Christian Dior

Just as her former Presidential First rival is inaugurated as the face of Bulgari, Valerie Trierweiler, current First Partner of France, also upped her lux ante, appearing during Bastille day ceremonies not just in a bright pink ensemble, but with a Christian Dior bag – one with little dangling C and D charms no less. Check it out by her feet, left. These things in these situations don’t happen just by-the-by. So what do we make of this? Read more

We all know that part of Steve Jobs’ genius was taking the rules of fashion and applying them to technology, be it the importance of must-have seasonal design, or gadgets that are actually accessories, and hence identity totems. As Michel Kors pointed out to me recently, however, fashion has never exactly turned the tables; it hasn’t figured out what it should absorb from Apple. Well, today BCG is publishing a paper that suggests things might be changing. They have pinpointed a lesson. And they want the luxury world to learn it.

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So Havas Media got back to me with the rankings of the Top 50 meaningful global brands (you may remember, no luxury brand made the top 25), and guess what? We finally see some luxury names. Even more interesting, however, is the geographic breakdown of where those luxury names appear – and the fact that all that ubiquity conventional wisdom has is bad for luxury may actually help make it meaningful to more.

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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.
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How important is a creative director? This question has plagued the fashion and luxury world ever since Tom Ford walked away from Gucci in 2004, and has been as subject to trend as any dress.

From believing that star designers (designer, creative director, artistic director and chief creative officer all being synonyms) were crucial to the success of a brand, the pendulum of industry wisdom has swung in the opposite direction.

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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.

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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.

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Dior handbag

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

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

Fashion, I understand, is a seductive target. It’s hard to resist attacking such a big, glossy, seemingly superficial industry. But please, can we stop now? Yesterday, reading yet another giant treatise (this one by Tom Sykes in the Sunday Telegraph) blaming fashion for John Galliano’s descent into addiction, I wanted to rip my hair out. Come on, guys. Can we get a little perspective here?

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John Galliano appears before a Paris court

John Galliano appears before a Paris court – AFP

And so John Galliano’s trial has started in Paris, and one question has been answered: would the designer appear in court in full-fledged character-bedecked glory – as, say, Napoleon, or an urchin, or the artist Rene Grau, as he did after many of his most famous shows for his former brand, Christian Dior – or would he play himself?


Mr Galliano is standing trial for allegedly making anti-Semitic remarks to customers in a Paris café  this year. Read more

This fashion week has been aflood with more rumours than India after the monsoon. First there was the stream of gossip about who will get the Dior job (one last suggestion: two names that haven’t been part of the conversation at all — Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler. They’re young, have a jones for French couture shapes, but a way to make them jazzy, are fluent in the worlds of twitter and youtube, and have no hang-ups about working with businessmen. But that’s just me.) And now we have the “is Alexander McQueen designer Sarah Burton making the royal wedding dress?” tsunami. Read more

Sidney Toledano, ceo of Dior, just got up in a black suit and black tie before the show and made this statement; here it is in full: Read more

There’s been a lot of talk, runway-side, about whether or not the Dior show can happen; a lot of protests vs publicity risk assessment. Here’s what I think: yes. They just need to be smart about how they do it.

if I were the Dior folks, for example, instead of emptiness to replace the usual John bow, I’d send the entire atelier – all the designers and assistants and seamstresses that actually make a collection happen – out onto the runway at the end of the show. Then the story becomes about preserving jobs, and supporting the workers that are left dealing with what Galliano wrought, and that runway full of blameless people becomes the picture that goes ’round the world, and Dior becomes the brand that cares for employees. Read more

Christian Dior has dismissed for John Galliano, its star designer, for professional misconduct over the scandal surrounding alleged anti-Semitic comments he made. Read more

WWD is reporting that Oscar winner Natalie Portman – aka the official face of Miss Dior Cherie — has officially disassociated herself from John Galliano. They quote a statement from Ms Portman saying: Read more