Recently I was talking to James Carsellis, the entrepreneur behind web start-up Luxup, and he mentioned the theory that Europe was becoming a luxury goods Disneyland for emerging market consumers. You know: a place where the entertainment value/point lies in shopping for expensive stuff. I don’t think the comparison is that far-fetched.
Yesterday the relaxation of the UK’s Sunday trading laws during Olympic season (aka until sept 9) went into effect. Now stores can stay open AS LONG AS THEY WANT (OMG! OMG!). I just can’t quite see how the Olympics, or Olympic fever, or whatever you want to call the emotion that is gripping London, will lead to a great surge in consumption of handbags and denim. Read more
I, for one, was quite chuffed at the news that Marissa Mayer, latterly of Google, has just been appointed Yahoo’s new CEO – both because I’m looking forward to seeing what, if anything, she can do with the lagging search engine, and because Ms Mayer is a notably good dresser, and I’m looking forward to seeing what, if anything, she can do with the lacklustre image of an internet superstar. Put another way: she’s not a hoodie-and-Teva sort of exec. Read more
I was fascinated to read some comments by Joseph Giaconda, the lawyer who just won Michael Kors $2.4 million in damages in NY Federal court for the brand’s case against cybersquatters, about the potential new risk for luxury brands from counterfeit bloggers. Ooooh, these tangled webs those fakers weave. Read more
So Google has unveiled its disruptive hardware technology, Google glass, the smart headgear that the googlers told the FT showed the company “had a healthy disrespect for the impossible.” Maybe so. But looking at the pictures of founder Sergey Brin in the things, not to mention the naturally beauteous models they have posted on their product site looking windblown and ecstatic with their heads bisected by some sort of metallic band, I also think they have a disrespect for the importance of style that may not be healthy for sales. Read more
Here’s a tip: go poke through the applications for ICANN’s new top-level domain name program – you know, the one that will allow companies to have their own .whatever denomination, instead of just .com or .org or .fr. It makes for fascinating reading. You’d think this would get luxury and fashion all a-lather, given their obsession with brand control and intellectual property protection and all that, but it seems not.
Tonight Jeff Bezos, a man generally pictured in jeans, jackets, and no tie, will stand at the top of the grand staircase of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in a tuxedo, shoulder-to-shoulder with designer Miuccia Prada and Vogue editor Anna Wintour. This either speaks to the growing belief among the tech and fashion worlds that on-line is the treasure chest of the future, even if no one if sure what shape it will take, or suggests a desire to go upmarket on the part of what most consider a virtual “wal-mart.” Or both, of course. Read more
Anyone else noticed that these days you can’t blink an eye without someone — a designer, blogger, brand — announcing they have just “curated” some on-line content? But isn’t this simply a new word for “editor”? And aren’t both terms being devalued — to the detriment of the consumer?
And so Apple is getting the final ingredient in the arsenal of a luxury brand: a fragrance. Admittedly, it wasn’t developed by the company itself; it was commissioned from a scent manufacturer called Air Aroma by an Australian art collective called Greatest Hits as part of a gallery installation. Still, it pretty much confirms what we already knew about that brand: that it has transcended tech to become part of an individual’s socio-political identity — and hence open to artistic commentary. Now, what’s Apple going to do about it? After all, it may sound conceptual, but I think it has quite powerful real-world applications. Read more
Tomorrow the folks behind yoox.com and thecorner.com, two leading etail ventures, are launching store number three. Unlike the first two sites, which are ready-to-wear boutiques that offer, respectively, less expensive last-season merchandise and cutting edge fashion, this one has a particular focus: shoes. Specifically 1000 styles of shoe, retailing for between €180-1,000. That’s a lot of footwear.
When I asked Federico Marchetti, chief executive of the Yoox Group, the obvious question — is there really such a big market for shoes and only shoes, or is this a niche sideline? — he responded with some pretty striking numbers. Read more