Anya Hindmarch is going to be late. I know this because her office emailed me twice on the day of our dinner to alert me to the probability; she is coming from a meeting with Bergdorf Goodman on 57th Street and we are eating downtown and, well … traffic.
Much hoo-ha this week about Marks & Spencer’s announcement they hired photographer Annie Leibovitz for their autumn/winter ad campaign – mostly because Ms Leibovitz is famous for her creative high-celebrity portraiture (as seen in Vanity Fair), and M&S is famous for…well, not reaching for quite such exclusive stars. And I mean that both literally and metaphorically. The pictures, which feature famous British women from actress Helen Mirren to artists Tracy Emin and model/singer Karen Elson, are very pretty, but I still wonder if, for a company that has been making headlines because of falling clothing sales, this was actually money well spent. Read more
I had a very illuminating chat yesterday with Jimmy Choo chief executive Pierre Denis. He’s been in the job not quite a year now (previously he was ceo of John Galliano, so you can understand the job change), and has started to articulate the brand’s story going forward. Put simply: it’s history, people. Read more
What do you do when you are stuck in a non-compete for a year? Write a memoir, which is in part a tell-all about your former employer! Such, anyway, seems the approach of Tamara Mellon, who left Jimmy Choo, the shoe brand she built into a global luxury powerhouse after it was sold to Labelux, and whose book, In My Shoes, is slated to appear on October 1. It seems to me the timing is particularly canny. Read more
Yesterday LNK Partners, a White Plains, NY-based P.E. firm, announced they had closed a second $400 million fund (oversubscribed, natch), specifically aimed at investing in “the consumer/retail sector.” Yes, yet more proof that all of us who thought when Permira sold Valentino to the Qatari royal family, it marked the end of PE’s brief flirtation with the unpredictable world of fashion were wrong. There’s life in that there investment relationship yet. 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
For anyone wondering why a few days ago there was another post on this blog about Jimmy Choo’s new bridal collection — and then there wasn’t: mea culpa.
There’s an industry truism which holds that fashion brands should focus, publicly at least, on their “fashion” lines — the ones that change every season, demonstrate their “vision” and drive consumers into stores — as opposed to their more commercial endeavours (e.g. bridal). Read more
The other day I got a nice email informing me that Marigay McKee, formerly Harrods’ Fashion & Beauty director, had been promoted to “Chief Merchant Officer,” a relatively new title in the luxury world as far as I can tell (and one not to be confused with that other CMO, chief marketing officer), but one that, I think, reflects not just a titular promotion, but a systemic change in industry thinking. Read more
Not so long ago I spoke to Tamara Mellon about Labelux, the German luxury group that is privately owned by the reclusive Reimann family, and the fact they had bought her company, Jimmy Choo, from TowerBrook private equity. She was thrilled. And yet, here we are, a mere half year later, and Ms Mellon and her CEO, Josh Schulman, have both resigned. What happened?
It’s shaping up to be a big weekend for British fashion. On one hand we have Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, doing her best to represent every level of British brand available on the Canadian leg of her North American tour; on the other we have Kate Moss’s wedding. After all, just think about what it means for a designer every time they appear in a brand.
According to the NY Post, Aerin Lauder, the current family standard bearer of the Lauder cosmetic empire (so much so that she actually was the face of the relaunch of her grandmother Estee’s favourite fragrance, Youth Dew), as well as an SVP, is Leaving the Company to Start her Own Brand. This is a big deal. Read more
Theoretically, faced with earthquakes, bankruptcy, etc., a name should be the one thing you can always hang on to. Not in fashion. Here is a short and non-comprehensive list of living designers who have lost their names in recent years:Herve Leger; Roland Mouret; Jil Sander; Helmut Lang – and so on. This is a big question mark over John Galliano, whose brand is owned by Dior, — will they sell his name back to him? Can he afford it? Will they close it? Or what? And now rumours are circlign around Jimmy Choo.
Luxury leaves 2010 on a high note. Most analysts see good things for 2011 – the folks at HSBC, noting the positive performance of watches and jewellery last month, even say: “It is hard to find industries with better fundamental prospects than luxury for 2011.”
Indeed, post-end-of-year auction on December 14, Christie’s reports they had “a record-breaking year for fine and rare watches” with an estimated “$91.2m in total sales – the highest annual total ever achieved for watches.” Meanwhile, Tom Murry, ceo of Calvin Klein, told me they were having a very good Christmas season, and plan to open double-digit stores next year, and Tamara Mellon, chief creative officer of Jimmy Choo, has world domination in mind, and plans to expand into ready-to-wear, watches, and jewellery, after launching mens’ shoes. 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.
Tonight, Tamara Mellon is being honoured by the Elton John Foundation at their 9th annual “Enduring Vision” benefit, for having raised $3.5 million for the charity. It’s a big deal. Still, as much as I admire Ms Mellon’s accomplishment, as I mull over her appearance this evening and consider the piece in today’s FT about the fact women have made surprisingly few incursions into contemporary boardrooms, I can’t help thinking that in many ways, her real pioneering achievement has to do less with monies raised (where she’s successful, but not singular) and more to do with, well, appearance. Specifically, challenging accepted ideas of how a female member of the c-suite needs to appear. Read more