Geraldo da Conceicao, Sonia Rykiel’s new creative director, about his plans for the brand, when he said something that surprised me. “I want us to be an accessible luxury brand,” he announced. Hmmm, I responded: “So you are dropping your price points?” He looked confused. “No, not at all. In fact, they are probably going up.” Now it was my turn to be puzzled.
When we (and I do not mean the royal We, but We the fashion collective) talk about fashion and technology, we almost always talk about Facebook and Twitter and Instagram and Tumblr and ecommerce, and so on – ways for brands to communicate with consumers – and then we talk about how fashion was so bad at it, and how important it is, an industry-changer, etc. But this week was Internet Week in New York, and I had a conversation with Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler that made me think we’ve all been missing the real revolution. It’s not in comms (or not only); it’s behind-the-scenes, in creativity. Read more
The WPP/BrandZ Top 100 Global Brands ranking is out today – OMG! OMG! – and, as usual (for me, anyway) what ISN’T on it, when it comes to fashion and luxury, is more interesting than what makes the grade.
Of course, that isn’t hard to parse, since only FOUR (yes, more capital letters, but this is big) traditional luxury brands do make the grade. And yes, you can argue that Apple (#1) and BMW (#24) are luxury brands, but let’s stick to the generally accepted silk/apparel/leathergoods/watch & jewellery categories, for clarity’s sake.
And in those categories, we have: Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci and Prada. That’s it.
Yup: no Burberry. No Ralph Lauren. No Cartier. No Armani. No Fendi or Celine. No Bottega Veneta or Balenciaga. No Michael Kors. Uh oh. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Read more
Oooh, the trash talk out of Milan. Having finally woken up to the fact that London Fashion Week is getting buzzier, and that such a development could be a threat to Milan, its collections, and the related economic windfall that comes to a city during showtime, Milanese designers are joining forces to defend their territory – but the infighting has already begun. The gossip and name-calling is fun to watch, but behind it is a real issue currently afflicting every fashion week: the tension between national industry interest and a brand’s self-interest. Read more