Take that Kering. You have a hot young British designer? Now WE have a hot young British designer. Today LVMH announced it has purchased a majority stake in UK shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood for an undisclosed amount (that’s actress Rooney Mara wearing his shoes, left), making him the second YBD this year to get snapped up by a big brand, following Kering’s acquisition of Christopher Kane. As one British style watcher said, “they’re buying like it’s 1999.” So what’s going on? Read more

Has anyone else notice the bizarre and unending proliferation of super-size shoe departments at megastores everywhere? Today Selfridges unveiled its new gigantic men’s footwear floor, trumpeting it as “the largest men shoe department in the world:” over 15,000 square feet and 250 brands. Yoiks! This follows the recent creation of the “world’s largest woman’s shoe floor” at Macy’s NY, a whopping 39,000 square feet; last summer’s reveal of Barneys new unisex shoe floor, which is 40% bigger than its last piddly pair of shoe departments; and Saks’ addition of 7,000 square feet of women’s shoe space to its existing shoe department. Call me Scrooge, but this doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
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Tomorrow the folks behind and, two leading etail ventures, are launching store number three. Unlike the first two sites, which are ready-to-wear boutiques that offer, respectively, less expensive last-season merchandise and cutting edge fashion, this one has a particular focus: shoes. Specifically 1000 styles of shoe, retailing for between €180-1,000. That’s a lot of footwear.

When I asked Federico Marchetti, chief executive of the Yoox Group, the obvious question — is there really such a big market for shoes and only shoes, or is this a niche sideline? — he responded with some pretty striking numbers. Read more