Alexander McQueen

What is a gown? And where does such an extravagant garment belong in a world of denim and parkas?

Yes, it’s that time again: the time to tally up the celebs to find out which-brand-won-the-red-carpet! I mean, clearly big awards shows are no longer simply about the work, are they? They’re about who wore it best, and whose picture will then get sent out to a quazillion media outlets, and which brand will then get tons of free advertising, and so on. We know this. So let’s take a look at last night’s BAFTA brand-dressed list (not best-dressed list). And the winner was…. Read more

As the royal babywatch enters what are presumably its final days (or even hours) I admit: I cannot wait for the Royal Windsor baby to be born – not because I’m actually panting to see said heir, but because hopefully it will stop the flood of emails I get every morning heralding yet another fancy baby product. Now, I get that this seems an extraordinary opportunity for the high-end baby market, which is currently one of the fastest growing segments of the high-end fashion market, with brands from Dolce & Gabbana to Gucci, Burberry, and Fendi launching kidswear. I get that the Duchess of Cambridge is one of the most influential figures around when it comes to moving product. But what I don’t get is why everyone thinks she is going to move really expensive product. Read more

Raf Simons for Christian Dior. Getty Images

Sometimes – often when a new designer takes the reins at a brand, thereby drawing attention to it – a style inexplicably takes off in a viral way, running rampant throughout the fashion world.

This happened after former YSL designer Stefano Pilati’s first collection for the house, when he introduced the high-waisted tulip skirt to widespread scepticism. By the next season, high-waisted tulip skirts were ubiquitous (remember that?), and judging by last week’s New York ready-to-wear shows, it seems like it is happening now with Christian Dior designer Raf Simons’s gown-over-cigarette-trousers style, introduced in his first couture show last July. Read more

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It’s couture week in Paris; but we’re a show down on the schedule: Givenchy, which under Riccardo Tisci has held an up-close-and-personal presentation of a handful of elaborate pieces, is taking time out to, well, ease up on the pressure. Meanwhile, it has emerged that Alexander McQueen will also not be holding a show in March during the autumn/winter shows, as its creative director, Sarah Burton, pictured left, will be on maternity leave.

Instead they will have a small presentation; a variation on the tactic Celine’s Phoebe Philo used when she was last pregnant. Her show fell in her third trimester and decided to eschew the stress of a full show for small talk-throughs with tiny groups.

Could it be that both the corporate and creative sides of the business are beginning to think shows may not be the crucial component of a business they have been previously considered? Holy hemlines, Batman! Read more

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It doesn’t rain but it pours! Following Swatch’s purchase of Harry Winston, PPR has announced it has bought 51 per cent of hot young British brand Christopher Kane. That’s him, left, with stylist Caroline Seiber.

This marks the third British ready-to-wear brand owned by the French Group (it also has a joint venture with Stella McCartney and 51 per cent of Alexander McQueen), the first such young brand acquisition by a major luxury group since the recession, and the third in a series of PPR purchases: first Italian menswear brand Brioni, then Chinese jewellery brand Qeelin, and now Kane. It is up to something, no question. Where some see risk – buying a luxury brand at a time when consumer attitudes towards luxury itself are uncertain and China, aka the promised land, is experiencing a slowdown – they clearly see opportunity. Read more

There’s an anti-fur protest brewing for London, starting today and extending through the weekend. Burberry is the target. In fact, it’s called the “anti-fur weekend of action against Burberry.” But here’s the thing: if you look at the autumn/winter runway collections, Burberry didn’t actually have much fur at all on its catwalk.  Read more

Tomorrow clothes collector extraordinaire Daphne Guinness is auctioning off another chunk of her vaunted wardrobe, the recent subject of a dedicated exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology — 100 or so pieces, to be exact, to be sold at Christie’s in London. Why? She’s selling clothes to save clothes!
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I was struck yesterday, watching the Duchess of Cambridge at the culminating jubilee ceremonies in her cream lace Alexander McQueen dress, that had I not gotten a zillion emails telling me it was an Alexander McQueen, I never would have guessed it – and that this what-you-see-versus-what-you-assume-gap may become something of a problem for the brand. Read more

What high-end brands do those unpredictable but desirable, virtually-enabled, live-life-on-Facebook twentysomethings like? This is a question that obsesses luxury — after all, some chunk of said twentysomethings will become the luxury purchasers of the future, and knowing what they respond to is one of the great mysteries of today and potential cash cows of tomorrow. The other day I had an experience that gave me some clues as to the possible answers. And it’s not what you (OK, I) might expect.
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