Derek Lam

Two interesting announcements this morning, both of which are worth examining: First Labelux announces instead of embracing (and chasing) hard luxury, it is exiting the segment to focus entirely on leathergoods; then Mulberry rejects the outlet model to take its bags and other products further up-market. The moves are complementary, in the context of general industry strategy. They both indicate that in the highly competitive world of leathergoods, current theory says it’s the most special, elaborate, highly worked pieces that sell.
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Labelux, the German conglomerate founded in 2007 by Joh A. Benckiser SA, the holding company of the reclusive Reimann family, to “be a significant new global player in the luxury goods market; one which could benefit from the underlying trends which support the long-term growth of the luxury industry” (this according to their web site), has never really gotten out of the outfield — to borrow some metaphors from the Romney campaign. Though they snapped up some big names, including Jimmy Choo, Bally, Derek Lam, Belstaff, Zagliani and Solange Azagury-Partridge, their point of difference was never clear, nor their vision for the Group as a whole, never mind the individual parts. Yesterday, however, things started to change. Read more

Diega Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s Group (and known internally largely as DDV, which is what we will cal him for brevity’s sake) is, it turns out, as susceptible to trend as any fashionista – only with DDV, it’s his own trends. Yesterday he was celebrating a new niche collection made by Love editor Katie Grand for his Hogan line, Ms Grand being the second cool British editor DDV has signed up; previously he got Jefferson Hack, aka Kate Moss’s ex, aka founder of Dazed & Confused, to make a small line of shoes for Tod’s. Are your fad sensors tingling yet?
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It never rains but it pours, and so on. In those terms, this month the fashion world is experiencing a deluge. After the departures of Stefano Pilati and Raf Simons from YSL and Jil Sander respectively, and the expected departure of Derek Lam from Tods at September and the end of his contract, come two more announcements: Lucy Yeomans is leaving as editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar UK and Amanda Brooks has left as fashion director of Barneys New York. This is, as they say, a moment of change.
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I’m telling you: ides of March. Rumours have spread like wildfire that Derek Lam, the American designer who has been creative director of Tod’s for the last six years, has parted ways with the brand. The Tod’s folks are have been hiding from all emails and phone calls since last night, but they aren’t denying it. If it’s true, it has interesting implications for the future of luxury.  Read more

Oh, the tangled web these luxury moguls weave. We all know about Bernard Arnault and Francois-Henri Pinault, but how about those Reimanns? Granted, the name doesn’t rhyme as well with their rivals, but the German billionaires are creeping down the luxury acquisition warpath led by executive Peter Harf.

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