Giorgio Armani

LVMH has confirmed it has taken a minority stake in Young Italian Designer (we will not acronym that for obvious reasons) Marco de Vincenzo, making him the second such up-and-comer to receive such investment from the luxury behemoth, and underscoring the increasing competition among the established groups to identify, and potentially own, new talent. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but there’s no question, it’s putting its money where its mouth is. At least some money. Read more

Today may be the day the big names – Marc Jacobs, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein – come out to play in New York, but in Paris it’s all about the new ones. The shortlist for the LVMH Young Designer’s Prize, which was launched last November by Delphine Arnault, has just been unveiled, creating much buzzing amid the fashion crowd. It includes most of the hot names in New York and London, many of which have also been finalists for the Vogue Fashion fund competitions in both countries, or the Dorchester prize, or sponsored by Giorgio Armani. And I wonder: is the competition greater among the baby brands vying for the awards, or among the mega brands bestowing them? I tend to think the answer may actually be the latter. I saw her first! No, I did! Read more

It just keeps growing! As Forbes pointed out, the Versace stake currently for sale would value the company at $5.8 billion – most likely vaulting Allegra and Santo Versace into the B-league. They would join fellow Italians Giorgio Armani, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, Renzo Rosso, and Miuccia Prada and Patrizio Bertelli at the top of the luxury earners list – at least as of last year (this year’s rankings are still being tabulated). That makes Italy, as far as I can tell, the land with the largest amount of luxury industry billionaires. Interesting, no? Read more

Anyone else think this is a halcyon time for young designers? I mean, first the big luxury groups make their first investments in new names since way back at the turn of the millennium (back in the day when Tom Ford built Gucci Group by adding Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen), with Kering buying a majority of Christopher Kane and a big minority of Joseph Altuzarra, and LVMH helping out Maxime Simoens, and reportedly scouting JW Anderson. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read more

Oooh, the trash talk out of Milan. Having finally woken up to the fact that London Fashion Week is getting buzzier, and that such a development could be a threat to Milan, its collections, and the related economic windfall that comes to a city during showtime, Milanese designers are joining forces to defend their territory – but the infighting has already begun. The gossip and name-calling is fun to watch, but behind it is a real issue currently afflicting every fashion week: the tension between national industry interest and a brand’s self-interest. Read more

Not only did Hermès report notably good Q2 revenues today – sales growth was 21.9%, certainly more positive than the gloom from Puma and Burberry – but yesterday I discovered something even more shocking: they’re outfitting an Olympic team too! Specifically, the French Equestrian team. Who knew? Read more

Does anyone else feel like suddenly everywhere they turn, another erstwhile satisfied luxury brand is re-christening themselves a “luxury lifestyle” brand, talking about their “global universe” and otherwise attempting to own every aspect of a consumer purse? It’s like The Birds: you see one example circling and think, “oh, that’s interesting,” and the next thing you know the whole flock has obliterated the sky.

But here’s what I want to know: why? And what, exactly, do these brands mean when they attach the word “lifestyle” to themselves? Read more

If there were an Olympic medal for retail (and why not, given the ever-burgeoning sponsorship opportunities?) Stella McCartney would win the first one by a mile.

British athletes, triple jumper Phillips Idowu (L) and heptathlete Jessica Ennis (R) pose with designer Stella McCartney (C) as they unveil the new British Olympic Team GB kit. Getty Images

British athletes, triple jumper Phillips Idowu (L) and heptathlete Jessica Ennis (R) pose with designer Stella McCartney (C) as they unveil the new British Olympic Team GB kit. Getty Images

While the rest of London is complaining about queues at the airport, queues for the tube, and queues for queues, the “Creative Director” of Team GB’s kit is leveraging her moment in the athletic sun far beyond her competitors. Indeed, I’d venture to say a new record has been set that will be a benchmark for years to come. Read more

When the iPad 3 went on-sale at midnight last friday night it provoked the usual frenzy — miles of lines, ecstatic buyers — as well as one very interesting blog that somehow seems to have fallen through the cracks over the weekend. It takes a good, analytic look at the general perception that Apple is a luxury brand and points out that it does tick all the luxury boxes save one: exclusivity. But here’s what I wonder: is exclusivity really a luxury value these days?

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Adele in Giorgio Armani at the Grammy Awards (AP)

The perils of betting on celebrity dressing were potently illustrated at the Grammy awards. The night’s superstar, Adele, wore — wait for it — Giorgio Armani to accept her six gongs, before changing into Clements Ribeiro for her performance and Burberry for her finale.

I say “perils” because yesterday, as I made the rounds of New York Fashion Week, I heard two separate design camps claim she would be wearing them.

The first time was at the Zac Posen show, when an insider mentioned that, fingers crossed, Adele was going to be wearing one of their dresses. It wasn’t 100 per cent sure, she said, but it looked good.

Posen is a red-carpet favourite, and both Reese Witherspoon and Elle MacPherson wore him to the Golden Globes last month, so this seemed plausibe. Read more

So far the hands-down best moment of New York fashion week (for me, of course) has been the Miguel Adrover show, a mad romp back in time to the days when there was an actual underground in this city’s designers, and men and women existed who just Had to Make Fashion, with nary a care for a commercial component. Read more

And so the McQueen blockbuster has finally come to an end, the most successful fashion show the Metropolitan Museum has ever put on. So where, inquiring minds want to know, will it go next? No where. Apparently, unlike almost every other cultural arena, from theatre to musicals to music to books to film to other museum shows, a sell-out fashion show is not a transferable proposition. Yeah, right. And I have a bridge I can sell you. Read more

Prada did it. Moncler almost did it. Ferragamo is about to do it and so, at some point, is Renzo Rosso of Diesel and Brunello Cucinelli. But Giorgio Armani thinks no one should do it – and Diego Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s, has now taken him to task. “It,” of course, is a public listing, currently the trendiest way to raise funds among Italian fashion brands.
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The Metropolitan Museum of Art has announced its next great Costume Institute theme: Alexander McQueen! And the underwriter of show as well as the opening night party, aka the Party of the Year, aka the ultimate nexus of fashion and celebrity and society (chairs are Stella McCartney, Colin Firth and Anna Wintour; honorary chairs are PPR chief Francois-Henri Pinault, owner of McQueen, and his wife, Salma Hayek), is…Alexander McQueen! What a surprise.

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Valerie Wilson Plame, the subject of the new movie “Fair Game,” which features costumes by Giorgio Armani, has confessed to WWD that when she had to testify before Congress she went out and bought herself some… Armani. Think they had to drag it out of her?

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Mayor Bloomberg’s love affair with fashion (and what it can bring to the local economy) continues apace. After cutting the ribbon on the Armani flagship store on Fifth Avenue, celebrating Burberry’s new store on Madison, and opening New York Fashion Week’s new home at Lincoln Centre, the Mayor has turned his affection to Ralph Lauren, who was awarded the key to New York City last night during a celebratory cocktail at the new RL womens’ flagship on Madison Avenue.

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Something interesting is percolating up in Milanese fashion, and it has nothing to do with runways.

It has to do with things like “sustainability” and “long-term thinking” and “self-preservation” – also “procreation”, with emphasis on the latter part of the word.

To be specific, it has to do with the industry finally thinking about its own future, and the fact that if it’s going to have one, it has to start working on the logistics. Which means, at its most basic level, supporting young designers. Read more

The Vanity Fair New Establishment 100 list has just been unveiled, and its criteria for picking “the 100 most influential” are increasingly impenetrable. Read more