Politics

If ever there was an event that highlighted the complicated politics of fashion nationality in a global world, it was something that happened last night. Specifically, there was a big party in Medellin attended by the mayor, his wife, the First Lady of Colombia, and other assorted luminaries in honour of designer Haider Ackermann, who held a retrospective catwalk show to mark 25th anniversary of inexModa, Colombia’s fashion and textile industry showcase, and who was given the keys to the city. Now, Mr Ackermann was born in Colombia, but adopted as a baby by a French couple who raised him all over the world, but mostly in the Netherlands,trained in Antwerp, and has based his brand in Paris where he shows. Which makes him…what exactly?

Apparently a potential pawn in the fashion game of a number of countries.

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I did an interview in tomorrow’s paper – it will be up soon on-line – with Christiane Amanpour, the ABC anchor, CNN correspondent, war reporter, mother, and all-around very impressive woman, that I really hope everyone will read (and I think that’s the first time I’ve ever written those words in a blog). Not because I wrote the piece, but because for the first time I can remember, a really powerful woman has been secure enough in her own intelligence and position; secure enough in the level of respect she commands; to be absolutely comfortable talking, at length, about clothes.

Specifically her clothes, and why she wears what she wears when, say, she is in the field, or in the studio, or interviewing various Presidents, or going to the White House Correspondents’ dinner. It’s a breakthrough, and I don’t say that lightly. Read more

Just as her former Presidential First rival is inaugurated as the face of Bulgari, Valerie Trierweiler, current First Partner of France, also upped her lux ante, appearing during Bastille day ceremonies not just in a bright pink ensemble, but with a Christian Dior bag – one with little dangling C and D charms no less. Check it out by her feet, left. These things in these situations don’t happen just by-the-by. So what do we make of this? Read more

The burning questions of: 1) whether Anna Wintour’s new big job at Conde Nast will mean she steps down her maybe-possibly-political ambitions and involvement; and 2) to whom she will lend her formidable bundling skills to now President Obama is in his second term have both been resoundingly put to rest – by Ms Wintour herself. Finally! we can sleep at night.

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Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic were not the only two men working at Wimbledon yesterday; Prime Minister David Cameron (left) and Labour leader Ed Miliban (below) were on the job too. At least they looked as if they were: in dark suits and their respective party-tone ties (light blue and red), they seemed as if they were on their way to Prime Minister’s question time, not the hottest men’s tennis final in years (and I mean “hot” in both senses of the word). What to conclude?  Read more

Look: it’s me and mini-me! Or me and not-so-mini-me! Ok, actually, it’s Barack Obama and Senegal’s President Macky Sall, in matching outfits, from the light blue ties and white shirts down to the two-button suits.  Read more

All this talk about Silicon Valley and the monitoring of personal data for NSA reasons has got me thinking about another rarely acknowledged supplier of national defense materials located in California: Oakley.

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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?
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I wonder what the luxury world makes of the new French initiative to protect its culture in the digital age by imposing a tax on sales of tablets, smart phones, etc? They, after all, (the luxury folks, that is) have been promoting themselves as a “cultural industry” for the last few years. I mean, the name of their pan-European lobbying group is the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance. In case you missed it somehow. Yet as far as I know they don’t benefit from any protectionist legislation, in France anyway.  Read more

Though much has been made of the fact that the luxury sector, which has been on a rocket to the moon, growth-wise, is finally slowing –Bain predicts 4-6% for the next two years – a new “UK Luxury Benchmark Study” from Walpole, the British luxury consortium, and Ledbury Research, begs to differ, at least when it comes to the UK. It’s full of surprises! Read more