Benjamin Franklin was clearly not the present purchaser in his family. Presumably, in the late 18th century, that was women’s work. Otherwise, the founding father might well have amended his famous aphorism to read not, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes – and that every November grown men and women will spend hours wandering adrift in megastores and surfing the internet in search of the perfect gift for loved ones” – or something like that (Mr Franklin might have put it more felicitously).
Of course, finding a perfect gift takes consideration, understanding, empathy, energy. And in the interests of trying to alleviate some of the burden, beginning this week and for five weeks following, we offer our succinct suggestions for 10 really good presents – five for men, five for women – in six different categories, beginning with “plan ahead”. Read more
There’s a really interesting study out today from the Digital Luxury Group. Based on data from over 31 million searches on Google, Bing, Yandex and Bai du, as conducted in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and US, it looked at which American luxury brands were the most popular globally (based on search, natch, not sales). The results would probably surprise you, especially when it comes to who’s on top, and emerging markets. Read more
Sorry – that title is a bit misleading. I am not suggesting Jochen Zeitz, the chief exec of PPR-owned sportswear brand Puma, is in favour of counterfeiting. Rather, I was struck by comments he made as reported today in the FT regarding the benefits of synthetic fabrics vs leather in ye olde sneakers, and how the former were significantly better for the environment than the latter. This is something you actually hear a lot from various environmentalists, and it seems to me most consumers would consider it surprising. They also might be surprised to learn that fashion, whether driven by eco concerns or just the lust for the new, is fast going in the same direction.
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
Take that, PPR! You’re not the only luxury player on the block that’s recognised the potential of “sports lifestyle” brands (though you may be the only one with an entire division, and strategy, dedicated to the sector). Compagnie Financiere Richemont, the Swiss luxury group that is normally known for its watch and jewellery expertise – they own Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Piaget, Jaeger LeCoutre, and so on – just announced it has acquired US-based high-end casual clothing/golf brand Peter Millar. The move raises so many interesting questions! Read more
Diega Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s Group (and known internally largely as DDV, which is what we will cal him for brevity’s sake) is, it turns out, as susceptible to trend as any fashionista – only with DDV, it’s his own trends. Yesterday he was celebrating a new niche collection made by Love editor Katie Grand for his Hogan line, Ms Grand being the second cool British editor DDV has signed up; previously he got Jefferson Hack, aka Kate Moss’s ex, aka founder of Dazed & Confused, to make a small line of shoes for Tod’s. Are your fad sensors tingling yet?
Oooooh, I sense another Fashion Week trend! After the Qatari sovereign wealth fund bought Harrod’s in 2010, and an un-named Qatari bought a large minority chunk of Anya Hindmarch in August – and following the Qatari royal Family’s purchase of Valentino the month before — now a private equity fund, AGC, backed by Middle Eastern investors, has taken the bulk of the minority stake in UK ready-to-wear brand Amanda Wakeley, a go-to label for the Duchess of Cambridge (that’s her, wearing AW, in both photos below). Does no one else think something significant is going on? Read more
This morning at the Holmes & Yang presentation at Lincoln Center — the brand’s first on the official schedule — co-designer Katie Holmes looked kind of nervous, standing next to her partner, Jeanne Yang. Presumably this was partly due to all the people around them passing judgement on their work. But partly it probably also had to do with the knowledge of the same people passing judgement on their tabloid value. It’s a weird position to be in: wanting people to come see the clothes, and wanting to push some away at the same time.
One of the biggest trends to come out of New York fashion week thus far has been the use of once-famous, formerly-retired, suddenly-resurrected models. Naomi Campbell opened Zac Posen’s show, followed by Isabeli Fontana; Marimekko had Carol Alt, Pat Cleveland and Carmen Dell’Orefice; and Alexander Wang had Liberty Ross, who now lives in California, and recently made headlines when her husband, Rupert Sanders, had an affair with actress Kristin Stewart. When these women appear on the catwalk they generally get lots of applause, but I wonder who actually is benefitting from the relationship?
My favourite fashion week moment so far, three days into the start of the New York collections, has to be Diane von Furstenberg pulling Sergey Brin out of his front-row seat and onto her catwalk to take her victory bow with her and her creative director, Yvan Mispelaere at the end of her show. And all three of them were wearing Google glass in different colours! I feel a new accessory category coming on. Read more