Luxury goods

I spent much of the winter break shaking off a nagging shoulder pain. It pulsed angrily behind my left shoulder blade, occasionally radiating up and down my back. On bad days it would seize up completely, so that I couldn’t turn my head one way or other.

Justin Bieber for Calvin Klein, Joan Didion for Céline and Miles Teller for Prada: the spring summer 2015 advertising campaigns include a dynamic celebrity offering. Here, we round up the very best of new season adverts.

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Chris Moore

British fashion veteran Chris Moore is the subject of a new retrospective exhibition at Duke Street Emporium: the concept store that brings British brand Jigsaw, The Shop at Bluebird and Fenandez & Wells together under one roof. The 80-year old fashion photographer, who has been documenting the catwalks since the ’60s, was recently honoured at the British Fashion Awards, receiving a special recognition for his contribution to the industry. Read more

Frida Giannini and Patrizio di Marco of Gucci

Change is in the air at Gucci. Power couple Patrizio di Marco and Frida Giannini are to leave the luxury brand in a joint announcement issued by Kering this morning. Read more

This morning’s news of the appointment of Johnny Coca as the new creative director of Mulberry ends months of speculation at the beleaguered British brand as to its creative future. More than a year since its previous director Emma Hill left, citing “disagreements with management over creative and operational strategy”, the news will be a welcome fillip to the house. The house issued a profits warning in October, with first-half sales down 17 per cent to £64.7m, and shares falling 10.1 per cent to 675p. Read more

Last night, the trailblazers of the British luxury fashion industry gathered at the V&A for the 13th annual Walpole Awards. Held in association with Coutts, the event, attended by key figures from across the British luxury industry and presented by Jodie Kidd, saw 11 brands win awards for everything from digital innovation to international branding.

This year has seen record export successes for British luxury to date: Stella McCartney currently exports to 70 countries, while winner of the emerging luxury brand award, Charlotte Tilbury, broke into the US beauty market last month. “British brands have never been more sought-after on a global scale, spurred on by the wealth of creativity, craftsmanship and talent we have, right here in Britain”, said Michelle Emmerson, who was celebrating her first year as CEO of Walpole. It is estimated that by 2017, the British luxury industry will be worth £12.2 billion. Read more

Sporting a classic trench and cashmere scarf, Romeo Beckham takes a lead role in Burberry’s new festive campaign, unveiled today. Marking the start of the holiday adverts, the campaign, titled ‘From London with Love’, sees Beckham playing a tartan-clad cupid to a young couple (played by new British models Anders Hayward and Hannah Dodds) who take him on a journey through the streets of London to the sounds of British musician Ed Harcourt. Read more

There has been a recent slew of big-name brand entrants to the $90bn beauty sector, all keen to capitalize on designer star power in order to score soaring sales via the most accessibly priced luxury products on the market.

It makes commercial sense – a pyramid-style business model where a luxury collection at the “pinnacle” rests on a base of less expensive diffusion lines and offerings that provide the bulk of a company’s profits. Lipsticks, mascaras and fragrances are the lucrative entry point upon which to target the aspirational consumer, building up an appreciation of a brand and its heritage that increases over time – and possibly alongside a budding bank balance. Read more

Katy Perry in Versace at the MTV Video Music Awards   © gettyimages

Two of the biggest events in the Hollywood calendar took place in LA last weekend, the MTV Video Music Awards and the Primetime Emmy Awards. And with it two red carpets to gaze upon. From Katy Perry’s denim homage to Britney (circa 2001 at the MTV Video Music Awards) to Claire Danes’ scarlet woman, we look at the top trends: Read more


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

Natalie Westling, Parabal Gurung Autumn Winter 2014

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

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

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

After months of hype and incessant drum-rolling, the recipient of the inaugural LVMH Young Designer Prize was announced in Paris today – and rather refreshingly, its not who I would have expected.

The winner? Canadian-born, London-based Thomas Tait.

Who, I hear you ask?

Well you’ll certainly be hearing more from him from now on, after some of the fashion world’s biggest names decided he was the worthiest young designer out of an incredibly strong shortlist of a dozen international names and some very stiff wider competition. Read more

Despite the economic slowdown recently felt across much of the region, all eyes continue to be fixed firmly upon Asia Pacific, still considered to be the hothouse of luxury industry growth over the next decade: Euromonitor expects sales of goods within the region to hit $125bn by 2018, a spike of 45 per cent.

Recent public plutzing by the industry over the state of China’s softening sales last year now appears to be abating, as the dip proves a short-term bump in the long-term road.

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While we were all distracted this week by the twin red carpets tsunamis of the Met Ball and the Dior Cruise extravaganza, some pretty big news hit the fashion world that, potentially, has more far-reaching import than, say, Sarah Jessica Parker’s mega-skirt. What were these Three Most Important Events Everyone has Kinda Overlooked? They are, in date order: 1) Harvey Weinstein’s decision to attempt to revive the House of Charles James on the back of the Met exhibit; 2) Julien Dossena’s decision to close his new-ish line, ATTO, to focus on his other job as creative director of Paco Rabanne; and 3) Chopard’s purchase of the Union Hoteliere Parisienne. Here’s why they matter — and it’s not necessarily why you might think. Read more

 

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Next week begins the pre-spring season, starting with Dior in NYC, followed by Chanel in Dubai, Louis Vuitton in Monaco and everyone else in their home towns. Everyone, that is, except Celine’s Phoebe Philo, who just released images of her pre-FALL collection (here’s a peek, sprinkled throughout this blog). Got that? Everyone is doing pre-spring, and she is doing pre-fall. In other words, Ms Philo did that very shocking thing that keeps getting discussed within the fashion world as a way to stop counterfeiting and satisfy consumers, who want what they want when they see it (not six months later), but never actually acted upon, which is: she did not let anyone see her collection until it was in stores. Read more

Reading all the (somewhat gleeful and ongoing) reports of the Nike Fuelband’s demise over the last few days, I’ve been struck by the fact that while they all seem to agree on the fact that it was maybe a defensive move in anticipation of the looming possible iWatch threat, they also seem divided as to what, exactly, Nike’s problem was: hardware (it didn’t have big enough margins)or software (it didn’t actually do enough). But let’s call a spade a spade: it didn’t look good enough. Read more