It doesn’t rain but it pours! Following Swatch’s purchase of Harry Winston, PPR has announced it has bought 51 per cent of hot young British brand Christopher Kane. That’s him, left, with stylist Caroline Seiber.
This marks the third British ready-to-wear brand owned by the French Group (it also has a joint venture with Stella McCartney and 51 per cent of Alexander McQueen), the first such young brand acquisition by a major luxury group since the recession, and the third in a series of PPR purchases: first Italian menswear brand Brioni, then Chinese jewellery brand Qeelin, and now Kane. It is up to something, no question. Where some see risk – buying a luxury brand at a time when consumer attitudes towards luxury itself are uncertain and China, aka the promised land, is experiencing a slowdown – they clearly see opportunity.
Diega Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s Group (and known internally largely as DDV, which is what we will cal him for brevity’s sake) is, it turns out, as susceptible to trend as any fashionista – only with DDV, it’s his own trends. Yesterday he was celebrating a new niche collection made by Love editor Katie Grand for his Hogan line, Ms Grand being the second cool British editor DDV has signed up; previously he got Jefferson Hack, aka Kate Moss’s ex, aka founder of Dazed & Confused, to make a small line of shoes for Tod’s. Are your fad sensors tingling yet?
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.
Briefly in Milan for the furniture fair, I was chatting at a Poltrona Frau dinner to Luca di Montezemolo, whose private equity firm Charme owns Frau, when he announced happily that this weekend he and Diego Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s (along with Gianni Punzo, Bank Intesa Sanpaolo, Generali and the French rail company SNCF), will become the proud parents of yet another luxury item: Europe’s first fully privately-owned high speed luxury train
The new NTV high-speed Italo train. Image by Getty
It never rains but it pours, and so on. In those terms, this month the fashion world is experiencing a deluge. After the departures of Stefano Pilati and Raf Simons from YSL and Jil Sander respectively, and the expected departure of Derek Lam from Tods at September and the end of his contract, come two more announcements: Lucy Yeomans is leaving as editor in chief of Harper’s Bazaar UK and Amanda Brooks has left as fashion director of Barneys New York. This is, as they say, a moment of change.
I’m telling you: ides of March. Rumours have spread like wildfire that Derek Lam, the American designer who has been creative director of Tod’s for the last six years, has parted ways with the brand. The Tod’s folks are have been hiding from all emails and phone calls since last night, but they aren’t denying it. If it’s true, it has interesting implications for the future of luxury.
Prada did it. Moncler almost did it. Ferragamo is about to do it and so, at some point, is Renzo Rosso of Diesel and Brunello Cucinelli. But Giorgio Armani thinks no one should do it – and Diego Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s, has now taken him to task. “It,” of course, is a public listing, currently the trendiest way to raise funds among Italian fashion brands.
Diego Della Valle, chairman of Tod’s Group, has just taken the race for the new Chinese consumer, aka the Great Eastern Hope of the luxury industry, to a new level, and claimed them for – well, not just himself, but his country.
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.
Diego Della Valle, chairman of the Tods Group, holder of 19.05% of Saks Fifth Avenue, owner of Fiorentino FC, and BFF of Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, possible Berlusconi rival, is stepping up his efforts to become the saviour of the Made in Italy brand, broadly defined. Defined, in fact, to include any cultural institution that is, or has been, Made in Italy