Hermes

Turns out, while LVMH’s mouth was busy with its results announcement last week, insisting once again they had nothing but cuddly-wuddly intentions toward Hermes, their hands were busy shelling out for Ole Henriksen, the LA-based “botanical beauty brand.”  Read more

The Hermes/LVMH story just keeps running and running. Today the French luxury treasure (ok, I admit, the AMF is still reviewing the designation, but lets go with the current decision) announced its 2010 results, a day before its unwanted suitor comes out with theirs.  Read more

So eBay has gotten itself a creative director, in the form of ex-Lucky mag staffer Andrea Linett, to gloss-up its fashion offerings. At least we know they can recognize a trend when they see one.

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Today the AMF, the French securities regulator, approved the defensive plan of a group of Hermes family shareholders to pool their stock to create a holding company for over 50% of the company equity without having to make a public tendor offer for other minority shareholdings. Given that the holding company has been engineered solely to make it impossible for LVMH, which before Christmas announced they owned over 20% of Hermes shares, to acquire a majority of the heritage brand, this seems to me to imply the belief that 1) the AMF accepts Hermes’ position that LVMH does not have the best interests of the brand at heart, but just Wants To Make Money (horrors!); and 2) Hermes has somehow transcended product status to become synonymous with France, or a certain French heritage/craftsmanship, and the regulators think this deserves protection like any monument.
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LVMH just announced that they had upped their stake in Hermes, picking up enough additional shares to cross the 20 per cent threshold. In other words, all that lyrical public posturing by the Hermes family members asking Bernard Arnault to leave them alone in their beautiful garden achieved exactly … nothing. My guess is it actually inflamed Mr Arnault’s famously competitive instincts. (Hate to say I told you so, but….)

LVMH’s official position remains the same: they want to support a French national treasure, no plans to take over, yadda yadda yadda — just, well, the opportunity was there (and, as someone said to me earlier, “20 per cent sounds so much better than 17 per cent”). Read more

It’s that time of year when everyone looks back, assesses, makes their naughty and nice lists, and, in this world (ie, the world of this blog) generally makes best and worst dressed lists, which as far as I can tell, are just handy excuses to re-print as many pictures as possible of Gwyneth Paltrow. So I was quite pleased to discover the CBS business network (bnet) had instead come up with the 10 worst fashion business mistakes of 2010. Read more

LVMH’s recent filing with the French regulatory authorities re its purchase of shares in Hermes over the weekend was notable as much for that fact that the Giant Globe-Straddling Luxury Group admitted they may, in fact, want to buy another chunk of Hermes, as for their disclosure that they had finessed their first purchase through equity swaps. Read more

Apparently owners of fashion and luxury stocks are as susceptible to trends as owners of fashion and luxury products. Post-LVMH’s purchase of a stake in Hermes, Women’s Wear Daily notes stocks in LVMH and Hermes were up 5% and 8% respectively on the Paris Bourse; PPR was up 1.5%.  Read more

Be still the beating hearts of luxury analysts everywhere. The rumours turned out to be true, the predictions were fulfilled, and today LVMH announced they had bought 15,016,000 shares of Hermès International, the jewel in the French luxury crown — or 14.2% of the share capital of the company. With intentions to increase their stake. Read more

PPR is putting luxury on hold and charging forward into sportswear and sustainability. Yesterday, the French conglomerate displayed its trademark dispassionate ability to end (or suspend) industrial dalliances it feels may become less than productive by announcing the creation of – and concentration on — a new “sport and lifestyle” division run by Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz, who has also been promoted to Executive Chairman of Puma. Still, I’m more struck by the lead the group buried: the fact Mr Zeitz is becoming not only Puma’s Executive Chairman, but also PPR’s Chief Sustainability Officer.

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Skirts are not the only thing getting longer this season; so, apparently, are job titles. Tom Florio, the ex-VP of the Vogue Group (which once consisted of four magazines but shrank during the recession to two magazines and some web sites) has just landed at IMG, the sports/fashion management monolith, as “Senior Advisor for Fashion to the Office of the Chairman.” It’s a mouthful.

It also sounds awfully like those Minister Without Portfolio titles beloved by so many heads of state, and almost always disliked by everyone else (like cabinet ministers), who feel said minister is spending too much time interfering in other people’s official and titular business.

Certainly the fact that Mr Florio’s job “will be…identifying new, high margin product offerings across all of IMG’s Fashion related businesses” (this from the press release) cannot be encouraging for the folks currently at IMG’s fashion-related business, who apparently were not so good at identifying those opportunities themselves. To allay such fears Florio told the New York Post that when you work with an entrepreneur like IMG chief Ted Forstmann, titles were “irrelevant.”

How reassuring. If you believe that, you might be interested to know Hermes is for sale. Read more

The Interbrand 100 best global brands list 2010 just came out, and there was some interesting (or depressing, depending on your perspective), movement in the luxury rankings.  Read more

This morning Bain & Company released a study, in conjunction with American Vogue, on the shopping habits of the “style-conscious” US consumer.  Read more

Luxury accessory brands must be in mourning: Latterly famous for owning a reported 100 Hermes Birkin bags, Victoria Beckham has switched sides this season from buyer to seller, adding leather (and croc, and lizard, and suede) arm candy to her eponymous brand. It completes her – or, to be specific, it completes her transition to multi-dimensional brand, complete with entry-level aspirational accessories.

Composed of clutches, shoulder bags, and starring a large boxy bag named – yes – the Victoria, which looks like a cross between a Birkin and a shopper, with a flat top closure for easy access (this was smart), the line also includes a large unisex travel bag large enough to fit a football. “I had to make something David could use,” quoth the woman who once indirectly dubbed herself Mrs Goldenballs. Perhaps Golden Bags might be a better title, though.