Feeding the Fashionistas

Luxury: found both in the boutique and in the bistro – to be worn and to be tasted.

Growth in the luxury food segment is accelerating and the transition from haute couture into concepts of lifestyle via gastronomy experiences is an attractive strategic tool of many international players in the current luxury market.

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Seta, Mandarin Oriental, Milan | www.mandarinoriental.com

Gastronomy experiences are becoming much more ‘insta-worthy’ than designer bags or shoes, mainly due to validation for status and triggering conversation over social media – suggesting why many fashion brands are branching out into fine dining experiences. Such an approach allows brands to follow where their high-spend clientele spend their cash in order to enhance their brand, through demonstrating creativity and gaining exposure to the most valuable market today – Millennials and Generation Z.

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 www.instagram.com/finedininglovers
Wine, spirits and food contributed 120 billion to a 1.2 
trillion luxury market with an increase of 6% which was more 
than clothing and accessories - Bain & Company Luxury Goods Worldwide Market Study, Fall - Winter 2017.

Gucci Osteria in Florence is one of the most recent examples of a luxury brand dipping into the culinary scene. Created with Three-Michelin-star chef Massimo Bottura, the 50-seat green-walled restaurant is nestled behind the walls of the 14-century Palazzo della Mercanzia building, overlooking the city’s most famous square – Piazza della Signoria. The restaurant is located inside the Gucci Garden; an experiential museum-retail concept.

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Credits to: Scatti di Gusto

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A project focused around a gastronomic experience aligning with the products of the brand, in a luxurious setting – targeting international travellers whilst applying Italian cuisine.

Following my recent experience dining at the Gucci Osteria, I discovered how Bottura creates high end dishes to target the Millennial market – suggesting why it was no surprise to find a high-end interpretation of a hamburger and hot dog on the menu – but of course Gucci-fied!

“Haute couture and haute cuisine are a recipe made in heaven." - Massimo Bottura

The first designer to welcome chocolate, bars and restaurants into the world of Fashion was King Giorgio with Armani Cafè,  Armani Dolci and Nobu. The brand branched into the world of food and beverage in 1989 and is now one of the most established luxury brands with a culinary arm, with many establishments in the most fashionable cities including Milan, Dubai and Tokyo.

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Armani Caffé, Cannes |  www.armanirestaurants.com/cannes-armani-caffe/

Armani Nobu: the ideal location for those who want to enjoy a fine dining experience before continuing the evening to the underlying Armani/Privé. Here I sense a chic environment, boasting an international and refined atmosphere together with a class of Armani style. The menu is vast from classic sushi and tempura to various main dishes including the chef’s speciality Black Cod Miso. Sophisticated interior, simple elegance combined with excellent food and attentive service are just a selection of words to describe my experience here at Nobu.

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Ravioli stuffed with Wagyu Beef and Caramelized Onion, Nashi Pear Sauce and Truffled Butter

 

Lucy Bunting

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lucy-bunting

Azimut 60 Fly – From the water to the sky

  • New external design with vertical bow and full-height windows that give an unprecedented visibility and illumination
  • Maxi volumes in sporty and streamlined lines
  • Numerous lounge areas and privacy islands, unique in this range

This is the new Azimut 60.  It offers the performance and style of a megayacht, packed into a much smaller size.  It has a sporty cut, larger interiors, a vertical bow and big windows of the deckhouse, which on the straight side becomes full height offering an unprecedented view of the sea, thanks to the lowering of the falcon at the salon. The numerous relaxation areas, including a bow lounge, offer unique privacy islands on a boat of this size (18 meters).

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The design philosophy was based entirely on the theme of timeless serenity and elegance, in an absolutely contemporary interpretation: “the new Italian Renaissance”. A wise contamination of essences gives a unique contemporaneity to the spaces, dominated by fluid lines. On the ceiling, concentrated geometries are emphasized by the combination of different materials such as the opaque lacquer of the central shell that meets the technical covering of the ring that encloses it.

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Regarding the layout, everything from the main deck to the interiors offer totally innovative solutions.

The dinette offers an unprecedented sea view thanks to the lateral lowering of the falcon and full-height windows. As well as being a dining area, this area can also be used as a second sitting area, even at the up / down table, available in solid wood or crystal.

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Below deck the Azimut 60 offers a layout with three cabins and three bathrooms. With a style borrowed from the home design, the master cabin placed at the center of the boat full width, is distinguished by strongly distinctive design elements. The suspended furniture means there is more storage. The large bed has been designed for a wonderful view of the sea; the closet and the bathroom are placed aft to separate the cabin from the engine room and ensure greater silence.

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In line with the Azimut style, the flybridge offers an extremely wide surface, laid out in three areas: the command area with seats for pilot and co-pilot and sundeck side, the dinette with mobile bar and a further living area in order to create a private and spacious lounge, furnished with home-style sofas, soft and comfortable. Comfort is also guaranteed by the hard top with electric bimini.

The elegance of the exterior is completed by the cockpit and fly tables, proposed on the first unit in sintered marble with solid teak edging.

On the outer main deck, there is an additional privacy island in the bow, a revolutionary element for boats of this size, a large sunbathing area can be transformed into a lounge area, with two large sofas facing each other.

Its incomparable beauty leads it to be the ideal way to get carried away from earthly life to the deep sky full of dreams.

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Who is Clio Zammatteo?/How Clio Zammatteo became Italy’s top beauty influencer

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Clio is considered the queen of makeup; she shares with her followers the secrets of makeup and skincare through her personal YouTube channel: ClioMakeUp. Clio keeps active as a make-up artist, working in NY and Milan Fashion weeks and also in TV on Real Time.

In 2013 Clio opened her personal blog, the ClioMakeUp Blog which quickly became one of the most popular websites in the Beauty vertical in Italy.

Before starting few numbers:

2.8 Million users per month and 17 million page views per month for the Blog. 24 million followers on Facebook. On Youtube channel 1.3 million followers and 3 million views per month. On Instagram 1.8 million followers.

Why is reading her Blog so funny and useful at the same time?

It’s full of interesting advice on make-up, beauty products, and habits we have.

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Reading her blog you’ll find for example what are the best lipstick colors of the moment and how to match each of them with the right dress and the right occasion.

Do you feel ill at ease when you have to put make-up on? It’s not a problem: Clio will tell you the right products to use according to your skin and how to manage them.

With tutorial videos on her YouTube channel, you’ll understand how to put make-up on following each step, what to avoid when you put your make up on and millions of other interesting and useful tips on beauty products.

In the Blog, you can find very useful reviews on some famous products. She makes an introduction for each product she wants to analyze with its characteristics, then she gives tips on when to use it and who it suits best, and lastly, she writes a report card with grades.

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Clio is updated with trends: she knows the most popular trends of the moment and she is always ready to write something about them. The amazing thing is that she is an expert not only on beauty trends but also of fashion, hair, tattoo, weddings and magically weaves all together find a connection in her blog.

So Clio’s blog becomes a sort of online daily magazine to read if you want to be always updated with all kind of fashion trends, no matter whether they are beauty, fashion or hairstyle trends.

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Last but not least, there is a part of Clio’s Blog called Forum, where you can ask Clio directly your questions or your doubts about you, your skin and products. Clio will reply helping you to find the best solution at your problem.

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To conclude, if you don’t feel good when you have to go out because you don’t like something in your look… why don’t you have a look at Clio’s blog? Maybe you could find the solution to your problems or you could ask her. You may find useful little tips that could change the perception you have of yourself and discover that with some easy trick and just a little bit of time, you could feel better. Moreover, you will always be on top of the latest trends.

Come on… Clio is waiting for you!

 

A short overview of dictators and their favorite watches

Politics is power.

Power is money.

Time is money. 

Time and money are watches…

Today let’s look at a short overview of international political dictatorial figures and their watches.

But before we start let me make a remark – this “hit parade” of politician “dictators” in power does not cover the entire spectrum of statesmen, but only the most public ones.

Russian President Putin holds video link on first gas tanker entering Sabetta port

IWC-Mark-XVIIThe new “love” of Russian President Vladimir Putin is the IWC Mark XVII. It’s important to mention that Vladimir Vladimirovich used to wear a Blancpain Leman Aqua Lung.  These watches were his faithful companion for many years and in all kind of situations – during meetings with voters, at negotiations and summits. The president was always with them  even when he was going hunting and fishing. At that time it seemed that an alliance with the good old Blancpain would last forever, but… as we already mentioned before IWC took the place on his wrist.

Mwazi III, King of Swaziland, the husband of 13 wives, the father of 25 children, on the throne for 32 years. He is the owner of a large collection of watches. In the photo: Hublot Big Bang.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, President of Equatorial Guinea. He manages the country for 39 years and truly respects a Rolex with diamonds.

Ilham Aliyev, the president of Azerbaijan, has been leading the country  for 15 years after he took over the reins from his father, who held the presidency for 20 years. He wears different watches, for example this Patek Philippe Grand Complications 5270G-001.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president of Kazakhstan, has held in power for more than 25 years. It seems that in the photo he wears Breguet Classique, but his collection of watches is more than extensive.

Omar Hasan Ahmed al-Bashir has been leading the Sudan for more than 25 years. Here he wears a modest Les Grandes Classiques de Longines.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus since 1994. He is photographed with a  Patek Philippe Calatrava 5120.

Idriss Deby, President of Chad, has been in power for 28 years. Wears the legendary Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

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King of Saudi Arabia Abdullah ibn Abdul Aziz Al Saud has been on the throne for 10 years. On his wrist is something really very expensive.

Emomali Rahmon has been the president of Tajikistan for 24 years. The watch is quite hard to identify, but it seems to be an  IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater.

Islam Karimov has been the president of Uzbekistan for 27 years. The watches can not be identified properly, maybe Vacheron Constantin Patrimony or Patek Philippe Calatrava 5119.

Kim Jong Eun took over the reins of government from his father. In December 2011 he became the highest leader, leader of the party, army and people of North Korea. On the wrist he wears a watch similar to the Omega De Ville.

Ali Abdullah Saleh, the first president of Yemen, was in power for 18 years and was dismissed in 2012. Here he wears Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Day Date.

Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt, ruled for 30 years. He wears a Hublot Big Bang.

Pervez Mushsharaf, former President of Pakistan, deserves a dictatorial sympathy prize for his love of Panerai Radiomir.

These are the choices of the International political figures.. but what would be your choice? And would be this choice totally “free”..

Furs in luxury: yes or no?

“A wool sweater is as cruel as a mink coat.”

With this statement against animal cruelty, People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) takes a position on a controversial subject: the use of furs in the fashion industry and the fur-free movement.

Decades after PETA started its anti-fur campaign, furs are still very present on runways and in the fashion world in general. The debate is still relevant, especially now that the big firms are gradually joining the fur-free movement.

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The battle for animal rights is celebrating great victories. One of them came just a few days ago from the Unites States, where the city of San Francisco banned the sale of any form of item with animal fur. According to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the sales of fur items creates a profit for the city of around $40 million annually, the ban will involve more than 30 dealers, only considering central San Francisco.

The San Francisco announcement comes at the same time many fashion brands are announcing a fur-free policy including Versace and Furla, which have joined pioneers Armani and Ralph Lauren.

One of the first fashion brands going fur-free has been Stella McCartney with the “Fur-Free-Fur“.  The brand believes that:

“Fashion can be luxurious without using leather or fur. Fur-Free-Fur is a no-compromise, modern statement that demonstrates what the future of fashion looks like today.”

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One of the last brands joining the cause was Gucci, that claims to go completely fur free  starting from Spring/Summer 2018.

The future of fashion is radically changing. As the respect for animals is more and more rooted in people’s minds, fashion brands are evolving and moving into the sustainability and social responsabilty field.

But to what extent?

“For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don’t get the message” said Karl Lagerfeld.

It will be interesting to see how the fashion world will respond.

 

Charlotte Cassanelli

Credits: images come from PETA website, Stella McCartney website.

Is Social Media “Influencer” the New Unpaid Internship?

If you’re a social influencer, whether it’s an Instagrammer, blogger, or fashion guru with 1,000 or up to 100,000 followers, you can easily get paid between $50 to $1,000 to advertise for a brand, according to influencer marketing firm Hireinfluence.

However, recently, many consultancies (name one?) have examined this new endeavor and spoke about “the myth” that working hard on a personal brand will pay off in the long run.

 Chapter I:  The myth that powers aspirational labor

The formula is easy: if you are putting the most creative, unique content out there, and you have a special voice, you will rise to the top. And by rise to the top, I mean you will earn an income.

The reason that it has been called a myth is that, if you look at people who have actually risen to the top —the super bloggers, the super influencers— we see them as people just like us, but they exploited some sort of human capital, call it the right connections, or “being in the right place at the right time,” or maybe have a forward-looking mind, as you wish.

So the myth lost its holy aura to a human soul of digital meritocracy 

The take-away here sounds like “If we work hard enough, if we have this creative vision that nobody else has provided, we can get our dream job and do what we love and get paid.”

Oh seriously?! Is it such child’s play? (To me there are contradictions in this section. You are saying that successful influencers have succeeded because they exploited connections or timing, and not just their own ideas. This contradicts the word meritocracy. Also, I think your argument would work better if you didn’t use sarcasm in the last line.)

Chapter II From the Age of Individualism to Social Addiction

The decline of individualism is evident in practice as well as theory, in the proliferation of social networks, and not only.TODS

For years, several successful business people had worked moonlighting as a blogger while maintaining their full-time jobs. They were essentially doing two jobs in order to make enough to subsist on. People got into this likely because they really enjoyed styling, writing, taking photos for themselves.

Thousands of people (and from now on, I bet, they’ll turn into millions) who had been doing this for years must now feel shocked at how such a culture of self-promotion eclipsed the creative elements nowadays.

Today, there’s this kind of “what is this doing for my personal life?”, or “when is this going to pay off enough for me to leave my job?”. Today, they would state:” I’m coming up with my creative product, and then I’m spending hours promoting it to others—sharing it on Instagram, sharing it on Facebook, sharing it on Twitter”.

Chapter III:  Brands that make dreams come true…

Brands kind of dangle this promise of hope. You’ll see campaigns where brands will say “Hey, hashtag your favorite jeans look and post on Instagram and maybe we’ll feature your image for people to see.”

There are also more dubious promises of exposure.

I talked with peers who said the companies would not offer them any sort of financial compensation. I have one particular case of this friend of mine, who was a fashion addicted teenager, with a sizable following on the most popular social media at that time. She deliberately contacted a few companies to sometimes send her clothes unsolicited, and they replied to her: “Good one! Could you just do a solid blog about this for us?”.

She felt so in love with this part-time self-esteem game, God knows how much, that she ended up starting to work as fashion blogger, her brand-new full-time money-making  occupancy.

Was she probably born to became a fashion blogger, no matter the era she was living in? Lucky or smart, the point is she envisioned how to turn her sickness into her current “job.” (So she was the lucky exception to what you stated at the top of this section, that most brands dont pay for posts and sort of exploit people’s love of fashion? This is a bit confusing. You can just fix it by making it clearer that she is an exception because the brand is paying her.)

Acceptable or despicable? Whatever the answer, chapeau!

Chapter IV: Why does Influence Marketing pay off exactly?

Honestly, the best example which pops-up in my mind is recalling when you are back in high school. You walk down the hallway or the park in front of the building, and suddenly, you stroll past the “popular crowd” of girls—who, metaphorically speaking, would be Kylie Jenner on Instagram — and you eavesdrop “Kylie” saying in passing, “Oh, I love my new Speedy”.

Instantly you feel as though you know something no one else does. You know what she wears, and what she considers to be cool. This is exactly what has happened. And from that time on, you just need that damn LV purse.speedy-30-

It’s not pure numbers and big promises of “impressions” what they are chasing on, but #associations.

The above example just meant to provide a case-in-point of what brands are now willing to pay big bucks for.

A recent survey revealed 84% of marketers plan on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign during the next 12 months.

TIFFANY

It’s happening everywhere, to anyone. From multinationals to small businesses and boutiques, everyone now is willing to spend huge money for a social media influencer with a few thousand followers in their market. BUT WHY?

Easy! Because influencers are repping products and promoting brands, all the while still staying true to their unique voice and story. And what bands get in return is targeted exposure to the right kind of consumer, one who is already interested and will likely pay attention.

There’s a downside to this strategy. As China’s social media landscape is showing pretty well, the market is getting more and more saturated, while brands may risk losing out on establishing an authentic connection and building trust with their millennial audience.

Second issue to not underestimate is that there’s also the potential trouble of retaining a sense of product exclusivity if the KOLs, or key opinion leaders, they’re working with are too over-exposed.

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The big influencers collaborate with anyone as long as the brands pay enough money. The photos they take are not necessarily as good as the upcoming ones and the content isn’t as good either. So gradually, you find that the bigger influencers kind of lose their identity.

Some luxury brands are already recognizing the need to branch out in their social media campaigns. Ahead of its Fall 2016 campaign, Gucci collaborated with an influencer with less than 30,000 Instagram followers, a man named Trevor Andrew who used the hashtag #GucciGhost in his posts.

“The brand’s creative director Alessandro Michele has been working hard to connect the brand with a younger generation, and this way of doing so can serve as a particular lesson for brands”, says Kim Leitzes, CEO of China influencer marketing platform PARKLU.

What’s interesting about this example was GucciGhost was not a known name, but they worked with a KOL that had his own interpretation of the brand.

And when you think about it, whether or not a brand wants influencers to interpret their brand, it’s happening anyway. By working with smaller KOLs, brands can embrace branding interpretation while still maintaining a modicum of control.” Mrs. Leitzes says.

 

GUCCI_GHOST

 

Chapter V: Are Instagram Influencers bad for Luxury & Fashion?

Individual social media platforms appeal to different industries in different ways.    Instagram has always been the most natural fit for the fashion industry because of its overt visual focus.

The platform’s distinct visual language allows clothing brands to show off their wares in adverts that don’t quite look like adverts, which tiptoes around ingrained consumer cynicism, all while saving cash that might usually be spent on billboards.

And it is this symbiotic flirtation between industry and platform has birthed one of the most notable developments on the fashion landscape of the past decade: the Instagram influencer.

In certain segments of the fashion world, the influencer has become the go-to vessel for brands to pin their latest marketing campaign on.

The reasoning is totally self-explanatory:

Influencers have large social media followings, commanding plenty of eyes that brands would like to show their products off to.

People are far more likely to buy a product if it’s suggested to them buy someone that they know, trust, admire or generally have some sort of rapport with. It’s like celebrity endorsement, but the DIY nature of blogs or Instagram breeds a false sense of intimacy and confidence that creates an illusion of direct dialogue.

A concrete example? Let’s think about when Nike seeds its latest sneaker to an influencer, seeing it pop up in your feed feels like stumbling upon a friend’s photo rather than staring at a glossy Vogue spread.

Luxury & Fashion, more than most industries, rely on aspiration, exclusivity and dreams.

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Obviously influencers (Instagram, blogger, or otherwise) are useful to the fashion industry because they offer another revenue stream for brands and designers, but could they potentially be bad for the industry’s “brand.”

On the other hand, what we have is the accessible, grassroots nature of social media that makes it less prestigious by default, which risks cheapening the brands that rely on it.

Before the rise of the internet and the proliferation of social media, the bar of entry into the fashion world was much higher.

Let’s think about the mainstream example of Anna Wintour, who isn’t simply a woman with impeccable taste and an ability to articulate it in written form, she’s a qualified journalist. And again, Alexander McQueen isn’t just someone with undoubted talent for designing clothes, he was the graduate of the world’s most elite school for fashion design too.

 

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Chapter VI:  The Populist Superheroe

Influencers, on the other hand, are simply the winners of a popularity contest.

They haven’t endured the same level of scrutiny from people who know how and what to scrutinize. The keys to the door are now shared between the “establishment” and consumers, but making fashion more accessible, doesn’t risk to corrode some of its prestige?

Is this dreamed world of frills and whims evolving into a more merit-base universe? Perhaps yes, if we think that a sizable chunk of the rest of the industry comprises of hangers-on, the beneficiaries of nepotism, and people who’ve slept their way to the top.

Let’s not forget that Madame Wintour comes from a very wealthy family and is the daughter of a journalist. That’s a head start that many bloggers and influencers didn’t have.

However, I would also agree that the rise of the influencers risks compromising the creative vision of the industry. Before the digital era, there was very little discourse between the industry and outside forces: fashion professionals picked the supermodels, dressed them, curated the image and beamed it out into the world.

Their choice of influencer puts the tastes and desires of the consumer into a very public forum that the industry can observe. I have no doubt that this info comes into consideration when making creative decisions within the industry – #inspiration inevitably gets watered down by data.

But then again, fashion has always been a compromise between creativity and commerce. A painting might be a pure expression of its creator’s artistic vision, but clothes are made to be worn.

The end product is created with the consumer in mind.
So, in that sense influencers haven’t really changed anything, they’ve only made the voice of the public clearer and louder. 
Is that a bad thing? Well, that depends on who you ask, I suppose.

Cheers!

Virgin

 

Why is the Fashion World “GAGGING” about Drag Queens ?

With RuPaul Charles getting his own star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and the beginning of the 10th season of his “Drag Race,” we can definitely say that Drag Queens are becoming more mainstream than ever !

 

Imagem relacionadaFor those who have been living inside a cave for the last few years, MamaRu, as the drag community calls RuPaul Charles, referring to him as the mother of drag, is the creator and the host of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” a competition airing on VH1 that aims to find “America’s Next Drag Superstar.” It is a mix of  “Project Runway,”“America’s Next Top Model” and “America’s Got Talent,” requiring its girls to sew, sing, dance, act and “lip-sync for their lives.” And of course there is a lot of drama between the 14 participants.

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Is it any wonder that fashionistas are gagging about the show? NO ! Gagging is a term used all the time on the show and it means:

“A slang term primarily used by gay men in the early- to mid-90s. Used when something is so fierce you can’t help but wanting to gag from the overload of extreme fierceosity”.

UrbanDictionary

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RuPaul, through the years, has had a lot of celebrity guest judges and some of them are big names in the fashion industry, for example, Jeremy Scott and Marc Jacobs.

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With the success of the first episode of Season 10, its easy to see that the symbol of the underground LGBTQ community is becoming more and more mainstream. In fashion circles the show has been celebrated for its politics of affirmation and visibility, but also for debuting a class of demi-celebrities who are becoming online influencers, a category absolutely loved by the fashion houses, because of their power in the modern world.

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Since being on Drag Race and becoming instant online influencers with million followers, many drags started to be on the radar screen of fashion houses, not only to attend to fashion shows, but also for collaborations, basically because they now are capable of influencing a huge amount of people. In 2016, Miu Miu flew several participants of the show to Paris for a perfume launching party, aiming to cause a bigger buzz for the product.

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Some example of the Queens that are working on the fashion industry are:

Miss Fame, from Season 7, who has attended both New York and Paris Fashion Weeks, made beauty videos for L’Oréal, and went to the Cannes Film Festival, wearing a Zac Posen dress.

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Milk, from Season 6, was in Marc Jacobs spring ads, wearing his women’s collection.

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Violet Chachki, the winner of Season 7, has attended to New York, Paris and Milan Fashion Week. She was featured in several fashion magazines, including Vogue Italia, on a photo shoot signed by Steven Klein, one of the most important photographers of the business. This year she walked on the Moschino Fall Winter Fashion Show catwalk.

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Everybody is aware that drag fashion is not runaway fashion, but drag fashion satirizes high fashion and at the end celebrates it. The Supermodel of the world, as RuPaul is also known, said to The New York Times that:

 “You reserve the right to simultaneously love something with all your heart and absolutely hate it to your core. I love creativity and beauty. Fashion is absolutely that.”

This can may explain why fashion people as well as the  world beyond has decided to love the program, because it’s a runaway show with very few expectations, it’s different of the serious environment of the common runaways, it’s just a place to enjoy and have fun.

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It’s satisfying to watch fashion houses using drag artists as influencers. We know that their aim is to reach new market segments and sell more products, but use these people is a cool way to celebrate representativeness and also help to reduce the prejudice that is ingrained in society around the world. It is a conquest for this minority that has been, since the beginning, inside the luxury world.

Fernando Lucas Ferreira

Balenciaga gets crazy: Demna’s revolution

Balenciaga in 2018 is considered to be one of the three pillars in the Kering group among the “soft” or fashion-based luxury brands. It represents a positive example of a well performing company since it  was named the hottest brand in fashion by the Lyst Index, an analysis tool that tracks the shopping habits of 65 million consumers and 12,000 brands.

Balenciaga’s portfolio is composed of two main businesses: 75% by accessories and shoes and 25% for ready to wear pieces; even if the business pushes the accelerator on ready-to-wear it is still a complementary revenue stream, that’s why they can afford to do whatever they have in mind.

In the beginning Balenciaga was a classic high-end brand, but now their strategy has changed and they are revamping the brand and succesfully accelerating the business growth. The key factors of the brand’s success are:

  • A focus on a merchandising  strategy of single products and portfolio in order to maintain balance, coherency and continuity
  • A  renovated stylistic identity with streetwear, undone glamour, a luxury product that is more approachable and a new couture.

“The luxury product has changed, unfortunately, in my opinion. The emphasis has gone from quality and craftsmanship into the uniqueness of the product. The younger generation are looking for something that stands out and makes them special rather than necessarily an amazing finish that you would find with some traditional brands.” (Demna Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga)

The focus is more on contrasting products and wardrobe mix-and-match, since the young target seems to love it! While other French designers dream about the Parisian girl that lived in the past, Demna imagines a life in a metropolis lost in insecurity, the internet and multi-culturalism.

Kering group’s choice leaves us surprised on one hand, but on the other side the successful decision for Gucci to rely on Alessandro Michele has been a motivating factor. Isabelle Guichot, Balenciaga CEO, explained that it was a pleasure to welcome Demna in 2015. Over the years he adopted a innovative vision of creativity recalling in this sense Cristobal Balenciaga’s original view. He was able to interiorize the deep values of Balenciaga and re-elaborate them according to the alterations of the contemporary world.

Credits: www.fashionista.com, https://www.businessoffashion.com/

Ekaterina Okoulik

Backstage with Alberta Ferretti and her new more powerful woman

On the first day of Milan Fashion week Alberta Ferretti debuted at Rotonda della Besana for her fall-winter 2018/2019 show. I had the opportunity to work in the backstage and see her collection before the show .

With a new wave of feminism, Alberta Ferretti has used AW18 to reinvent the Ferretti woman.

She quite literally placed a ‘woman made of strong stuff’ at the centre of her show.

In fact, an impressive aluminum sculpture named “Gravity” by the artist Lorenzo Quinn was strategically displayed under the arches of the late Baroque complex of Rotonda della Besana, just in the middle of the runway.

The large geometric structure represented a suspended naked woman hanging from the hands of a naked man, encased in this aluminum structure.

info@imaxtree.com

The work displayed balance and strength between the sexes.

Supermodels such as the Hadid sisters, Kaia Gerber and Joan Smalls walked a runway that divided for the sculpture, reflecting her power.

“Everything revolves around the woman, who is at the center of the universe. She is the force of attraction of everything. She gives life, but it is the duty of the man to support and encourage her. I believe this is especially timely today,” explained the artist.

As a friend of Ferretti’s, Quinn said they had long wanted to collaborate on a project :

“I believe that my sculpture has a lot in common with the fashion and clothes of Alberta Ferretti, who has always described the idea of a woman who is aware of her position and strength,” declared Lorenzo Quinn.

For this season, Alberta Ferretti was inspired by the 1980s and wild west theme.

In fact, the designer makes her woman stronger and more sensual and AW18 has been curated for the confident women of today, focusing on silhouettes with important shoulders and declining daywear halfway between day and night.

Less chiffon, more leather. Less ethereal, more sexy.

When asked backstage who embodies this collection, Alberta Ferretti said: “I think all women. I am very curious. I like to understand which one is the woman of the near future. For me, the inspiration is you, you, you. It’s all women; the real woman. Through my designs, I wanted to highlight character affirmation, I imagined a confident and assertive woman.”

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Alberta Ferretti presented something different at her show and it was not only the giant aluminum sculpture by Lorenzo Quinn but the new personality, by adding denim for the first time in the runway and changing her romantic inclination.

In the backstage she explained : “Women today have changed, and fashion needs to speak in a different way. I wanted the women to have a big personality. The shoulders are important and to add a little bit more volume. There is a little touch of evening dress, but I think the women now want more personality”.

The collection saw denim jumpsuits with studded detailing, jersey garments and wool and leather mixtures to create voluminous capes.

Kaia Gerber opened the show wearing a silver-black western denim jumpsuit accessorised with a silk scarf around the neck and knee-high suede boots.info@imaxtree.com

Alberta Ferretti said “I want to give an example, it’s unusual for me to use denim in the show. However, we did use the denim and put it with the lamé or knitwear or leather. I feel more free to mix the collection; I think the women of today want to be respected.”

The main elements of the collection were the big shoulders, sequins, studs, ruffles, embroideries, fur-trimming, velvet in vibrant colours, including a pretty fabulous sleeveless cape coat in brick orange.

All the outfits were blended with eighties style volumes, not forgetting the touch of glitter and glam, in particularly in the dresses and coats.Alberta-3

Alberta-12The dominant colors were mostly black and silver, also for the few pieces of the evening dresses.

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There was also a vast variety of accessories from cowboy hats to chunky necklaces, gold metallic belts, elbow-length leather gloves in eye-popping colours and a number of velvet knee-high boots.

In the backstage the atmosphere was tense and everyone was nervous before the show.backstage-defile-alberta-ferretti-automne-hiver-2018-2019-milan-coulisses-76

Model’s hairstyle was curated by Guido Palau, the global Creative Director of Redken, who made naturally curly hair, parted in the centre and tucked behind their ears. While for the make up and beauty, Tom Pecheux, global beauty director for YSL, contrasted the 80s shapes and Western references with a glamorous eye liner flick with fresh faces and bushy brows, very natural.

Ferretti’s message was clear all throughout, where the full collection coincides with her vision of the modern and celebrates the multi-faceted femininity of today’s women … stronger … more aware … more sensual… A focal point of style, elegance and charm.info@imaxtree.com

 

 

 

Source : www.vogue.it/sfilate/sfilata/alberta-ferretti

Anna Luongo

Castello Di Ama: When wine Meets Contemporary Art

Castello Di Ama is a special place where an incredible natural setting and historical buildings meet to create the perfect combination of wine, art and heritage. Besides being a quality wine and olive oil producer, when you enter the Castello Di Ama you can feel the history and past lives of the place.

The family-owned vineyard is now run by a couple, Lorenza Sebasti and Marco Pallanti. Talking about wine, the Chianti Classico produced at Castello Di Ama ranks among the world’s most prestigious wines according to Gambero Rosso. With Tuscany’s unique rocky soil, wines became the symbol of the area.

 

But how has this place become a modern art exhibition?

 

The couple created the “Castello di Ama per l’Arte Contemporanea”, with their passion for modern art and creating an environment through the combination of art and place. Each year they invite artists to get inspiration from Castello di Ama and create a site-specific art piece. Inspirations come mainly from the history, vineyard, colours of nature and authenticity of the place.

 

So, who are those artists?

 

Michelangelo Pistoletto, Daniel Buren, Giulio Paolini, Kendell Geers, Anish Kapoor, Chen Zhen, Carlos Garaicoa, Cristina Iglesias, Nedko Solakov, Louise Bourgeois, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Pascale Marthine Tayou and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

When you enter the village the first thing you see is the stone road, where some of the paving stones are painted different colors. The road is an artwork by Pascale Marthine Tayou, “The Way to Happiness,” which leads you to the Castello.

After this happy welcome, the road leads to the historical building housing the wine cellar. But before going in to the cellar, take a look at the one-meter square opening in the floor. Looking down into what seems like a cage is a beautiful sculpture with an arrangement of a fountain by Louise Bourgeois called Topiary.

In the wine cellar there  is an artwork by Kendall Geers, “Noitu(lover)” in a neon red.

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“No true revolution is possible without love — the love of the wine, the earth, the rain, the love that is needed to change the way Chianti is understood. I could go on for a long while about love and revolution but I think it’s clear. What I like about the piece is that while it relates specifically to Castello di Ama it also relates to every revolution as well.” Kendell Geers.

 

 

 

 

 

After exiting the wine cellar another door opens to a room dedicated to an art installation “Paradigma” by Guilio Paolini.

 

Paradigma by Guilio Paolini                                  Cristina Iglesias

 

Moving on to the next installation, Cristina Iglesias created this beautiful artwork made of fiber glass. It fills up with water slowly for an hour until it reaches the top, and then empties out.

Walking around the old small village there is a chapel open to visitors, but also in the back of the chapel there is a small door for you enter the inspired artwork by Hiroshi Sugimoto.

 

 

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Also, Anish Kapoor has an art installation named Aima, which is in a chapel and described as fire and light. It is an optical illusion of a hole with a red spot the color of wine. When you see it first you don’t realise it is a deep hole but like a straight floor.But that’s because of an optical illusion.

 

 

 

 

Moving onto the basement, there is another art installation by Chen Zhen in another wine cellar with crystal glasses hung from the ceiling. Zhen called his work “La lumière intérieur du corps humain”.  Normally the place is kept totally dark because of the wine processing and fermentation. But with these crystal glasses you can see a little light inside with their shine.

Another inspiring and colourful artwork is Topos by Lee Ufan. In the video, he explains his inspiration and how he perceived the place.

 

 

The biggest artwork in the Castello di Ama, “Sulle vigne: punti di vista” by Daniel Buren, is 25 meters long and 2 meters high built at the front of the Castello and between the landscape view of vineyards. From the windows, it gives the viewer a sensation of a traditional painting of a landscape. By blocking the view of the landscape and showing this beautiful vineyard landscape from the windows, Buren emphasises the value of beauty of the landscape.

 

 

 

“Sulle vigne: punti di vista” by Daniel Buren

In Castello Di Ama you can enjoy your Tuscan wine along with the beauty of the place and artworks. The spot is not only a great vineyard where you can taste high quality Chianti, but also something you must experience.  

(All photos are taken by me)

Dicle Altintas

A procession of transhumans, walking in trancelike step through an operating theater: Gucci’s fall 2018 set

Time is a curious variable in fashion. The work of months and months is reduced on a runway to a handful of minutes. Clothes, make-up, music, the lights and the set are all the elements that help to build that moment.
A successful set evokes a story transporting the public to the runway inside the plot that the stylists want to share.
Gucci’s fall 2018 collection was presented in a super-weird show: a set with an operating table sitting ominously in the middle. Models walked out in Michele’s signature style: tweedy, embroidered, and print-heavy nerd-chic with the sound of the cardiac monitor throbbing in the background.

Someone was cradling a baby dragon while a couple of models had replicas of their own heads tucked under their arms.

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Another model sported a third eye in the middle of her forehead, while a variety of masks covered the faces of other models.

 

 

 

 

According to Gucci, the baby dragon was inspired by the real story of an author who staged finding a baby dragon in his garage in Oxfordshire, England while the two-headed models may have been referencing depictions of Christian saints carrying their own severed heads.

As weird as Gucci is, it has been an undeniable hit. The brand is especially popular with millennials,  who seem to have grown tired of the same standard beautiful clothes typical of the runways for years and are seeking brands with a unique point of view. That is one thing Gucci and Michele can certainly deliver, with high exposure to criticism from other maisons.

Francesco Oppo

 

Harvey Nichols teams up with Farfetch

Farfetch, the leading global e-commerce platform in the luxury segment, and Harvey Nichols, an international group of luxury department stores with a flagship in Knightsbridge, London, have signed a multi-year global partnership agreement. Harvey Nichols will be the first department store presented on the Farfetch platform.

The first step in this partnership will be to provide Harvey Nichols with the access to the online trading platform and logistics services of Farfetch, that will allow customers of the legendary department store chain to make purchases from any place of the world. The clients will also be able to use the services of Farfetch: return goods to department stores or ask for delivery on the day of the order. In the future, the two companies will proceed on joint development of additional technological and retail projects in the UK.  Thanks to further cooperation with Farfetch, Harvey Nichols will also strengthen its position in other world markets, especially digital ones.

Farfetch was  launched in 2008 by Portuguese entrepreneur Jose Neves as a global online trading platform for independent boutiques, but in 2015 became one of the most famous and popular online platforms hosting the world’s leading premium brands. Moreover, the e-company has a partnership with more than 880 boutiques and luxury brands from 40 countries. What is more astonishing,  the local web-sites and applications are already available in 11 languages and the delivery is carried out in 190 countries. Also, Farfetch Group includes Farfetch.com, Farfetch Black & White, Store of The Future and Browns (as well as Brownsfashion.com).

“We are very pleased that the partnership with us demonstrates the vision and progressive approach of the company and will bring many benefits to the customers around the world,” – José Neves, founder and CEO of Farfetсh.

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José Neves with Natalie Massenet, Farfetch

“Bringing such an iconic and much-loved department store to Farfetch is a strategic milestone for both companies. Once Farfetch is proving it is truly the technology platform for the whole luxury fashion industry: from luxury boutiques, offering a unique choice of models, to the most popular designers and luxury brands and now to the department stores, such as Harvey Nichols, that within 200 years managed to create a community of loyal customers and which is now ready to develop for their changing needs and future,” – Natalie Massenet, Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Farfetch.

Harvey Nichols is the world’s leading luxury trading company, known for its exclusive selection of brands in the segment of women’s and men’s clothing, accessories, perfumes and cosmetics, food and wine. Currently the company is running 8 department stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as 7 stores in other markets, covering 9 countries all around the world.

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Harvey Nichols, London

“This partnership proves Harvey Nichols’ commitment to the introduction of the latest digital technologies in our business. Considering Farfetch’s expertise in this field, we are happy to work with them and look forward to the results and future joint projects. The models of the best world brands presented in Harvey Nichols will now be available worldwide,” – Sir Dixon Poon, chairman and owner of Harvey Nichols.

Harvey Nichols, founded in 1831, now owns stores in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Dublin, as well as a separate perfume and cosmetics store, Beauty Bazaar, Harvey Nichols, in Liverpool.

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Advertising Campaign of Harvey Nichols

The luxury market grew by 5% to an estimated €1.2 trillion in 2017, according to consultancy firm Bain, which said the majority of that growth was down to spending by shoppers under 40. Online sales jumped 24% to account for 9% of luxury retail which explains why high-end brands such as Harvey Nichols are so eager to work with Farfetch, which boasts that the average age of its shoppers is 36 years old.

The department store branched into e-commerce in 2010 and about 10% of its sales are now done on the web. It aims to reach more customers online with the Farfetch deal, taking the access to customers in China, Japan and Korea as well as emerging markets like Russian and Latin America.

Daria Antonova

5 COOL TECHNOLOGIES THAT ARE SHAPING THE LUXURY WORLD

In recent years, new acronyms such as “AI” (Artificial Intelligence), “VR” (Virtual Reality), and “IoT” (Internet of Things) are more and more common in our vocabulary. These technologies can indeed contribute to improving not only our daily life, but also innovative businesses.

What about luxury companies, though?

They are adopting these technologies as well, with the goal of creating new consumer-to-consumer and brand-to-consumer interactions, especially among younger generations.

To name just one example, Tommy Hilfiger was one of the first brands to profit from a Facebook Messenger bot, created during the NYFW in the year 2016 to answer customers enquiries online, and with the ambitious goal to drive sales.

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Sound cool? Then keep on reading below.

  1. ModiFace is an automatic facial analysis technology which has been introduced by Estée Lauder on its e-commerce platform. What it does is to allow shoppers to view makeup on their faces in real-time, as buying beauty products without a try-on is clearly discouraging the online purchase. With this technology, customers and prospects will be able to choose the perfect shade for their own skin, which will improve their online shopping experience and, ultimately, drive to a growth in e-commerce sales.

modiface

  1. The international beauty retailer Sephora is doing something similar, through its “Sephora Virtual Artist bot” for Facebook Messenger. This chat feature is basically helping consumers achieve their desired beauty look with help from artificial intelligence and augmented reality, allowing them to find and try on product shades that correspond to hues in images. Given the success of the colour matching feature on the Sephora Virtual Artist bot for Facebook Messenger, this has been extended also to Sephora’s mobile applications for iOS and Android.

sephora

  1. Another example from the beauty industry is from Japan’s Shiseido, which took the artificial intelligence trend one step further by employing humanoid robots on its assembly lines.The cosmetic company is working hard to establish a new form of manufacturing through a collaboration between humans and robots.
  1. The startup Heuritech was the winner of the first edition of the LVMH Innovation Award (2015), launched by the French conglomerate to help move the luxury industry forward by financially supporting young companies. This technology leverages artificial intelligence to detect trends online – but how? Every day, it analyses millions of untagged images shared on social media, which turns out to be extremely useful for fashion and luxury houses to measure product trends and to know their clients better.heuritech2

 

  1. What if you could be have the sensation of being inside a Dali or Magritte painting? This is what the auctioneer Sotheby’s did in 2017, when it brought Surrealist masterpieces to life by using virtual reality. It created a 360-degree virtual reality film (viewable on YouTube and heightened through Google Cardboard), that allowed viewers to feel immersed into these Surrealist paintings, before getting to see them in the Sotheby’s Surrealist Art Evening Sale, the real-life auction that took place in London a few days later this original initiative.

 

sotheby's

Finally, another recent technology that is worth mentioning is Farfetch’s Augmented Retail Programme created exclusively for Chanel, one of the few luxury brands totally immune to e-commerce. The French maison however asked Farfetch just for a tailored support for developing new technologies, that are still under development. Although this project is still in its early stages, last April the company unveiled a few key applications to demonstrate its potential: a universal login that recognises a customer as she checks into a store; an RFID-enabled clothing rack that detects which products she is browsing and auto-populates her wishlist; a digital mirror that allows her to view her wishlist and summon items in different sizes and colours; a mobile payment experience similar to what exists in Apple Stores; and, of course, the underlying data layer that connects these services with each other and the Farfetch platform.

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What is going to happen after this deal will definitely be interesting…

To conclude, it is clear that digital innovations are driving the future across all the industries, including luxury. Online, mobile and in-store experience will benefit from the use of new technologies such as AR or VR, as they can create a stronger connection with consumers, and nurture “the dream” surrounding luxury brands.

 

Wake Up, Italy!!!/Wake Up, Italy!!! Why brands must cooperate to compete

In the 21st century, it seems like sharing values and costs is the new success strategy for luxury brands. More in detail, this post aims to analyze the luxury fashion industry from a European and later on Italian point of view, focusing on the importance on being competitive not only as a stand-alone but also in a conglomerate perspective.

Even if many important players in the industry are still privately owned (like Chanel, belonging to the Wertheimer family, and Christian Dior Couture) or publicly traded (like Hermès, Moncler, and Salvatore Ferragamo), multiple best-known brands belong to major conglomerates.

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The LVMH group (total 2015 revenues were almost $40 bn, said Deloitte) counts in its luxury fashion portfolio giants Louis Vuitton, Dior perfume, and FendiKering group (previously PPR), although it is not performing as outstandingly like its French rival LVMH, boasts extremely successful brands such as Gucci, Stella Mc Cartney, and Bottega Veneta (total 2015 revenues $12.8 bn, Deloitte).

 

LVMH vs Kering Group

The Swiss group Richemont (total 2015 revenues $12.2 bn), mainly focused on Watches and Jewelry, is eagerly earning market share in fashion. The other Swiss group Labelux follows closely. Puig (based in Barcelona and still managed and privately owned by the Puig family, with total revenues around $2 bn), operates in both fragrances and fashion, being the major shareholder of Jean Paul Gaultier and operating in the perfume sector under the license of brands like Comme des Garçons, Prada, and Valentino.

 

Puig, Labelux, and Richemont

It is pretty natural to ask ourselves why is it that Italy, being the leading country for Luxury fashion labels (25% of the best performing Luxury brands are Italian), does not compete in terms of conglomerates.

 

dieselOnly The Brave

In fact, the only Italian conglomerate is OTB (Only The Brave, total 2015 revenues $1.8 bn), followed by entities such as the Prada Group (owning Prada, Miu Miu, Church’s and Car Shoe – total 2015 revenues almost $4 bn), Diego Della Valle’s Group (Tod’s, Hogan, Fay, and Roger Vivier – total revenues $1.2 bn), Aeffe Group (Alberta Ferretti, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, and Pollini), the Valentino Fashion Group (Valentino, REDValentino – copeting closely with Tod’s Group in terms of revenues) and few more.

 

Tod’s Group

 

Valentino Fashion Group

While Italian brands have been able to reach high performance and do have strong potential, when it comes to size they do not compete with the major French conglomerates.

It is fundamental, with the luxury industry going in a “sharing & economy of scale” direction, for Italian brands to cooperate in multiple areas in order to remain competitive. Why does our beloved country keep on failing to create its own Luxury giant?

According to the Financial Times, Andrea Illy, the incoming head of Altagamma Association, admits that the country’s eminent luxury entrepreneurs have difficulty co-operating. It could be that, due to cultural factors, Italian brands do have difficulties in sharing costs and strategies in a corporate environment.

The next logical question would then be:

Is there another way Italian brands can compete in a sharing and synergy-driven global environment? Do we have, as a country, a meeting point we are willing to work on in a cooperative way in order to reaffirm the Made in Italy as a global identity? How can we radically integrate our value systems, culture, and vision?

 

C.S.

The new China in Luxury Fashion: India

 

In the last 5 years, Asia has become a power player in the luxury industry because it is the fastest-growing market. But Chinese and Indian luxury consumers don’t have the same taste in terms of clothes. Indians look for clothing that has more local inspiration and is more related to their culture, unlike Chinese consumers. By balancing these two consumers, luxury brands follow different paths to win them both.

Reports about luxury markets predicted that by 2020 Indian luxury market growth will be high and Chinese market will slow down. Now, the growth rate is getting closer to the Chinese luxury market.

After experiencing the power of Chinese luxury customers and making huge profits by focusing on them, luxury brands want to have all emerging countries in their customer portfolios. You can see clearly the new focus on India in the luxury fashion market.

 

As an example, Dior’s resort 2018 collection has Indian culture-inspired patterns and colors. Elle India posted a cover in January 2018 with an Indian actress, Sonam Kapoor, wearing a Dior dress that started a controversy. People Tree, a local Indian boutique, claimed that Dior copied their hand-made pattern. Dior did not make an official release about the claim but still we can’t deny that they understood the power of Indian luxury market.

 

 

 

Picture: ELLEINDIA                                                    Pictures: Instagram: People Tree

 

Another fashion house, Gucci, understood the power of Chinese luxury consumer and focused on them in last 4 years, generating a boom in sales that surpassed most of the other fashion houses. Today, Kering Group’s profits mostly came from Gucci because of this approach. Now Gucci, just released their FW 2018/2019 collection which includes lots of inspiration from Indian culture, like the Sikh Turbans that really took lots of attention after the show. Also, in twitter and instagram leaded fashion editors and stylists criticised some colours and shapes of pieces from the collection significantly related with Indian culture. 

 

(Pictures: Best Image/Backgrid)
Also, since India is a leading buyer and manufacturer of of gold jewellery, brands are also focusing on jewellery too. Luxury houses match their outfits with Indian-inspired jewellery this season. Jean Paul Gaultier launched its Fall 2017 collection inspired completely by India. Clothes and jewellry were in line and had all the characteristics of Indian culture. At the Star Wars: The Last Jedi film premiere, Dita Von Teese chose a Jean Paul Gaultier dress that has the most significant characteristics of Indian inspired dresses with matching the Indian jewellry culture.

 

 

 

Picture: Vogue.com       Picture:JOHN SALANGSANG/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

 

Of course, with the changing focus of luxury fashions to India, Vogue saw the opportunity of this country’s emerging fashion market and made an approach to grab a share. In the new Vogue India February cover, Kim Kardashian West is featured all dressed up Indian inspired clothes and jewellery.

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Vogue India: February 2018

 

With this approach, Vogue wanted to create a brand awareness since Kim Kardashian is very popular in the country among consumers from top to bottom.

 

Also because of the richness of Indian culture in design, brands have lots of information and different inspirations for their collections. Fast fashion is no exception. Zara as the top brand of fast fashion has a collection based on India’s pastel colors and shapes in stores now. The lungi is another shape of skirt that highly correlated with India, and they copied a lunghi-inspired skirt from luxury brands. If the fast fashion copies a trend that means this trend is very popular.

We will expect to see more India inspired clothes in terms of patterns, colours and shapes in the coming years.

Dicle Altintas