Bulgari

So the other day I was talking to Josh Abram, who was showing me around his new luxury co-working venture Neuehouse and whom I have decided is potentially the most-quotable person I have yet met, when he mentioned that the guiding principle of Neuehouse (or one of them, anyway), was the opportunity to combine the best of the hospitality industry with the drive for co-working spaces for entrepreneurs. It gave me a weird sense of déjà vue. Because lately, I feel like almost every luxury strategist I run into keeps bringing up hospitality as the secret sauce of their success.
 

Getty Images

Are semi-obscure male celebrities the most effective way to sell men’s scents? I have to assume the answer to this question is yes, because otherwise why would brands spend what must be a significant amount of money signing up so-so male celebrities to front their cologne campaigns? (Celebrities do not come cheap these days, as sic Lisa Jacobson at United Talent Agency. They all see “ambassador” roles as a prime source of secondary income).

After all, news comes today that Australian actors Eric Bana, left, and Simon Baker, below are fronting, respectively, the new Bulgari and Givenchy men’s scent campaigns. Recognise them? 

And just like that – OK, just like that with $750 million plus the assumption of up to US$250 million of pro forma net debt – Swatch becomes a major luxury jewellery player. Today they announced the acquisition of the luxury arm of Harry Winston Diamond corporation. It is an image-changing buy.
 

The Missoni family. Getty Images

As the search for Vittorio Missoni’s plane continues, four days after it was originally reported missing, the depth of public identification with – and affection for – the Missoni family is being revealed (pictured from left are founder Ottavio; daughter and designer Angela; founder and Ottavio’s wife, Rosita; son and CEO Vittorio; and son and creative director Luca).

Here, for example, are some of the Twitter posts in response to #findvittoriomissoni, which Vittorio Missoni’s son, Ottavio Jr, posted when the plane disappeared: 

The annoucement today that Michael Burke, one of LVMH’s longest-serving executives, would become chief executive of Louis Vuitton, LVMH’s biggest brand, was an interesting one. Not because it reflects any Machiavellian planning on the part of the Group — Mr Burke’s predessecor, Jordi Constans, who had joined Vuitton from Danone, was forced to step down for health reasons — but because it’s a very safe decision on the part of LVMH.

 

The branded jewellery game, long viewed as an area with the least players and the biggest potential pay-off, has a new entrant: Versace, which just announced it will introduce its first high jewellery line (one-off creations with emeralds, diamonds, etc) this Sunday during its couture show at the Paris Ritz. I’ll see your collection and raise you! 

Women’s wear daily is reporting today that PPR is in talks with Brioni about buying the Italian luxury brand. The PPR folk won’t comment, but I think this makes sense. 

Today a new report called “Uplifting the earth: the ethical performance of luxury jewellery brands” is being published by Lifeworth Consulting. Authored by Jem Bendell and Ian Doyle, and self-funded, it is geared towards encouraging luxury brands to embrace transparency in regards to their CSR practices by analysing and assessing ten high end brands. More startling, however, is the fact that the report says Chopard, Graff, and Piaget all sell – or say they could sell – rubies from Burma.
 

By Rachel Sanderson

The buyout of Bulgari by LVMH has triggered more than a popular outcry in Italy about Italian fashion brands falling into foreign hands. The government yesterday passed a bill to try make it more difficult for foreigners – read the French – to acquire, literally in this case, the family jewels.

True, Italians have some reason to bemoan the buyout of some of their most lauded names by foreign owners. Bulgari’s move to LVMH follows Fendi before it, while Gucci and Bottega Veneta are securely enfolded in France’s PPR. Valentino is owned by a UK private equity firm. Gianfranco Ferre was recently rescued from bankruptcy by Paris Group, a Dubai-based retailer. 

Apparently owners of fashion and luxury stocks are as susceptible to trends as owners of fashion and luxury products. Post-LVMH’s purchase of a stake in Hermes, Women’s Wear Daily notes stocks in LVMH and Hermes were up 5% and 8% respectively on the Paris Bourse; PPR was up 1.5%.