LVMH

And just like that – OK, just like that with $750 million plus the assumption of up to US$250 million of pro forma net debt – Swatch becomes a major luxury jewellery player. Today they announced the acquisition of the luxury arm of Harry Winston Diamond corporation. It is an image-changing buy.
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The Missoni family. Getty Images

As the search for Vittorio Missoni’s plane continues, four days after it was originally reported missing, the depth of public identification with – and affection for – the Missoni family is being revealed (pictured from left are founder Ottavio; daughter and designer Angela; founder and Ottavio’s wife, Rosita; son and CEO Vittorio; and son and creative director Luca).

Here, for example, are some of the Twitter posts in response to #findvittoriomissoni, which Vittorio Missoni’s son, Ottavio Jr, posted when the plane disappeared: Read more

The annoucement today that Michael Burke, one of LVMH’s longest-serving executives, would become chief executive of Louis Vuitton, LVMH’s biggest brand, was an interesting one. Not because it reflects any Machiavellian planning on the part of the Group — Mr Burke’s predessecor, Jordi Constans, who had joined Vuitton from Danone, was forced to step down for health reasons — but because it’s a very safe decision on the part of LVMH.

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The other day I discovered The LiP, aka Luxury in Progress, aka Labelux’s on-line luxury site (launched wholly under the radar), and was struck by how much it resembled Nowness, LVMH’s on-line video site, in the way it separated company values from object. Luxury marketing without product pushing! What an idea. It works, theoretically at least, on four levels.

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Oooooh those PPR folks are making the gossip waters churn. Today reports say NY hipster designer Alexander Wang is the top candidate for the artistic director job (artistic director, creative director, designer – does no one else wish these companies would regularise their titles?), while rumours are that Christopher Kane, the erstwhile favourite for that spot, is actually being looked at in the context of buying his eponymous brand! Good gosh and golly. Two young designers at once! Both would be surprising moves, however, seems to me.
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Today PPR announced, in one of the terser emails I’ve gotten, that they had mutually decided to part ways with uber-designer, fashion favourite, and more superlatives like that, Nicholas Ghesquiere. November 30th will be his last day. So what do we think happened?

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Much heart-fluttering in recent days over the rumours that the luxury arm of diamond specialist Harry Winston may be snapped up by either PPR or LVMH. Oooooh! M&A action in the luxury sphere. It’s so hard to resist. Perhaps that why Winston actually issued an official “Nothing doing” statement – albeit with a bit of a sideways wink at possible suitors. It’s lips are saying no, but its eyes….
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For anyone still chortling over the end of the It bag – the laugh’s on you, if the folks at LVMH (who know their accessories), are to be believed. On the Q3 results conference call today both spokesperson Chris Hollis and CFO Jean-Jacques Guinoy specifically referred to handbags as engines of growth for not one but three—count ‘em! – of their brands. Read more

Earlier today I wrote about the odd idea that came to me after reading Bain’s 11th Luxury Goods Market report, but now I’d like to simply list a few more notable — and surprising — conclusions from that exciting document, including facts on outlet shopping, Gen Z, and a new Chinese consumer segment. Read more

You know that song “Blame Canada” that has entered the annals of history thanks to South Park? Well, now it has a literary competitor: a new book by historian William Howard Adams from Potomac Books entitled “On Luxury.” The subtitle is “A Cautionary Tale,” but it fact the general argument can be summed up in two word: “Blame luxury.” For everything. Read more

Forget Belgium; Bernard Arnault should follow a number of his compatriots and move to the UK. The small country to the North (sorry) certainly appears to be doing its best to woo the mogul — aka France’s richest man, aka chairman of LVMH, the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate — anyway, by vaulting him up the honours ranks. Today, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office announced the Queen is giving M Arnault the relatively rare KBE, for “services to business and the wider community in the UK.”

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I just received what I think has got to be the most egregious example of mutual appreciation that I’ve yet seen on the part of luxury and the tax authorities that benefit from it. Which doesn’t mean it’s not significant. Read more

Anyone in doubt of the rising prominence of the men’s wear market, take note: super-dapper designer Stefano Pilati, who was rather unceremoniously dumped as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent just before his runway show last season, has found a new job as creative director of Ermenegildo Zegna and Agnona. It’s new role for the group, and it’s being announced with much hoo-ha. As well it should: it signals both an aggressive move to up their menswear designer profile, and a potential big move in womenswear. Read more

Last May, Johan Rupert, Richemont’s chairman, issued what is still my favourite quote on the subject of China and luxury, the implication of which was: China is a volcano, and it’s gonna blow. But when? This is, numerous luxury brand H1 results now in, the question bedevilling analysts, investors, and the brands themselves. Read more

Attention luxury shoppers: finally some news that would indicate the industry is not in quite as dire straits as trend-watchers keep predicting thanks to its foot-dragging, Luddite-like approach to on-line shopping. Read on! Read more

LVMH just announced the acquisition of Arnys, a family-owned French made-to-measure tailor established in 1933. It seems the plan is to combine it with Berluti, to give that brand, run by Antoine Arnault (aka Bernard Arnault’s eldest son) a super-high end suiting service. The former luxury shoe brand also launched men’s ready-to-wear last season. Take that, Savile Row! And take that, PPR! Read more

Prada CEO: “We don’t want to be a brand that nobody wants to copy.” This is a quote from an interview Patrizio Bertelli, aka Mr Prada, gave yesterday to Bloomberg TV, and it is probably going to set off something of a hoo-ha in fashion, which has of late become very publicly litiginous when it comes to copying. Read more

Today is the first day of Green Week, the EU’s biggest eco-conference, and to celebrate it LVMH, the EU’s biggest luxury group (in fact, the world’s) has stepped out and announced it, too , is going green, and is going to, “encourage its more than 90,000 employees to adopt state-of-the-art environmental practices.”

Why is this significant? You ask. As far as I remember, it’s the first time I’ve heard LVMH publicly commit to green goals and assume the green mantle. “Public” being the operative word here. Read more

I’ve been thinking recently of a conversation I had with Rodrigo Bazan, President of Alexander Wang, about the problem of pricing in a global luxury world – and his rather clever way of addressing the issue. The trigger was the news that European brands (well, mostly LVMH brands) are raising the prices of their products in Europe to compensate for the slight slowdown of business in Asia – caused, it seems, by Chinese buying luxury brands abroad, where they are notably cheaper than they are locally – which reminded me of something Mr Bazan had said of the luxury consumer in Asia: “when they see something they like, the first thing they do is Google it on the US web site of the brand, to see what the prices are in dollars.”

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Luxury brands from PPR to LVMH may be announcing more banner results this month, but according to a new report from UK luxury consultancy Ledbury Research, their CEOs are probably a lot more worried about the industry’s prospects in 2012 than they are letting on. Read more