Duchess of Cambridge

As the royal babywatch enters what are presumably its final days (or even hours) I admit: I cannot wait for the Royal Windsor baby to be born – not because I’m actually panting to see said heir, but because hopefully it will stop the flood of emails I get every morning heralding yet another fancy baby product. Now, I get that this seems an extraordinary opportunity for the high-end baby market, which is currently one of the fastest growing segments of the high-end fashion market, with brands from Dolce & Gabbana to Gucci, Burberry, and Fendi launching kidswear. I get that the Duchess of Cambridge is one of the most influential figures around when it comes to moving product. But what I don’t get is why everyone thinks she is going to move really expensive product. Read more

Getty Images

The first week of every year is always a week of predictions (fiscal cliff shenanigans aside, it’s generally a slow news week, what with holidays and all). Most of those I’ve seen so far have been non-controversial – Europe will continue to stagnate; there will be political turmoil in the Middle East; a sub-set of Republicans in Congress will behave badly; emerald green is the colour of the year (except please, not for ties) – which makes me wonder why, in the fashion world, no one thought to suggest what I expect will be the single most obvious trend of the year.

What is this glaring opportunity? High-end designer maternity wear.

I mean, really: what other niche is left to fill? And now that super-merchandise-movers/unpaid brand ambassadors the Duchess of Cambridge and Kim Kardashian will both be needing bump-accommodating gear, and people and paparazzi pages everywhere are guaranteed to follow and report on their every clothing choice with slavish devotion during their pregnancies, thus ensuring they will have to look chic and elegant no matter what sized basketball they have attached to their front. What better moment to launch? Read more

This is shaping up to be a trend. Yesterday the Duchess of Cambridge wore a DVF coat – double rows of buttons, epaulets – to the Remembrance Day ceremonies, which was the VERY SAME DVF coat she wore last year. Seems to me this is a statement not unlike that of Mrs O’s wearing an old Michael Kors dress at her husband’s electoral victory moment last week. Read more

Marwyn Management Partners (MMP), the UK-based listed investment and management group, has just doubled down on the luxury market. After starting the on-line HNW members-only shopping deal site Luxup, directed in part at the Chinese tourist market and in part at amassing a mind-boggling amount of information on individuals’ shopping habits, MMP just announced an agreement to acquire le Chameau, the French maker of luxury rubber boots, from current owners Lafuma. Read more

Oooooh, I sense another Fashion Week trend! After the Qatari sovereign wealth fund bought Harrod’s in 2010, and an un-named Qatari bought a large minority chunk of Anya Hindmarch in August – and following the Qatari royal Family’s purchase of Valentino the month before — now a private equity fund, AGC, backed by Middle Eastern investors, has taken the bulk of the minority stake in UK ready-to-wear brand Amanda Wakeley, a go-to label for the Duchess of Cambridge (that’s her, wearing AW, in both photos below). Does no one else think something significant is going on? Read more

Let’s do a quick recap here: in the last two years the Qatari soverign wealth fund has bought all of Harrod’s and a 5.2% stake in Tiffany’s; the Qatari royal family bought Valentino; and yesterday, it was announced that An Unnamed Qatari Investor had bought 38% of Anya Hindmarch. There’s a new luxury player in the land, and he – or she — is spending! But who is this masked man? And why are the Qataris suddenly making such a big play in luxury? Read more

Vanity Fair has released its annual international best-dressed list a few days earlier than the September issue where it appears, and though it is rife with the usual suspects (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge; Jay-Z; Diane Kruger) what’s really interesting is who is NOT on it.Michelle Obama, for example, who was on it for the last few years. Christine Lagarde, who made it in 2011. And any titan of business or banking other than super-social hedge fund czar Arki Busson, and Matteo Marzotto, who owns Vionnet, a fashion brand. This strike anyone else as implausible? Read more

I was struck yesterday, watching the Duchess of Cambridge at the culminating jubilee ceremonies in her cream lace Alexander McQueen dress, that had I not gotten a zillion emails telling me it was an Alexander McQueen, I never would have guessed it – and that this what-you-see-versus-what-you-assume-gap may become something of a problem for the brand. Read more

This morning, looking at pictures of Kate Middleton in the black and white lace Alice Temperley gown she wore for her first royal film premier yesterday (Steven Speilberg’s “War Horse”), I was struck by the fact that it seems the Duchess of Cambridge only wears British designers for dress-up. There’s an interesting choice here.  Read more

Anyone else notice anything surprising about the Duchess of Cambridge’s appearance yesterday at a homeless shelter in a 350 GBP Ralph Lauren polo-neck dress? Let me repeat that: a GBP350 RALPH LAUREN polo neck dress. Ralph Lauren? An American designer on the Princess-to-be? Shocking!

 Read more