Louis Vuitton

Well, this is a shocker: today a digital think tank called L2 is publishing a study, “L2 Prestige 100®: Facebook IQ,” which ranks the high-end brands as “Genius, gifted, average, challenged, and feeble” according to who uses Facebook best, and out of brands that span the auto, watch & jewellery, fashion, beauty, and spirits & champagne sectors, Burberry, normally held up as THE most web-savvy, digi-forward company in the luxury industry, ranks…average. Actually, it’s number 49.
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A fitting end to a strange, dark season.

Louis Vuitton fashion show

Yet another one of Bernard Arnault’s designers is leaving his empire, although at least this time it’s not under a cloud.  Read more

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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For anyone interested in the progress of American IP law, I highly recommend the fashionapparellawblog, run by US law firm Sheppard Mullin, who specialise in IP rights and have become one of the luxury industry’s go-to groups of attorneys in this highly fuzzy area. Read more

The New York Times magazine had a bumper package yesterday entitled “Shop China Shop!” Actually, the shopping story turned out to be subordinant to a bigger, Chinese economy story, but I guess it made a better cover. I hoped what was inside could answer a pressing question I’ve had about the lifespan of blingy luxury in emerging markets.

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Antoine Arnault, Bernard Arnault’s 33-year-old son from his first marriage, is stepping into the management hot seat. Though it has not been officially announced, insiders have confirmed he is leaving his current job as Communications Director of Louis Vuitton to become managing director of Berluti, the luxury shoe brand that LVMH bought in 1993, in the new year.  Read more

It never rains but it pours (and in Brooklyn, where I live, it just hailed). After the Gap on-line logo hoo-ha at the end of last week comes a report from the Stern business school at New York University and the think tank L2 entitled “Digital IQ Index: Luxury,” looking at how 72 luxury brands are handling themselves on-line, on their websites, social media, digital marketing and mobile apps. Guess what? They’re stuck in the mud!

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The other day, sitting waiting for a show to start, I was chatting to the man next to me about the sudden plethora of Louis Vuitton events scheduled for the end of Paris fashion week: Monday, a party celebrating the brand’s history as a reflection of the history of Paris at the Musee Carnavalet; Tuesday, a concert and art exhibit to celebrate Africa hosted by Edun’s Bono and Ali Hewson and Louis Vuitton; and today, Wednesday, the show, at the Louvre.

“I met with the Vuitton people not so long ago to do something,” my bench-mate noted. “But it was a small project, and they said they only like to do things in a big way: put lots of money, and get lots of results.” Guess so. But I’m more interested in the invisible knock-effects of all this spending. 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