Dior

Watching Francois Hollande be sworn in as French president today, I was struck by how incredibly color-coordinated the hand-over of power was. I know it wasn’t planned — the Hollande and Sarkozy camps are not that friendly – but Tim Gunn couldn’t have styled it better if he’d tried. Read more

There’s a new entry in the ever-evolving luxury lexicon courtesy of the folks over at Interbrand: “meta-luxury.” The term, coined to replace that old catch-all “luxury,” refers to “luxury after luxury.” For those in search of a fuller (or more logical) explanation, two Interbrand directors, Manfredi Ricca and Rebecca Robins, have written an entire book elucidating the concept, called, not surprisingly, “Meta-luxury.” It’s not perfect, but I think it may come closer to rationalising the current situation than anything else I’ve seen thus far.

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After a year of rumour and speculation, Dior has finally confirmed Raf Simons, the fashion darling recently canonized after his abrupt firing as artistic director of Jil Sander, has been handed the keys to the house – just over a year after former Dior creative director John Galliano was handed his walking papers after an alleged anti-Semitic incident. The appointment will put an end not just to the constant gossip about who might be getting the job, but to suggestions that perhaps the whole concept of a creative director was outmoded.
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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

Time magazine has made its first foray into the world of best-dressed lists by releasing its own “All-Time 100 Fashion Icons” list, presumably in an effort to support its recently re-launched “Style and Design” issue.

The criteria, as stated, is “most influential”. This is fair enough, though vague: influential over who? The masses? The industry? International? The US? It’s unclear. The timeline begins in 1923, the year of the magazine’s birth. Again, fine. Fashion as we know it largely began then too (though it means Charles Frederick Worth is not on the list). It includes designers, brands, muses, photographers, models, editors and stylists — a good mix. The problem is in the seemingly random nature of the final choice. Read more

Can fashion save publishing and can publishing save fashion? So did I wonder when news of a new coffee table book from Rizzoli entitled “Celebrities in Dior” with Dior ambassadoress Charlize Theron on the cover arrived. Before you roll your eyes and say “big whoop,” know this: I think this is a lot more than a thinly disguised star-fashion-tome. In fact, I think it’s very revealing, both of a new publishing reality and a super-smart and subtle Dior strategy.
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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

Phoebe Philo. Getty Images/AFP

Phoebe Philo. Getty Images/AFP

OK, I know that’s a bit of a misleading headline: LVMH LOVES a show. But between the extreme foot-dragging about signing a new creative force at Dior (which, technically, actually owns Paris-based LVMH, as opposed to the other way around, but for efficiency’s sake let’s acknowledge that those initials have come to stand for both), and today’s news that Celine, one of the group’s hottest brands, is not having a runway show during the upcoming ready-to-wear season because their designer, Phoebe Philo, will be eight months pregnant with her third child, it’s hard not to think that perhaps the luxury world’s biggest group may be itself rethinking the whole runway circus, and the cost/benefits involved. Read more

The freezing winter winds are now upon us, which means fashion’s spring/summer ad campaigns are about to launch, and the excited sneak peek emails have been coming thick and fast. The most recent comes from the house of Dior, who have signed Mila Kunis, the 28 year old actress from Black Swan, as their new “face.” Here’s my first reaction (and I liked her as an actress): groan.

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This is my last post of the year. Though I have been hanging on in terror that some perverse power play on the part of Dior will cause them to announce their designer WHEN EVERYONE IS AWAY FROM THEIR DESKS – hah! Panic in the fashion newsroom – I have finally decided to turn off the computer, and in a few hours I’m off to the not-entirely-frozen north and the great Canadian woods to hang with the coyotes. The real kind, not the metaphorical human kind. I will leave you with one of the few virtual cards I received this Christmas that actually made me smile.

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The flagship superstore is getting yet another special feature: after cafes and restaurants (Armani, Gucci), concert halls (Chanel), bookstores (Marc Jacobs, Armani), and art galleries (LV), comes actual film theatres. Louis Vuitton has announced their new maison in Rome will “house a small cinema show casing art films from contemporary artists.” This is an arresting new development. Read more

Yesterday, for the first time, Antonio Tajani, the European Commission’s VP for industry, met with a bunch of luxury companies like Chanel, Dior, Pucci, MaxMara and Harrods to talk about what the brands and the EU might be able to do for each other. Wait — the first time? Yes, weird as that may sound, after two years of lobbying, the ECCIA (European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance) finally succeeded in getting Brussels’ attention. Read more

The Chambre Syndicale, French fashion’s governing body, has just announced Versace is returning to the couture schedule eight years after leaving it due to cutbacks. Is this good news? Or rather, is it enough good news?
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Art and fashion have had a notoriously long affair, with the former attracted to the glamour and glitz of the latter, and the latter attracted to the former for the creative legitimacy it can bestow on an essentially commercial endeavor, but rarely has one actually crossed over into the territory of the other. As of this Christmas season, however, Marc Quinn — he of Saatchi Young British Artists, “blood head”, and Traflager Square plinth/disabled marble bust fame – is breaking the rules.

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In the “can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-giant-branded-oak-tree” category I would like to nominate all luxury industry watchers (myself included), who have been so distracted by Burberry’s public assumption of tech-God status, recently met by Gucci, that they have TOTALLY OVERLOOKED the real challenger to both those thrones: Estee Lauder.

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Go away for a week in July when things are supposed to be on a restful downward slump post-men’s wear, pre-collections, and couture, and what happens? Action! Kenzo has gone and appointed a new design team, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim of US high hipster retailer Opening Ceremony to replace Antonio Marras; Harvey Weinstein and Sarah Jessica Parker have disengaged from Halston entirely; and Bernard Arnault has given an interview to Newsweek announcing the end of the “star designer.” If I was a paranoid conspiracy theorist, I might see all of these as related.

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In the wake of the Prada IPO, where some investors balked at having to pay Italian taxes on their share purchases, according to Guangzhou Daily the government has announced plans to cut their taxes on luxury imports to the mainland by 2-15%. Brands all over Europe must be celebrating. Ooooooh the possibilities! The mind boggles.

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In all the rumours floated about who would be the next big creative director at Dior, from names old (Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, Vuitton’s Marc Jacobs) to new-ish (Haider Ackerman and Sarah Burton) one that hasn’t been mentioned but has, I discovered, actually been called, is perhaps the most surprising of all: Azzedine Alaia. I had heard whispers, but he just confirmed it.

To be fair, from a sheer talent point of view, this is not surprising: Mr Alaia is often voted by his peers one of the most influential designers ever (really ever; not just of the 20th century), and has been building a house of singular vision for decades.

He is also one of the last hands-on couturiers, beloved by his atelier. Part of the conundrum facing Dior is they need a designer who can work with the couture, and most youngsters, brought up on ready-to-wear, don’t have the know-how. Read more

The Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world is out and guess what: there’s only ONE fashion person on it: Tom Ford.  Read more

It never rains but it pours: less than a month after John Galliano’s public implosion and firing from Dior, LVMH (which is actually owned by Dior) faces another hoo-ha, as the ex-CFO/COO of Marc Jacobs International, Patrice Lataillade, sues both the Group (which owns a chunk of MJ, just as Dior owned a majority of John Galliano’s eponymous company), MJI, and MJI president Robert Duffy in Manhattan Supreme Court for sexual discrimination.

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