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
Earlier today I wrote about the odd idea that came to me after reading Bain’s 11th Luxury Goods Market report, but now I’d like to simply list a few more notable — and surprising — conclusions from that exciting document, including facts on outlet shopping, Gen Z, and a new Chinese consumer segment. Read more
Today Bain released its 11th annual Luxury Goods worldwide Market Study, projecting that the luxury market growth will slow to about 10% a year, and then perhaps 4-6% for the next two years, and that all the slack won’t be picked up by China, which is also slowing. When Burberry first noted this trend, the reaction was largely “shock, horror!”, and their stock dropped 20%. However, I wonder if long-term this slowdown might not actually be a useful thing.
Today Ledbury research is publishing their “CEO Sentiment Indicator,” an exciting document in which they chart the words of luxury execs as they reveal the thoughts of said execs about how things are shaping up for the future. They gave us an exclusive peek at it before release. And guess what? They are not feeling the love.
New York Fashion Week? What’s that? This morning – the last of NYFW — London was in the news, as both Burberry and TopShop announced major new technology initiatives. Though they are generating a lot of buzz around the brands, I can’t help but wonder about the direction all of this is taking. Read more
The sky is falling! The sky is falling! This tends to be the reaction lately every time a luxury brand reports worse-than-expected earnings. It happened last June with Mulberry, and now it is happening with Burberry. Yet I am not convinced it’s time to call the end of luxury. Read more
Reading my newspaper over coffee this morning, I almost fell out of my chair while perusing a tech story on Google, Amazon et al, which ended with the following observation: “Google, Microsoft and Amazon all have the potential to adopt Apple’s vertical model of combining software, services and hardware to gain complete control over the design and function of future mobile devices.” Because the thing is, dear reader, it’s not “Apple’s approach” exactly – or it is, but Apple got it from somewhere else first. And where would that be? Fashion, of course.
You know all that talk in the luxury world about what Asian brand will be the first break-out brand to take Europe, thus providing a riposte to all the European brands currently focused on milking the Asian consumer dry? Well, hot on the heels of Bosideng, the Chinesd down-specialist launching in London, comes some more provocative news out of the East. And though it’s courtesy of a brand, it’s not quite the designer brand everyone was expecting. It’s a department store brand. Specifically, it’s Lane Crawford, aka the iconic Hong Kong luxury department store.
Yesterday the relaxation of the UK’s Sunday trading laws during Olympic season (aka until sept 9) went into effect. Now stores can stay open AS LONG AS THEY WANT (OMG! OMG!). I just can’t quite see how the Olympics, or Olympic fever, or whatever you want to call the emotion that is gripping London, will lead to a great surge in consumption of handbags and denim. Read more
I come back from holiday, only to find the news that Romeo Gigli has also returned: today Joyce, the fashion-forward Asian boutique, announced a new autumn/winter collaboration: JOYCE by Romeo Gigli. So will it work this time around? Can he be an example to designers everywhere (Herve Leger, for example) who lost their name and their business, and dream of a return. Read more
Here’s a tip: go poke through the applications for ICANN’s new top-level domain name program – you know, the one that will allow companies to have their own .whatever denomination, instead of just .com or .org or .fr. It makes for fascinating reading. You’d think this would get luxury and fashion all a-lather, given their obsession with brand control and intellectual property protection and all that, but it seems not.
Buried amid all the Mulberry hoo-ha over the last day since shares tumbled one comment stood out to me. It was from Godfrey Davis, Mulberry’s chairman, who blamed the fall in profits, which led to the fall in shares, on a bad performance in his outlets. Outlets? In luxury goods-land? Well, yes – of course. We all know about them. But who knew they could have that much of an effect on a brand’s bottom line?
Things are heating up on the luxury front. Yesterday I was talking to Ulrik Garde Due, chief executive of Danish silver brand Georg Jensen, and he acknowledged that the recent stories about brand’s private equity owners, Axcel, considering their exit strategy after 11 years were true. They have hired Rothschilds as advisors, and started meeting with potential buyers. Meanwhile, Smythson has just lured Andy Janowski, Burberry’s former COO and Senior Vice-President of Supply Chain (now, that’s a sexy title), over to their side to mastermind the brand’s expansion. Get ready: the heritage accessories brands are on the move!
Luxury brands from PPR to LVMH may be announcing more banner results this month, but according to a new report from UK luxury consultancy Ledbury Research, their CEOs are probably a lot more worried about the industry’s prospects in 2012 than they are letting on. Read more
Anyone else noticed that these days you can’t blink an eye without someone — a designer, blogger, brand — announcing they have just “curated” some on-line content? But isn’t this simply a new word for “editor”? And aren’t both terms being devalued — to the detriment of the consumer?
And so yet more proof lands in the in-box that people are still buying luxury – and this time I’m not talking about the products. I’m talking about stocks. Hot on the heels of the revelation that Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has bought a 5% stake in jeweler Tiffany comes the news that luggage maker Tumi’s value was up by over 50% after their IPO yesterday raised $338 million.
Aquascutum show at London Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2012. Image by Getty
“Due to unforeseen circumstances the Aquascutum autumn/winter 2012 press day has been cancelled until further notice.”
That was the email that went to the fashion press yesterday, ahead of news that the British label has gone into administration. To be blunt, the autumn issues of glossy magazines aren’t going to collapse if stylists can’t get their hands on an Aquascutum trench to feature in their shoots. The wheels of fashion aren’t going to stop turning.
However, while Aquascutum isn’t one of the labels that shape the style landscape, like a Prada, or a major advertiser, like Armani, because there are few major British designer labels, when one is under threat it’s a big deal. Read more
Today Burberry’s new aviator-style eyewear collection is out — as well as a new song and video from UK band One Night Only. Coincidence? Not likely. The song and video was commissioned by the fashion brand, is available first on Burberry’s facebook page and then iTunes, and features front man George Craig modelling — you guessed it! — Burberry eyewear. Could this be the first step down a slippery slope that will lead to fashion moving in to more formal production roles? Read more
There is a tendency, among political leaders, especially of the UK-US variety, to engage in sartorial covert diplomacy during state visits; for the visitor to effectively mirror the dress of the visitee in order to suggest a discrete sort of understanding of the agenda — at least as far as photo ops go. Yesterday, however, when David Cameron showed up for his current US trip, the changed nature of the relationship seemed to be reflected in his wardrobe. One day in, there’s been zero matchy-matchy.
Adele in Giorgio Armani at the Grammy Awards (AP)
The perils of betting on celebrity dressing were potently illustrated at the Grammy awards. The night’s superstar, Adele, wore — wait for it — Giorgio Armani to accept her six gongs, before changing into Clements Ribeiro for her performance and Burberry for her finale.
I say “perils” because yesterday, as I made the rounds of New York Fashion Week, I heard two separate design camps claim she would be wearing them.
The first time was at the Zac Posen show, when an insider mentioned that, fingers crossed, Adele was going to be wearing one of their dresses. It wasn’t 100 per cent sure, she said, but it looked good.
Posen is a red-carpet favourite, and both Reese Witherspoon and Elle MacPherson wore him to the Golden Globes last month, so this seemed plausibe. Read more