In holiday time, an acquisition-minded company turns to thoughts of…fine jewellery. Why just buy it for the one you love? Buy it for the ROI! I mean, what else are we to make of the fact that juts over a week after Investcorp’s recent purchase of Georg Jensen, another fine jewellery name is changing hands: Gemfields, the coloured stone miner, has just announced the acquisition of Faberge, the recently revived jeweller-to-the-czars. Read more
Much heart-fluttering in recent days over the rumours that the luxury arm of diamond specialist Harry Winston may be snapped up by either PPR or LVMH. Oooooh! M&A action in the luxury sphere. It’s so hard to resist. Perhaps that why Winston actually issued an official “Nothing doing” statement – albeit with a bit of a sideways wink at possible suitors. It’s lips are saying no, but its eyes….
It seems to me Chanel is fast becoming the Swatch of luxury – and no one is really paying attention.
Today WWD is reporting that the couture house’s affiliate, Paraffection, has acquired French super-glove-maker Causse, which joins the other EIGHT specialist ateliers they have bought up in the past decade including embroiderer Lesage and button maker Desrues. The spin goes: Chanel is preserving French know-how for posterity (and indeed, according to our piece on manufacturing in France, if you don’t, say, use Lesage for embroidery, you would probably need to go to India to find the same skills). But at the same time they are acquiring a monopoly on said skills. Which is where the Swatch comparison comes in. Read more
In the course of reporting the piece about the rise of fashion branded
fine jewellery (along with menswear, it’s seen as the next big opportunity
for many luxury brands) I had a very interesting conversation with
Stanislas de Quercize, the ceo of Van Cleef and Arpels, who made three
interesting points I wanted to pass on:
1. First, he said it was good for the industry to have so many fashion
brands launching or expanding their fine jewellery ranges. Read more
The branded jewellery game, long viewed as an area with the least players and the biggest potential pay-off, has a new entrant: Versace, which just announced it will introduce its first high jewellery line (one-off creations with emeralds, diamonds, etc) this Sunday during its couture show at the Paris Ritz. I’ll see your collection and raise you! Read more
Just days after returning from styling Madonna on her MDNA tour – a certain wardrobe slip-up in Istanbul notwithstanding – Arianne Phillips visited the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York, to see her work celebrated in a new exhibition. ‘Magnificent Obsessions: 30 stories of craftsmanship in film’, sponsored by Italian sunglasses brand Persol, brings together actors, directors and designers deemed by curator Michael Connor to demonstrate “the fierce passion behind cinema”.
Many of the items on display might never have been discovered if Connor hadn’t tracked down the artists and gained their trust. Pages ripped from the diary of actor Ed Harris explain the emotional cost of his transformation into Jackson Pollock for the 2000 movie ‘Pollock’, and complex sketches by Alfred Hitchcock map the camera angles in the desert scene in ‘North By Northwest’. A series of colour charts created by director Todd Haynes to guide the actors in ‘Far From Heaven’ had to be rescued from a box in his basement. Read more
Recently, a woman in the midst of a career change came to see me. This former banker, who took time off to get married and have children, was on the verge of beginning a new life in the high-end fragrance business. Her launch product is a limited edition perfume called “Tiara” that will sell for $1,200 and features particularly glitzy packaging: nestling inside a white resin box is a glass vial shaped like a cupcake, “crowned” by a special silvery top studded with sapphire blue Swarovski ovals. The look was, she said, inspired by the late Princess Diana’s engagement ring, as now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge. Read more
Any regular reader of this blog knows that my opinion of fashion film shorts is not exactly sky-high; of all the ones produced by this industry recently as it discovered the joys of YouTube and its gazillion viewers, only one has really worked. That’s because it walked a perfect line between self-mockery and great fun, and was not obsessed with framing its products perfectly in the camera’s eye. (The film of which I speak features models wearing Lanvin and dancing to Pit Bull.)
So I admit: when Cartier called me to tell me about its new commercial, my first reaction was (and I’m not proud of this, but we are going for full disclosure here): oh, no. Not again. Ergghh. And so on. But I took myself off to the unveiling at the Mini Palais restaurant in Paris anyway, sat myself in the plush velvet seat and prepared to grit my teeth. Read more
Q: When is a hand bag not just a handbag ?
A: When it is also a piece of high jewellery and a sculptural object.
The crocodile skin and diamond Hermès bag (photo by Dan Tobin Smith)
Such is the case, anyway, with Hermès’s second foray into haute bijouterie (as opposed to haute joaillerie — the former starts with outrageous designs, the latter with mega stones). Their jeweller and shoe maestro Pierre Hardy created four different mini-handbags, in part inspired by the brand’s iconic handbags, using gold and a LOT of precious stones. They are each functionally a “bracelet” and they actually work as (very small) handbags.In theory, anyway.
It seems to me the idea of anyone actually carrying a handbag worth €1.5m and made of intertwining chains covered in 11,000 diamonds, or a rose gold version of the Kelly bag with crocodile scales and 1,160 diamonds is a little nuts, and I mentioned this to Patrick Thomas, the CEO of the brand. He laughed. Read more
Most fashion houses are understandably cagey about who they are dressing for the Oscars, the most lucrative red carpet marketing event of the year, which takes place this Sunday in Los Angeles. However, as I’ve been making the rounds of the Milan shows, some bits and bobs of information have come leaking out. The fear, of course, in spilling the beans is that in the end you are proved wrong (see post on Adele at the Grammys). The dressing game isn’t over until the celebrity actually exits the limo, but a few designers were willing to go on the record. Read more