Vogue

What is a gown? And where does such an extravagant garment belong in a world of denim and parkas?

This September's Vogue Italia cover  © VOGUE

Quite what the collective noun for models might be is debatable (a symmetry? A perfection?). But we should find one, because model gangs are owning the September issues. Read more

Stage two in the re-invention of Miley Cyrus has begun, thanks to Marc Jacobs and his new ad campaign. After taking a wrecking ball to her Disney image via Terry Richardson and the twerking with Robin Thicke VMA incident, thus rendering her former self unrecognisable, she is now rebuilding. It’s one of fashion’s talents, after all; the Eliza Doolittle story writ lux. Will it work in this case? Betcha yes. Indeed, the entirely canny one-two-punch of Richardson/Jacobs to recreate Miley seems like strategy at the highest level. I don’t think this all happened by accident. Read more

Despite its amazing Black Friday results, Amazon has not quite become the player rumour says it would like to be in high-end fashion; luxury brands still see it as overly mass. So news of a new upmarket approach at Zappos, the accessible (and highly successful) shoe site, made all my luxury strategy sensors start vibrating in anticipation. And no, I am not confusing my apples with my oranges. See, Amazon owns Zappos, but “Zappos” doesn’t come with all the strings and global supermarket associations that the name “Amazon” does. Which makes it a great testing ground for any new strategy directed at luring luxury brands and HNWIs into the consumer fold. So what is this brave new strategy?  Read more

And you thought it was all about self-promotion, or changing the (highly male) image of silicon valley, or positioning herself as the anti-Sheryl “I will never talk about anything as frivolous as clothes” Sandberg. Pshah. That super-controversial Marissa Mayer profile in the very enormous September issue of Vogue, which has ignited all sorts of hoo-ha on the internet, was actually about long-term Yahoo content creation, in an I’ll-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine kind of way. Who’s the canny chief executive now, naysayers?

 Read more

It’s August, which means September issues of magazines, which means we are all about to be inundated with new ad campaigns. So far, so predictable. But amid all the hoopla about instagram this and old models that, one designer is really trying something new.

 Read more

Actually, that’s not true: Anna Wintour, aka editor of US Vogue, is, in fact, being promoted to “artistic director” of Condé Nast . It’s not Oz, and it’s not ambassador to the UK, but it’s definitely a step up.

Getty Images

Leaving aside the weirdness of that title, which makes it sound like she is running a ballet company (and exists because CN already has an “editorial director” – Tom Wallace – though that role has become more operational than content-focused, apparently; fun for Mr W), this means, along with her current job at Vogue, she will essentially weigh in on the creative side of the stable of magazines, as well as their personnel.

Here’s how CN explained it in the announcement: “The establishment of an artistic director is a reflection of our commitment to preserve and champion all that exists ‘Only at Condé Nast’. In today’s business environment, it is critical to promote and foster our established creative authority. This is the ideal time to leverage Anna’s extraordinary vision and leadership to amplify and elevate the profile of Condé Nast US both domestically and abroad. Anna is an icon in the worlds of fashion, business and the arts, she has the foresight and wisdom to influence the major trends of our society and is respected globally as an accomplished businesswoman.”

However, in a New York Times report on Ms Wintour’s promotion, what interested me most was her statement that the job “isn’t about a machine or an iPhone or an iPad. It’s about people.” This is telling. After all, for the last few years Ms Wintour has been most famous, intra-fashion world, not for her reportedly chilly personality or even her anti-animal-rights-activists body guards that like to push everyone out of the way when she exits a fashion show, but for the games of chess she plays with brands and designers. She has probably done as much, if not more, to shape the fashion world as to shape her magazine, and as much as any of the big groups. We hear she is a wiz of a wiz, if ever a wiz there was. Because because because because, because of the wonderful things she does. Read more

In all the hoo-ha and excited fashion flagellation that has been generated since Joan Juliet Buck’s incredibly ill-conceived profile of Syrian first lady Asma al-Assad ran in Vogue last year, culminating this week in a mea culpa/excuse of a behind-the-scenes explanation in Newsweek that gave the on-line community yet another reason to castigate fashion (sucker! appears to be the general opinion, not incorrectly), one thing has struck me: why was anyone surprised by this?  Read more

Today Burberry’s new aviator-style eyewear collection is out — as well as a new song and video from UK band One Night Only. Coincidence? Not likely. The song and video was commissioned by the fashion brand, is available first on Burberry’s facebook page and then iTunes, and features front man George Craig modelling — you guessed it! — Burberry eyewear. Could this be the first step down a slippery slope that will lead to fashion moving in to more formal production roles?  Read more

After the Versace/Missoni condos, and Fendi yachts comes this exciting titbit: Condé Nast International is likewise embracing the lifestyle concept, and opening a Vogue café in Kiev, and a GQ bar in Istanbul. Well, if the companies they cover can do it, why shouldn’t the publishers? Isn’t Vogue as much a brand as the brands in their pages?
 Read more

Last night Bloomberg TV contributed a whopper of a show to the Anna Wintour hagiography (which also includes the WSJ magazine’s recent story “Brand Anna”) as part of their “Game Changers” series. Well, it’s true she’s doing her darnedest to change the way fashion is played.  Read more

Fashion designers get inspiration from all sorts of places: leaves (Valentino Garavani once told me the green in a dress he made came from some leaf he had picked up in Hyde Park and carried back to his atelier), true life stories (this season John Galliano made an entire collection about a 1920s con artist), and, occasionally, other designers.

Consider these two pictures: Read more

Skirts are not the only thing getting longer this season; so, apparently, are job titles. Tom Florio, the ex-VP of the Vogue Group (which once consisted of four magazines but shrank during the recession to two magazines and some web sites) has just landed at IMG, the sports/fashion management monolith, as “Senior Advisor for Fashion to the Office of the Chairman.” It’s a mouthful.

It also sounds awfully like those Minister Without Portfolio titles beloved by so many heads of state, and almost always disliked by everyone else (like cabinet ministers), who feel said minister is spending too much time interfering in other people’s official and titular business.

Certainly the fact that Mr Florio’s job “will be…identifying new, high margin product offerings across all of IMG’s Fashion related businesses” (this from the press release) cannot be encouraging for the folks currently at IMG’s fashion-related business, who apparently were not so good at identifying those opportunities themselves. To allay such fears Florio told the New York Post that when you work with an entrepreneur like IMG chief Ted Forstmann, titles were “irrelevant.”

How reassuring. If you believe that, you might be interested to know Hermes is for sale. Read more

Something interesting is percolating up in Milanese fashion, and it has nothing to do with runways.

It has to do with things like “sustainability” and “long-term thinking” and “self-preservation” – also “procreation”, with emphasis on the latter part of the word.

To be specific, it has to do with the industry finally thinking about its own future, and the fact that if it’s going to have one, it has to start working on the logistics. Which means, at its most basic level, supporting young designers. Read more

As London Fashion Week draws to a close, an email arrives from the Search Engine for Domain Offers, aka SEDO, aka “a one-stop-shop for domain investors with over 16 million domains in its database, facilitating the sale of approximately 3 million domains each month. Read more

This morning Bain & Company released a study, in conjunction with American Vogue, on the shopping habits of the “style-conscious” US consumer.  Read more