Lew Frankfort, CEO of Coach. Getty Images
Today the Harvard Business Review has come out with a new ranking of the 100 best-performing chief executives around the world, as measured by shareholder returns and growth of market capital over their leadership tenure, and guess what? Despite all that ballyhoo about the absolutely extraordinary unprecedented growth of the luxury market, etc, etc, only three luxury CEOs actually make the list. Oops.
But who are these unmasked men? (They are all men.) Lew Frankfort, CEO of Coach, who leads the industry pack by a wide margin at number 21 – the only luxury name in the top 50 (by standard definition); Sidney Toledano of Dior, at 68; and Patrick Thomas, CEO of Hermès, who is retiring this year, who comes in at 72. Chapeau, guys. Read more
Recently I was talking to James Carsellis, the entrepreneur behind web start-up Luxup, and he mentioned the theory that Europe was becoming a luxury goods Disneyland for emerging market consumers. You know: a place where the entertainment value/point lies in shopping for expensive stuff. I don’t think the comparison is that far-fetched.
Today WWD heralded LVMH supreme Bernard Arnault as their Man of the Year, thanks to his Bulgari deal; relaunch of a new leather house (Moynat); shake-up of his exec ranks; and willingness to let Dior be designer-less until he found the right person to replace John Galliano – who was fired in March. Generally, I agree with their choice, mostly because of Arnault’s smarts in taking advantage of other luxury brands’ scardey-cat timidity in the face of economic crisis (they see consumer slowdown; he sees opportunity to grab market share). My only question is about Dior. I think this is becoming a problem.
The Dior third quarter 2011 results are in and, contrary to what everyone predicted back in March when Dior designer John Galliano was fired for saying bad stuff, they are good. In fact, they are very good. What do we make of this? The conclusions, it seems to me, are pretty obvious.
Dior handbag. Image by Vanessa Friedman.
Forget the sense of nostalgia and farewell that pervaded Marc Jacobs’ sugar-sweet Louis Vuitton show, the clothes full of couture constructions as if an audition for a couture house; something happened yesterday at Christian Dior that had a very MJ-feel.
To be specific: the brand unveiled a new collaboration with the German artist Anselm Reyle that will be in-store for a limited time from January until March, and involved pop art-like neon camouflage and metallics on the famous Miss Dior bag, as well as little flats and wedges, some bangles, and even a makeup line. Read more
For everyone who was super-hyper-over-excited about the recent rumours, sparked this weekend by a report in the IHT, that Jil Sander’s Raf Simons was going to take over for Stefano Pilati at Yves Saint Laurent – well, Paul Deneuve, the chief executive of YSL, just told me it wasn’t true. 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
John Galliano in January 2011. Image by Getty.
What’s next for John Galliano, after a French court ruled today that the ex-Christian Dior designer was guilty of hate speech and fined him €6,000?
The designer lost his job and his eponymous company this year amid the controversy that emerged when a couple complained to French police that he had made anti-Semitic comments at them in a Paris café.
But Mr Galliano’s rehabilitation has already begun, thanks to Kate Moss, who stuck by him as her wedding dress designer, and US Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who put a picture of Mr Galliano with Ms Moss in her September issue, which is the largest of the year, and included a spread on the wedding. He has been to rehab, and is staying quiet. I think the biggest challenge will be finding someone to back him in whatever he does next, given his track record, and the fact that, in most news stories hereon out, he will be referred to as, “John Galliano, the design genius found guilty of anti-Semitism in Paris in 2011.” Not exactly the clause anyone wants attached to their name. Read more
Today Christian Dior effectively opened the couture season with a “team” effort from the atelier under Bill Gaytten, John Galliano’s long term design director. There are earlier shows, but it’s the first big one.
A nice way to describe the result is to say it was a really good example of why a house needs a designer. Or more specifically, a point of view; an idea about what, exactly, it is doing and why. Read more