Dismissed for decades by the industry, it has only been in the past 18 months that sub-Saharan Africa has really started garnering the attentions of international luxury heavyweights. Home to many of the world’s fastest-growing economies, the region is second only to Asia-Pacific in terms of consumer market growth, according to a Euromonitor report.

Its luxury goods market remains tiny, at around €2bn in 2013, according to Bain & Company. But countries like Nigeria are showing explosive potential growth.

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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

When it comes to luxury goods sales and some of the gargantuan figures spilling out of Asia-Pacific contemporaries, the South American emerging markets remain relatively modest in terms of size.

But make no mistake, Latin Americans have started spending serious cash – both at home and abroad.

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And so that extended and amorphous season known as “Cruise” or “Pre-fall” – you know, the clothes that go on sale in late October/November, and hang around until February, and thus constitute the bulk of a brand’s winter revenues — has semi-officially kicked off. Last night the Dior juggernaut came to Brooklyn for a show in the Navy Yards before a few thousand retailers, press and clients. Mostly clients. Which makes sense, right? They’re the buyers. Shouldn’t they see it first? Direct communication (direct sales?) ahoy! Read more

Just as skirts go up and down and up again, the Photoshopping controversy – which is linked to the skinny models controversy – rears its righteous head in public before giving way to another fashion-related controversy (lack of diversity on the runways, say). Well, we’re in one of those moments: there’s a bill currently sitting before the US Congress, entitled The Truth in Advertising Act, that aims to legislate acceptable use of Photoshop in ads.

Kinda. Actually, it aims to get the Federal Trade Commission to do a report on “(1) a strategy to reduce the use, in advertising and other media for the promotion of commercial products, of images that have been altered to materially change the physical characteristics of the faces and bodies of the individuals depicted; and (2) recommendations for a risk-based regulatory framework with respect to such use”.

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All the hoo-has recently over North America retaking China as the source of luxury growth may be greatly exaggerated—at least when it comes to the consumers doing the spending. Or so a new report called “China Reality Check” from Exane BNP Paribas and ContactLab suggests.

Check out this chart! Read more

“Why does the Met Ball matter?” — this question was asked of me by a British colleague recently, who had gotten tired, I suppose, of revisiting the subject every year with me. And it’s a fair question: why does this gala, of all galas, get so much international attention? I mean, it squishes all benefit competitors in the social media game. It’s not just because of the celebrities, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, left, at last year’s Ball – there are celebs at the NYCB gala, coming up Thursday, and Elton John’s White Tie & Tiara Ball. It’s not because there’s so much news-worthy behaviour behind the closed doors (it’s on a Monday night; half the crowd go home to bed after the main course). Rather, I think it’s because it’s current maestro, Anna Wintour, understood something about it that no other benefit chairperson, as far as I can tell, has understood about their yearly event. Read more

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