Posted by Abe Sauer on October 1, 2012 10:06 AM
One of the most famous landmarks of colonial era Shanghai was a sign that hung in The Bund park reading "No Dogs and Chinese." That sign never existed, although the urban legend persists because such rules did exist. Now, nearly 100 years later, with Chinese consumers growing more powerful every year, a luxury fashion designer has opened old wounds with a statement so colonially racist it would be comfortable on the streets of the French Concession circa 1921.
In a statement to WWD, the founder of high-end fashioner Zadig & Voltaire said that its new boutique hotel slated to open on the Left Bank in Paris in 2014 "won’t be open to Chinese tourists." Outrageous, for sure. But does the sentiment reveal an uncomfortable relationship between the world's haute fashion houses and their nouveau riche Chinese patrons? Just a week after D&G needed to explain its "Moorish" earrings, Thierry Gillier, fashion brand Zadig + Voltaire's founder, told WWD of the brand's new Paris hotel:
“It will be a slightly private hotel, not open to everybody, with 40 rooms. We are going to select guests. It won’t be open to Chinese tourists, for example. There is a lot of demand in Paris — many people are looking for quiet with a certain privacy.”
Through the weekend the story lit up Chinese social media networks including Weibo. Needless to say, reactions were swift and scathing.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on September 13, 2012 05:03 PM
It may not yet be a major earthquake, but there seem to be rumblings that luxury goods are undergoing some sort of seismic shift.
As Fashion Week was at its height in New York, instead of watching hemlines fashionistas were watching stock prices, as luxury apparel maker Burberry saw its shares drop over 20 percent Tuesday on issuing its first profit warning since 2008. It was an especially bitter pill to swallow for a brand that in January was named "International Retailer of the Year" and, in April, took the mantle of greatness from a bankrupt Aquascutum.
Bloomberg Businessweek labeled Burberry's slide as "an end to a three-year rally in the luxury-goods industry as wealthy shoppers cut back on past indulgences." While Burberry's report may have helped pull down shares of luxury giant LVMH and other luxury brands such as Prada and Richemont, it does appear demand for luxury goods has been softening recently.
Harry Winston indicated last week that there was lower interest in its luxury products, and last month, Tiffany projected lower profits for the year. Stacey Cartwright, Burberry's CFO, told Bloomberg Businessweek that she had spoken with other luxury goods marketers. "We know we are not alone in terms of what we've seen in the last couple of weeks," she said.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on September 5, 2012 01:04 PM
When French luxury brand conglomerate LVMH acquired a minority share of 127-year old family-owned French luxury brand Hermes in late 2010, it was hardly a match made in heaven. LVMH head, billionaire Bernard Arnault, commented to the New York Times in March 2011, "We are a totally peaceful investor, but as a leader in the best quality products in the world, we believe we can bring a certain savoir-faire to improve the functioning of their business."
Foreshadowing what was to come, however, Hermes CEO Patrick Thomas responded, "We don't want to be a part of this financial world which is ruining companies and dealing with people like they are goods or raw materials. It's not a financial fight, because we would lose that. It's a cultural fight."
That "cultural fight" has now flared up into a renewed legal battle, as Hermes recently filed suit against LVMH for "the way in which LVMH entered the capital of Hermes." The suit also alleges insider trading and manipulation of the share price, reports the Financial Times. LVMH has counter-sued for defamation.
At the heart of the battle is the independence of the Hermes brand itself.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on September 4, 2012 08:56 AM
Airbus sees demand in Asia driving future airliner market.
Apple sees rivals rush to make news before introduction of new iPhone.
Asia Pulp & Paper tries to improve green image against skepticism.
Baidu launches mobile web browser.
Bloomingdale's woos woos men with BMW cross-promotion.
Burt's Bees relies on consumer insights from "Burt's Buzz" community panel.
Chrysler posts 14-percent gain in August sales, leading parade of today's industry sales reports.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on July 31, 2012 05:05 PM
Louis Vuitton pays tribute to "The Greatest," boxer Muhammad Ali, with the digital experience The Greatest Words. In two short films, "Float" and "Life," spoken word artist Yasiin Bey and calligrapher Niels Shoe Meulman revisit the words of Mohammad Ali, with a helping hand from rapper/actor Mos Def.Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on July 26, 2012 10:17 AM
Sephora, the high-end beauty retailer owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, operates more than 1,600 stores worldwide where customers can try and apply make-up before they buy. Under digital head Julie Bornstein, Sephora is in the midst of its own “social and mobile makeover,” bridging the worlds of offline and online — stylishly, of course.
Case in point: today Sephora announced a partnership with Pantone, the global color authority, for a digital app. Dubbed SEPHORA + PANTONE COLOR IQ, it's described as "the most advanced foundation matching solution available in North American beauty retail. Using Pantone’s color capture and measuring technology, SEPHORA + PANTONE COLOR IQ is the first and only beauty system to scan the surface of the skin, assign an official PANTONE® SkinTone™ number, and match a scientifically precise foundation shade from Sephora’s 1,000 foundations, brands and formulas." The service launches today at Sephora's Times Square flagship in New York, and on August 2nd in San Francisco.
Social business, as Brian Solis calls it, is de rigueur for brands today, iterating from social to digital and experiential. That's why Sephora is taking its digital operations to the next level in a redesigned website with amped up search, an iOS mobile app and a new mobile website, Sephora is installing iPads in more than 100 of its stores in an integration with Pinterest replete with “Pin It” buttons for all its product pages.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on July 6, 2012 12:14 PM
Paris to Shanghai, by train. The concept alone dredges up an atmosphere of yesteryear, when Orient Express-style train travel was the luxury way to travel. And what two cities summon that fabulous yesteryear better than Paris and Shanghai, a city once hailed as "Paris of the East?"
That nostalgic sentiment is what Louis Vuitton is tapping into for its new campaign, "Louis Vuitton Express" — which kicked off this week with a teaser video, "Paris to Shanghai by Train by The Selby," — as the digital extension of an event marketing campaign that's rolling online, on YouTube and on Facebook from the brand's French HQ to its new China HQ.
But who or what, you might ask, is "The Selby?" And will "The Selby" be enough to get Vuitton back in the good graces of Chinese luxury buyers who have recently come to treat the the brand kind of like locomotive travel — a relic of the past?Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on June 21, 2012 12:09 PM
Maybe we haven't seen the return of the roaring global recovery everyone has hoped for. The U.S. economy is sputtering, and the European continent isn't looking very bullish at the moment. But none of this seems to be terribly concerning to the luxury hotel market. There has been a spate of recent openings — hotel extensions of luxury brands — to prove it.
Bulgari, which operates a luxury hotel in Milan, a luxury resort in Bali, and restaurants in Tokyo, has just opened the doors of its fourth Bulgari Hotel, with its latest five-star property opening in a chi-chi pocket of London.
Located in the city's prestigious Knightsbridge section, its well appointed rooms (such as the one above) are opening just in time to take bookings for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Bulgari gushes about the property: "It is a perfect expression of the Bulgari aesthetic of timeless glamour. Innovative artistry and a lavish use of precious marble and silver blend harmoniously, exuding an understated elegance. The quality of the service, magnificent elements such as the spa, pool and private screening room, and the distinguished location beside Harrods and Hyde Park all contribute to an uncompromising sense of excellence."Continue reading...