Tom Ford

Yes, it’s that time again: the time to tally up the celebs to find out which-brand-won-the-red-carpet! I mean, clearly big awards shows are no longer simply about the work, are they? They’re about who wore it best, and whose picture will then get sent out to a quazillion media outlets, and which brand will then get tons of free advertising, and so on. We know this. So let’s take a look at last night’s BAFTA brand-dressed list (not best-dressed list). And the winner was…. Read more

If there is any doubt that menswear is now the Next Big Hope of luxury, let that be put to rest by last night’s Golden Globes. This morning, waking up as one does to the quazillion emails from brands trumpeting their celebrity “gets,” I was struck – as if by a 10-foot-pole – by how bigged up the men were. This can mean but one thing: glossy fashion brands, historically known more for their womenswear than menswear, are putting even more marketing muscle behind growing the male side of the business.  Read more

Having now spent an entire evening mulling over Nicolas Ghesquière’s move to Louis Vuitton – OMG! Time to think! Such a radical concept – I can’t help feeling a little tinge of regret that M Ghesquière ended up at another major brand, instead of opening his own house. Sure, I’m excited to see what he does at Vuitton, and how the brand gets re-imagined with a new team, both corporate and creative, but at the same time, the fashion world feels smaller, rather than larger: instead of adding a new brand, and maybe a truly new designer to an old brand, which would create two new opportunities, we’ve simply engaged in yet more musical chairs. And I keep wondering why? Read more

PPR-about-to-be-Kering is on something of another spending spree. In the last two days they have announced two (count ‘em) acquisitions in Italy: the jewellery brand Pomellato, and the porcelain house Richard Ginori. The first buy is getting the most press, but it’s the second that really interests me. See, it wasn’t officially bought by Kering, but by Gucci (though this could be semantics, since Kering owns Gucci), and the purchase is being spun as the rescue of an important “Made in Italy” brand. Add that to two other Gucci intiatives, and it seems an image change is in the works, and no one has really noticed. Read more

Lloyd Blankfein. Getty Images

The new stubbly look of Goldman Sachs’ chief executive Lloyd Blankfein was the subject of much buzz at Davos last week. Sometimes you have to talk about something besides the Eurozone and exciting new tech breakthroughs, and in so doing, it caused endless irritation for the Goldman communications team – it didn’t see why everyone cared so much.

Do they really have to ask? Methinks that is a bit disengenuous. After all, Mr Blankfein’s new look was unveiled at: 1) the most public gathering of his peers all year, and one he was returning to for the first time in five years; and 2) bore a striking resemblance to the facial hair sported by that most considered and controlled of all aesthetic men, Tom Ford – the man who transformed the role of the designer into an executive position, and became a public figure in the process. Take a look at the pictures and tell me what you think. Read more

So it’s official: Alexander Wang, the 28-year-old wunderkind who launched his eponymous brand in New York only five years ago has just been handed the creative director reins at Balenciaga. He will continue to run his own brand (which is owned independently by Wang and his family), and split his time between New York and Paris. His first collection will be autumn/winter 2013 womenswear, next March. I’m wondering, does this indicate a new theory about/stage in luxury brands?

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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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And so now we know: Jessica Biel wed Justin Timberlake in pink Giambattista Valli, while the groom wore Tom Ford. OMG! OMG! I can barely contain myself. Actually, the thing that I can barely contain is some information I learned while discussing celebrity weddings in general with a publicist for a big brand who will remain nameless: all those couture dresses made just for the celebs special day? They are almost never paid for.  Read more

What’s been happening over the last two weeks? What’s the news we can use? Here are my top three recent titbits — the ones that at first glance don’t seem so important, but on second look have outsize implications, from NY Fashion Week’s first casuality to Prada’s new super-expensive perfume, and the rise of the magazine brand as star.
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Reading my newspaper over coffee this morning, I almost fell out of my chair while perusing a tech story on Google, Amazon et al, which ended with the following observation: “Google, Microsoft and Amazon all have the potential to adopt Apple’s vertical model of combining software, services and hardware to gain complete control over the design and function of future mobile devices.” Because the thing is, dear reader, it’s not “Apple’s approach” exactly – or it is, but Apple got it from somewhere else first. And where would that be? Fashion, of course.
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Recently I was talking to James Carsellis, the entrepreneur behind web start-up Luxup, and he mentioned the theory that Europe was becoming a luxury goods Disneyland for emerging market consumers. You know: a place where the entertainment value/point lies in shopping for expensive stuff. I don’t think the comparison is that far-fetched.
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How important is a creative director? This question has plagued the fashion and luxury world ever since Tom Ford walked away from Gucci in 2004, and has been as subject to trend as any dress.

From believing that star designers (designer, creative director, artistic director and chief creative officer all being synonyms) were crucial to the success of a brand, the pendulum of industry wisdom has swung in the opposite direction.

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Mayor Bloomberg said it in his speech: “this is the Oscars of the East Coast.” Tom Ford said “There’s more fashion here than at the Oscars.” They were both talking, of course, about last night’s Met Gala, which raises an enormous amount of money for the museum’s Costume Institute (most of its annual operating budget, according to a spokesperson), works as highly effective advertising for all the fashion houses that participate, and, this time, also provided an unprecedented launch pad for a new brand. And you thought it was just a party. Hah.

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The flight to the highest-end continues. I know it doesn’t come that close to Hermes’s million euro bejeweled handbags, but yesterday news landed of eye glass frames for $2,950, courtesy of Tom Ford. If ever there was illustration that luxury brands are convinced their customers not only still exist, but are demanding ever-more extreme iterations of their products, I think this is it.

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The other day I got a nice email informing me that Marigay McKee, formerly Harrods’ Fashion & Beauty director, had been promoted to “Chief Merchant Officer,” a relatively new title in the luxury world as far as I can tell (and one not to be confused with that other CMO, chief marketing officer), but one that, I think, reflects not just a titular promotion, but a systemic change in industry thinking.  Read more

So it all came true, and PPR did, indeed, buy Italian men’s wear luxury brand Brioni. So far, so rumoured. But what does it mean? Seems to me there are two main implications to the deal. Read more

More details are emerging about Karl Lagerfeld — aka “Kaiser Karl,” he of the white-powdered ponytail, high-necked white shirt, leather gloves, and Chanel fame — and his new business, which for the last year has been code-named “Masstige.” It has now been christened…wait for it!…Karl. But there’s more.

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Hoo-ha in the US yesterday not just about plunging stocks, but plunging model ages, as Good Morning America discovered that French Vogue and other such mags have been putting a 10 year old -gasp – in their pages. Now what was once a rumbling within fashion has burst out into the world of public opinion and opprobrium, but what the critics should be asking is not “Is this appropriate?” but rather, “Does the sort of shoot actually do what it is supposed to do — move product?”

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Last night Michelle Obama wore white Tom Ford to the Buckingham Palace banquet. Once again, she matched the Queen! I have to say, though, I’m not entirely convinced by the choice. And the more photos I see of it, the more it niggles.

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The Time magazine list of the 100 most influential people in the world is out and guess what: there’s only ONE fashion person on it: Tom Ford.  Read more