China

After two weeks in the mountains of Wyoming, come home and what do I find? Not only is Mulberry without a CEO (and still without a designer), but all that conventional wisdom about the super-duper high-speed growth of the Chinese luxury market (shock! Trauma!) slowing down may have been wrong. Or not wrong, exactly, but slightly misguided. Read more

Much drumroll comes around the world from China, where Chinese Vogue is celebrating its 100th issue (left), which also happens to be its first “all-Chinese” issue — by which they appear to mean all-Chinese models and subjects issue, as it was also all shot by Mario Testino, who is, of course, Brazilian. Still, it’s interesting, both for the content, and for the sheer fact that for 100 issues it hadn’t happened. I mean, the magazine was founded in 2005. What took them so long? Before you say “why do we, who do not necessarily read Chinese Vogue, care?” I offer you this: the advent of the all-China Chinese Vogue is less about China itself than about the relationship between China and Western fashion, and where exactly the balance of power lies. Read more

Check out the picture below of the incoming members of the Politburo Standing Committee. Those ties! Those suits! That hair parting. If, as my colleagues point out today, the reduction in membership of China’s ruling committee from nine to seven is “an effort to make collective decision-making less contentious and more efficient,” this gives new meaning to the idea of sartorial unity. Read more

You know what they say: if the mountain won’t go to Muhammad….After building enormous flagships, after importing elaborate couture shows, fashion has entered yet another stage in its relationship with that great source of sales, China: tomorrow the Istituto Marangoni, aka one of the most important fashion schools in European luxury (alma mater, for example, of Domenico Dolce and Franco Moschino), is announcing the creation of a Shanghai outpost.
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Well, what else to conclude from the fact Ms Wang’s recent bridal collection (for those who don’t obsessively follow the endless show schedule, this is wedding season) featured 15 — count ‘em — red gowns?

Vera Wang

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As I was leaving Italy after Milan Fashion Week, I was chatting to Guglielmo Miani, the young-ish CEO of Larusmiani, a family-owned manufacturer of luxurious materials, when he let drop an interesting fact. Last week the Italian government quietly changed the law it passed in November that banned retail establishments from accepting more than €1,000 in cash. Surprise!

What changed?

Now, retail establishments have no limit on the cash they can accept from foreigners, as long as they take a photocopy of said foreigner’s passport. I’ll say that again: no limit. Italians are still restricted to €1,000. Read more

Last week Altgamma published a report aiming to get a handle on the digital life of 187 luxury brands, which together have revenues of E60bn. The conclusions are pretty jaw-dropping. Read more

It struck me, reading the peppy results releases from Burberry and LVMH yesterday and today about their financial performance in the six months ending march 31, 2011, and first quarter 2011 respectively (Burberry revenue up 30%; LVMH revenue up 17%), that Japan barely figured in the reports.

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