PPR

Poor PPR comms team: they walked into our FT Business of Luxury conference this morning and were immediately accosted by gazillions of delegates (ok, that’s an exaggeration, but there were lots) as well as yours truly, wondering whether there was any truth to the rumours being mooted by La Tribune that PPR was getting ready to buy another luxury behemoth like Polo Ralph Lauren, Burberry, or Prada. Read more

If last week saw creative directors playing musical chairs, with Hannah MacGibbon out at Chloe, to be replaced by Pringle’s ex Clare Waight Keller, and Patrick Robinson dumped by the Gap, today it looks like it’s corporate’s turn. British accessory success story Anya Hindmarch has announced a new CEO, its first outside exec ever, in the form of James McArthur, while at Boucheron PPR says Jean-Christophe Bedos is being replaced by Pierre Bouissou, who left as managing director of rival LVMH’s Berluti last year.
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So the answer is in: Sarah Burton did indeed make Kate Middleton’s wedding dress. A major British brand for a new British royal.

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Royal Wedding Day minus 1 and slowly the sartorial chips are falling into place. Read more

There’s a report in today’s FT about falling luxury stocks on the back of the situation in Japan, but in reality, luxury groups have spent the last 10 years strategising about how to replace Japan on the balance sheet (China, anyone?), so in a way they were among the most prepared companies for the effects of the current disaster.

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The Economist says bling is back. I’m not so sure. Their reasoning seems to be based on two observations, one having to do with shopping bags, the other with sales. It seems to me there are some pretty big conceptual leaps going on here.

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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

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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Today, Alexander McQueen announced it was taking control of its second line, McQ, after the current spring/summer 2011 collection. For the last five years since its launch, McQ has been produced under license by an Italian firm, SINV SpA. Its current creative director, Pina Ferlisi, will continue in that role, under the guidance of Sarah Burton, current creative director of the main line. This is interesting, for a few reasons.

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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