29 September 2006

AP Interview: French Fashion House Ungaro Rings in Change With New Team

PARIS (AP) -- Emanuel Ungaro is a label in transition, the new president of the French fashion house says, with a new owner, new designer and new management after the departure of its founder and closure of its loss-making haute couture business.

President and CEO Mounir Moufarrige has made a specialty out of reviving semi-dormant brands, and said he was treating his new role at the fashion house as business as usual.
"It's a phase that you go through," he told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday before Paris fashion week. "The main objective is to talk a different language to our target consumer, which we think can be younger."

The Lebanese-born businessman's achievements have been notable, including turning the Montblanc pen into a cult object and hiring then-unknown designer Stella McCartney at Chloe, which has since become the must-have label for the under-40 set.

Moufarrige hopes he can work the same magic at Ungaro, which was sold by Italy's Ferragamo Group last year to San Francisco-based high-tech entrepreneur Asim Abdullah.
One of the new owner's first moves was to dump designer Vincent Darre, who had been in place for just one year, and replace him with Peter Dundas, previously with Roberto Cavalli in Milan.
Famed for its bold prints and Grecian draping, Ungaro dresses Hollywood stars including Halle Berry and Cameron Diaz, but has had little impact on street styles.

"What happened to this house in my eyes is that it just slowly aged, and in slowly aging you lose part of the electricity that you had before," said Moufarrige, who joined Ungaro six months ago.
Dundas garnered generally positive reviews for his first catwalk show in March, but buyers are waiting for confirmation of his talent when the spring-summer ready-to-wear collection is unveiled in Paris next week.

Moufarrige, who half-jokingly described his target customer as "the mistress," said he wanted the clothes to sizzle.
"The ingredients which should not be there are the words elegant and sophisticated, those are passe words. The key word is humor," he said.
"In the luxury business, it's not by choice that you have to be elegant, sophisticated and modern. That is an obligation. It goes without saying that you have to be that, but that's not enough," he said.
The brand has only a short time to convince its audience, he said. "People lose interest, and you've got to finance it as well."
But while fashion is a risky venture, the rewards can be huge. The customer base for luxury goods is expanding as the developing world's new rich swell the ranks of potential clients, joined in the West by fashion-savvy baby boomers and teens.

Moufarrige said he saw plenty of potential for Ungaro to expand not only in Russia, China and India, but also in traditional markets.
"There's still a lot of expansion to be done in Europe, Japan and the U.S. for us because you only need to look at the sales records of luxury companies over the past five years and the growth rates they've been getting," he said.
Moufarrige said that, to stay ahead of the pack, his preferred market research consisted of eavesdropping on shoppers in the street. He dismissed research about consumer trends in 2007 and 2008 as "history."
"You've got to think about 2009, because what's going to happen in 2009 is already happening now, the undercurrent is already there," he said. "You have to reinvent yourself faster than the consumer is reinventing himself. That is the key."

Let the shows begin! - Paris SS 2007

The trendies have arrived....
Autumn and spring their migration patterns remain constant. London, New York, Milan.... Paris.
(With a halt in Madrid for the well fed part of the flock)

So here is the roster for the shows - official and not so much - Paris 1st-8th of October 2006

The opening bell echos "statement" in the Carrousel du Louvre with Chinese fashion house Jefen - "made in China" is out, welcome to the "Création Chinoise"

The week will be clotured by Miuccia Prada's Miu Miu. The venue still remains a mystery for those without invitation. After toying with the idea of the locker rooms of the Stade de France, us common mortals will have to wait until the 8th to find out. Last season her show was showcased in the mythical, albeit slightly stuffy La Pérouse restaurant. As per usual Miuccia's panache turned this setting into an intimate, quircky and very sexy backdrop to her first Paris show.

Just for the fun of it, let's see what a show was 50 years ago...
(Jacques Fath Spring of 1956 collection)

Agape - Love or charity by Cartier

The original chastity belt inspired LOVE Bracelet by designer Aldo Cipullo, whose early work for Cartier focused on modern interpretations of ancient designs and legends, was launched in 1969.
The old version, based on the concept of exclisivity... the wearer was locked into the bracelet by their lover by a screw and driver furnished with the purchase. With the cash cow days of the 80's and 90's the design was reproduced on earrings, rings and necklaces.

Love at Cartier seems to be more open hearted these days. Today was the official launch of the more "with the times" LOVE CHARITY Bracelet.
The bracelet is fashioned with a knotted silk band that displays a miniature, pink gold version a Love bracelet at its front.
In France CARTIER will donate 100 € from the sale of each LOVE bracelet (390€) to Voix de l'Enfant (Aide à l’Enfance Tibétaine, Sport Sans Frontières, Un Enfant Par La Main and Un Enfant Une Promesse)
In the US Cartier, with the help of Hollywood celebrities, will be donating to different causes according to the colour of the bracelet chosen.
Red: Rosario Dawson: Youth AIDS
White: Salma Hayek: The Salma Hayek Foundation
Baby Pink: Scarlett Johansson: USA Harvest
Purple: Spike Lee: Kanbar Institute of Film and Television
Green: Edward Norton: Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust
Blue: Sarah Jessica Parker: UNICEF
Black: Michael Stipe: Mercy Corps / Gulf Coast Recovery
Dark Pink: Liv Tyler: The Breast Cancer Research Foundation


MUNICH, Germany (AFP) - Escada, the German maker of luxury ready-to-wear women's clothes, said it has appointed Damiano Biella, design director with the Italian fashion brand Valentino, as its new creative director.
Biella, 35, will be Escada's new creative head from October 1, the fashion house said in a statement.
He has been Valentino's design director since 2003 after serving as creative director at Carolina Herrera for five years. He has also worked for Celine and Gucci.
During his tenure at Valentino, Biella had been tipped by insiders as a potential successor to the Roman couturier.
He was credited with bringing strong merchandising skills to the fashion house and successfully expanding its diffusion lines.
At Escada, Biella will take over from Brian Rennie, 43, who was responsible for the development of collections since 1994.
"With Damiano Biella, we want to open a new era in the design of the Escada brand," said chief executive Frank Rheinboldt

25 September 2006

Luxury Travel

With an ever increasing emphasis on "the experience", luxury clients will spend a great deal more on travel. To cater to these golden flyers Forbes has launched a new website :

Forbes Traveler

VIDEO NY Fashion Week

Vogue VIDEO NY Fashion week Highlights

18 September 2006

HERMES : news, more news, more more news.

PARIS (AFX) - Luxury goods company Hermes International will invest around 140 mln eur next year, of which 100 mln will be to develop its retail network as it develops high-growth sectors like jewellery and gloves that are under-represented in its stores, chief executive Patrick Thomas said in an interview with the weekly newspaper Investir.

The total investment amount is similar to this year's and is up from 119 mln in 2005.

Thomas also said Hermes has already bought nearly 140 mln eur in shares under a 200-mln-eur buyback program occurring this year. He said further share purchases will be made until the 200 mln total is reached.

The company plans no major acquisitions at present, according to Thomas.

More news:

Véronique Gautier, président du directoire d’Hermès Parfums depuis 2001, a pris les fonctions de directeur général d’Hermès Maroquinerie-Sellerie. Auparavant directeur général international d’Helena Rubinstein, Catherine Fulconis rejoint la marque en qualité de Dg d’Hermès Parfums. Au sein d’Hermès Parfums, Hélène Dubrule, directrice du marketing International a pris la direction générale d’Hermès Soie. Elle est remplacée à ce poste par Barbara Albasio.
Enfin, Olivier Monteil, responsable des relations presse et publiques internationales voit ses fonctions élargies et devient directeur de la communication d’Hermès Parfums, notamment en charge de la publicité.

More more news: Avenue George V store ressucitated.

Hermès agrandit son magasin rue George-V La boutique Hermès rue George-V fête ce soir sa réouverture et son agrandissement. Elle s’étend désormais sur deux étages : l’espace soierie, le cuir, le prêt-à-porter homme et la chapellerie Motsch au rez-de-chaussée ; la joaillerie, l’art de vivre et le prêt-à-porter femme au premier et nouvel étage. L’agence d’architecture Renée Dumas qui s’est chargée des travaux a associé tradition de la maison et design moderne avec des matériaux tels que le verre et le merisier.
(14 septembre 2006)

01 September 2006

Greek Goddess Flys Safe

Eos Airlines Inc., founded by David J. Spurlock in 2003 has seen an unintended boost in business due to the global travel insecurity. The NY/London luxury service was created last october to cater to the affluent traveller.
M. Spurlock sees the retail industry as a model for what's happening in air travel. Different airlines fitting into various market segments.
Reservations at the purchase-based airline are up by a third over the next three weeks, he said, following last week's revelations of a new terror plot targeting commercial aviation between Europe and the United States.
One rotation per day (like the concord) with Boeing 757 jumbos that usually accommodate 220, refurbished to seat 48, create a safe and efficient travel environment.
Eos boasts no cancellations, an average delay of just 14 minutes, and not a single lost piece of luggage on any of its flights. One rotation per day (JFK International Airport to Stansted Airport, 30 miles north of central London) and it plans to expand to two round-trip flights starting Sept. 8. It aims to run 15 north Atlantic flights in 2010.
Eos is still required to follow the same security rules governing other, larger airlines.
Compared to regular carriers, Eos staff do not have to deal with a packed plane and are more available to care for the few passengers aboard.
M. Spurlock (formerly BA) obtained $187 million in venture capital to get it off the ground. The privately held airline hasn't disclosed whether it is profitable, but it did announce this year that it had reached an important break-even airline performance measurement.
Services included in most fare levels are : limousine service, with travelers greeted at curbside, and escorted to the ticket counter. The spacious suites include chairs that fold into beds extending 2 metres, coupled with cashmere blankets and down pillows.
Four-course gourmet meals and individual DVD players with Bose headphones are among the in-flight amenities.

Round-trip tickets range from $2,950 to $6,500.

Eos Airlines


PARIS, 1 sept 2006 (AFP) - Le leader mondial du luxe Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) a annoncé vendredi la nomination d'Alberto Lavia comme président de sa marque de prêt-à-porter Kenzo Mode en remplacement de François Steiner qui occupait ce poste depuis novembre 2003.
Cette nomination prend effet immédiatement, précise LVMH dans un communiqué. Diplômé en marketing de l'université de Turin, l'Italien Alberto Lavia, âgé de 58 ans, a eu des responsabilités croissantes dans la mode, et notamment au sein de Polo Ralph Lauren Europe. Il était depuis 2004 PDG du groupe italien de lingerie et de prêt-à-porter La Perla.

"Bonjour - t'es où?"

According to all, the high end mobile phone industry is booming. With phones up to 1 M € (120 carats of diamonds and 18 carat gold) from Swiss luxury personal communications brand Goldvish
Another such brand, Vertu does not call these "mobile's" anymore but "personal communications instruments".

Now the luxury apparel industry has appropriated this market and is branding these new accessories with their logos. Expectations of these products are high (as high as let's say other derivatory product sales eg sunglasses and watches)

Technology is moving fast. Fast in our culturally "impervious-to-new-tech" countries like France. At lightening speed in emerging luxury brand markets like India. Large luxury groups will have to be very reactive when it comes to developing these items, product credibility being an essetial criteria for luxury brands.
Unfortunately today's branded phones will be outdated quite rapidly. This fact being even more relevant in "tech-hungry" markets.
Skype has annonced that it will be encouraging hardware manufacturers to integrate their software into their mobile phones. Perhaps the next luxury/high-tech adventure will be more visionary.


My Fair Millionaire

-Knock, Knock!
-Who's there?
-Please, come in, lovely to see you , how are you going with your unlimited credit?

That's what my dream conversation with my banker would sound like.
And that's exactly what it would be, if I were to attend the Millionaire Fair today.

from the 1-3 September in Cannes. Enjoy the site.

Millionaire Fair