Zegna

Stuart McCullough, the CEO of Woolmark, wants to relaunch wool as a brand. A luxury brand. Woolmark, of course, is already a logo, and there are unquestionably luxury fibres (see cashmere, vicuna, silk), but to turn a fibre itself into a brand seems like – well, a challenge. Isn’t it a material? Can materials be brands? Is this the ultimate example of the contemporary belief that everything, but everything – people, dogs, washing machines – can be a brand? Maybe. But the does have two recent developments going for him. Read more

So now we are deep in the London menswear , the beginning of a three-week cycle through Milan and Paris, and I thought in honour of the start of the run, I’d share some astonishing facts I was told recently by the Brioni folks about employment and spend.

 Read more

The news today that Ottavio Missoni, known as Tai and co-founder of the fashion/knitwear brand that bears his surname, has died aged 92 has sent the fashion world into mourning, for a number of reasons — some personal, and some to do with the end of an idea about fashion itself.

 Read more

Getty Images

One of the most surprising revelations to come from the FT’s recent mini Business of Luxury summit in NYC was the realisation that architect Peter Marino is busy creating a shadow art world in fashion under all our noses, and almost no one has put it together. At one point, about a decade ago, he noted, the grand pooh-bahs of luxury decided it was time to take things “to the next level” with their stores. And that next level was… art.

Consider: he says he has a deal with brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton that allows him to commission three to five pieces of new art from pretty much any artists he wants. And though he does recycle it from store to store on occasion, mostly this is new. So given that stores get refits every five to seven years – well, you do the maths. He says he has probably been responsible for commissioning about 200 or more works of art from artists including Vik Muniz, Jean-Michel Othoniel (that’s his glass swirl, above, in a Chanel boutique), Richard Prince, and others. That’s practically a museum in itself. You think it’s a coincidence that Louis Vuitton is opening its own art foundation in the Bois de Boulogne this year? Read more

Tomorrow the folks behind yoox.com and thecorner.com, 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

Euromonitor has a new report out, and this one’s a doozy: it says Poland is the world’s fourth fastest growing luxury market behind China.  Read more