THE LATEST APPOINTMENTS: CARTIER, CACHAREL & CHRISTIAN DIOR

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Raf Simons has been appointed as creative director of Christian Dior, succeeding John Galliano.

 

The Latest Appointments at Starwood Hotels, Christie’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Cartier, YSL Beauté, Sonia Rykiel, PPR, Bentley Motors, Akris & Cacharel

The Dior saga is finally over. After one year of speculation – where everyone from Riccardo Tisci, Marc Jacobs, Kayne West, Alber Elbaz, Alexander Wang and even the disgraced Galliano himself were rumoured to be taking the top spot – Raf Simons has been confirmed to head womenswear and haute couture, whilst Kris Van Assche continues to head design at Dior Homme.

Over at Richemont, group manufacturing director Jan Rupert is stepping down to focus on other activities and to broaden his remit within the family of companies controlled by Johann Rupert. Whilst Mr. Rupert will remain an executive director of the group, Richard Lepeu, Richemont’s deputy chief executive, will oversee the group’s manufacturing strategy as of April 1.

At PPR, Gucci America’s president Laura Lendrum has resigned to pursue other opportunities according to WWD. Ms. Lendrum joined Gucci in 1997, and moved to Yves Saint Laurent America as president in 2001. Gucci president and chief executive officer Patrizio di Marco will oversee the Americas region in the interim until the company names a successor.

Raf Simons, Creative Director, Dior

Ending a year of speculation, Belgian designer Raf Simons has been named as the next artistic director of Christian Dior, following his recent exit from Jil Sander. Mr. Simons will be in charge of haute couture, women’s ready-to-wear and accessories, starting with the couture show in July, while keeping his eponymous men’s line. Kris Van Assche remains in his position at Dior Homme.

Source: NYTimes
Stanislas de Quercize, CEO, Cartier

Cartier has appointed Stanislas de Quercize to take over from Bernard Fornas as chief executive of top-of-the-range jewellery and watchmaker Cartier. Mr. De Quercize is currently serving as CEO of fellow Richemont subsidiary Van Cleef & Arpels, and will replace Mr Fornas at the end of the year, when he is due to retire.

Source: Reuters
Joshua Schulman, President, Bergdorf Goodman

Following his departure from Jimmy Choo in late 2011, Joshua Schulman has been named president of U.S. luxury retailer Bergdorf Goodman. Prior to his tenure as CEO of Jimmy Choo, Mr. Schulman served as executive vice president at the Gucci Group, where he oversaw worldwide merchandising and wholesale for Yves Saint Laurent, and served as worldwide director of Gucci women’s ready-to-wear.

Source: WWD
Stephan Bezy, General Manager, YSL Beauté

Joining the Management Committee of L’Oreal Luxe, Stephan Bezy has been appointed International General Manager of Yves Saint Laurent Beauté. Mr. Bezy joined L’Oréal in 1991 and has since served as global President at Redken, International General Manager at Shu Uemura and General Manager of Cacharel.

Source: Premium Beauty News
Management Team, Starwood Hotels & Resorts

Starwood has restructured its executive team following the retirement of three senior leaders, Matt Avril, President of the Hotel Group; Denise Coll, President of Starwood North America; and Miguel Ko, Chairman and President of Starwood Asia Pacific.

Currently president and CEO of Starwood Vacation Ownership, Sergio Rivera, has been promoted to co-president of Starwood Americas. Osvaldo Librizzi who assumes primary responsibility for Latin America joins him as co-president of Starwood Americas. Stephen Ho, currently Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Development for Starwood China, has been promoted to President of Asia Pacific. And finally currently head of Starwood’s operations for China, Qian Jin, has been promoted to the title of President of Greater China.

Source: PR Newswire
Vincent Gillet, Brand Chief, W & Le Meridien

Starwood has appointed Vincent Gillet as brand chief for W Hotels and Le Meridien brands, replacing Eva Ziegler. Mr. Gillet has spent the last two decades working on well-known luxury brands for LVMH, Chanel and Pernod Ricard, followed by a three-year tenure as chief marketing officer at Six Senses Resorts & Spas.

Source: USA Today
Eric Langon, Managing Director, Sonia Rykiel

Eric Langdon has been appointed as managing director of Sonia Rykiel effective April 16, where he will report to CEO Jean-Marc Loubier, also CEO of Fung Brands, which acquired an 80 per cent stake in the French fashion house in February. Most recently Mr. Langon served as chief operating officer at Lancel.

Source: WWD
Katrina Burchell, Intellectual Property Director, PPR

Katrina Burchell has been charged with the task of re-organising and monitoring PPR’s Intellectual Property function, joining the French conglomerate as Intellectual Property Director. Prior to her appointment, Ms. Burchell headed the Trademarks, copyrights and domain names at Unilever group.

Source: 4-Traders
Emile Rubenfield, CEO, Carolina Herrera

Emilie Rubinfeld has been appointed vice president of global marketing and communications, in a newly created title at Carolina Herrera. Most recently Ms. Rubinfeld served as senior vice president of marketing and communications at Akris, following tenure as vice president of marketing at Giorgio Armani Corp.

Source: WWD
Jinqing Caroline Cai, Managing Director, Christie’s China

Auction house Christie’s has appointed its first managing director in China, Jinqing Caroline Cai, effective June 1. A founder of the Brunswick Group, a global PR firm in Beijing, Ms. Cai will manage the office and oversee all activities involving the Chinese marketplace.

Source: JustLuxe
Katie Reed, Associate Vice President, Akris

Katie Reed has joined Akris as associate vice president of marketing and communications, following service at Patek Philippe North America, as public relations and communications director. Ms. Reed will oversee all areas of marketing, advertising, public relations and special events in the U.S.

Source: WWD
Kevin Rose, Sales & Marketing Chief, Bentley Motors

As part of a reshuffle of senior marketers within Volkswagen Group UK, Kevin Rose has joined Bentley Motors as its new board level sales and marketing chief, taking over from Alasdair Stewart. Mr. Rose joins from parent group Volkswagen’s China business, where he was executive vice president for sales.

Bentley has also named Andrea Baker as head of media relations, who most recently served as head of public relations with Porsche Cars Great Britain.

Source: Marketing Week
Source: JustLuxe.com
Pascal d’Halluin, CEO, Cacharel

Pascal d’Halluin has been appointed chief executive officer of Cacharel, succeeding managing director Marc Ramanantsoa, effective March 19. Mr. d’Halluin worked with L’Oréal for eight years before taking over as CEO of Lee Cooper France in 1994.

Source: Just Style
Michael Burgess, President, Saks Direct

Saks Inc. has named Michael Burgess president of Saks Direct, reporting to Denise Incandela, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Mr. Burgess was most recently led merchandising, marketing, consumer information technology and other functions of the consumer division of FTD, the florist, which is owned by United Online Inc.

Source: WWD
Michael Kingston, SVP & CIO, Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus Group has named Michael R. Kingston senior vice president and chief information officer, succeeding Phillip Maxwell, who earlier this month announced his retirement. Earlier, Mr. Kingston served as vice president, applications at Coach Inc. and international director of information services at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton.

Source: WWD

For more in the series of The Latest Appointments, please see our most recent editions as follows:

The Latest Appointments: Givenchy, Jil Sander & Yves Saint Laurent
The Latest Appointments, Pucci, Tod’s & Girard-Perregaux
The Latest Appointments, Bulgari, Labelux & Net-a-Porter


© Luxury Society, The Latest Appointments: Cartier, Cacharel & Christian Dior, 17 April 2012, by Sophie Doran


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THE FUTURE OF FASHION WEEK, DECIDEDLY DIGITAL

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KCD’s Digital Fashion Shows technology could mean the end of the ‘front row’ as we know it

KCD’s Digital Fashion Shows platform wins the approval of editors and designers, but does it pose the potential to negate the need for the press?

“I was dubious about the technology thing at first but it’s become the complete norm now,” declared British designer Roksanda Ilincic to Vogue UK, following the news that PR powerhouse KCD is to launch complete digital coverage of shows, debuting later this week at New York Fashion Week.

“I think digital fashion shows will definitely be a success,” she continued, “but on the other hand, it will be very different from when people actually see and feel the clothes at a show.”

For decades, the catwalk has been the fundamental place for designers to reach retail buyers, magazine editors and flaunt relationships with influential stylists and celebrities. Digital technology has more recently extended the reach of the runway to consumers and bloggers, whilst the Internet alone has facilitated rapid sharing of complete collections by both brands and the media.


“I think digital fashion shows will be a success, but it will be very different from when people actually see & feel the clothes at a show.”


That said, the most innovative digital catwalk projects have so far focused sharply on consumers. Burberry has led the pack with Runway to Reality (for VIP clients to shop the runway) and last season’s Tweetwalk (for the aspirational advocates on Twitter).

Dolce & Gabanna, Louis Vuitton, Viktor & Rolf and Gucci have all called upon live-stream technology to share their runways with the world, but aside from the selective but brilliant video coverage from Style.com, detail, craftsmanship, inspiration, beauty and construction are often issues left immediately overlooked.

This is all set to change should the fashion set embrace KCD’s Digital Fashion Shows platform, which co-president Ed Filipowski claims will provide “all the information and materials needed to review, cover and potentially buy the collection, just like a physical show.” Uncharacteristically democratic, the KCD model extends a front-row invitation to all invitation-only guests and behind the scenes access to match.


“The platform provides all the information and materials needed to review, cover and potentially buy the collection, just like a physical show.”


Designers pay $150,000 to $300,000 – the approximate cost of a small-to-medium-size show – to share their collection with its password protected guests, who can view the show on computer, tablet or mobile. Designers are required to display looks head-to-foot and provide detail shots, information on the clothes and beauty notes for the use of editors and buyers (WSJ).

The concept has already been celebrated by designer Paul Smith, who believes that the “idea allows a brand to say exactly what it wants to about its collection” and describe collections in all the details the brand feels necessary.

“Suzy Menkes might simply describe a ‘leather jacket’, while we can say what exactly it’s made of, and why it’s the most beautiful item in the world. I’ve struggled in the past with journalists getting it wrong – calling my prints ’computer-generated” when they were actually hand-painted fabrics, for example. So it would make quite a difference to be able to say it ourselves,” he told Vogue UK.

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Burberry’s Runway to Reality allowed VIP clients to order directly from the catwalk, on custom iPad technology within Burberry stores

Editors such as Vanessa Friedman (Financial Times) and Alexandra Schuman (Vogue UK) have also acknowledged its conceptual relevance, citing “economic pressures on magazines, newspapers and retailers” and the need to cover “a huge amount of collections” as key reasons KCD’s platform could become an industry staple.

Designers and editors alike have mused on the benefits the platform could have on the quality of coverage as well as product, particularly when it comes to autumn and spring pre-collections. Roksanda Ilincic explained it could curb the need for her brand to travel to New York to sell the pre-collection, a process that often delays work on the mainline.

Vanessa Friedman explained that digital coverage could put two pre-collections that currently run sporadically for two months “all in one place, to be viewed and reviewed as a whole in a way that has been impossible thus far.” But she then went on to wonder what this could all mean for the role of the critic, begging the question: “if editorial outlets can get all this information for free, why have a middleman?”


“The platform begins to negate the need for the press. These days brands can reach huge audiences via our own social media.”


Paul Smith concurred, suggesting that the platform “begins to negate the need for the press. These days we can reach huge audiences via our own social media,” he continued. “A brand need only put someone famous in its clothes and eight million people on Facebook can know about it immediately.”

It is doubtful the platform will change the structure of the fashion media in its formative years. Brands may relish the ability to tell their own story in great detail, but it is difficult to think any technology could rapidly replace the current system of press coverage based largely on attendance.

But in an increasingly digital media arena, the system certainly has the potential to enhance the richness – and accuracy – of content and ensure truly global coverage, unrestricted by the costs associated with fashion week travel. For young designers attempting to reach a large audience on a relatively small dime, it makes nothing but sense.

“There is an entire generation of people whose eyes are trained digitally – it’s how they view fashion,” explains Ed Filipowski. “We need to look at our industry and ask how we can cater to that, as well as maintaining the integrity and credibility of fashion while making our lives easier. This way, we can hopefully offer a creative way of offering a front row experience to more than just the usual elite few. This way everyone gets the fashion knowledge.”


To further investigate Fashion & Digital Technology on Luxury Society, we invite your to explore the related materials as follows:

Luxury Society Report: The Digital Agenda
Digital Leaders: Kamel Ouadi, EVP, NOWNESS
The Latest Digital, Chanel, Valentino & Montblanc
Augmenting Luxury Realities: Jonathan Chippindale, Holition


© Luxury Society, The Future of Fashion Week, Decidedly Digital, 6 February 2012, by Sophie Duran.


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LUXURY PROPERTY DEMAND OUTSTRIPS SUPPLY IN LONDON & MANHATTAN

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Located on a Penthouse floor in the Time Warner Center, this Manhattan property is listed with Sotheby’s for $60 million.

Looming economic uncertainty seems not to be affecting the high end property markets of London and Manhattan, instead the wealthy can’t seem to find enough property to buy

A “herd-like mentality” is said to have spurred luxury property buyers in the past several quarters, as the wealthy once again enthusiastically invest in hotspots like London and Manhattan. Despite forecasted economic storms and the liberal use of the words ‘debt’ and ‘crisis’, both locations are currently enjoying such a boom at the high end of the market, that demand has outstripped supply.

According to real-estate broker Savills Plc., the number of London houses and apartments that sold for more than 5 million pounds rose 31 percent to 262 in the nine months through September. Over in Manhattan, the supply of apartments for sale over 5 million dollars, reached the lowest level for an October since 2007. As Shari Scharfer-Rollins, SVP at the Corcoran Group brokerage puts it: “Inventory is down and demand is up.”

Christie’s recent State of the International Luxury Market report suggested that scarcity of property was driving up luxury real estate prices, particularly in top cities such as London, Paris, Hong Kong, New York and Beverley Hills. The report also went on to muse that sellers worldwide have adapted to a new reality in luxury housing and are beginning to accept that their residence is not going to command the same price that it might have in 2007.


“Market activity and optimism increased throughout 2011. Inventory is down and demand is up.”


Resultantly, market activity and optimism increased throughout 2011. Christie’s went so far as to identify ‘a lack of quality housing inventory’ as the biggest challenge markets were to face in the coming months. A sentiment this week echoed by Jason Haber, CEO of New York real estate broker Rubicon.

Speaking with Bloomberg, Mr. Haber revealed that his agents were now cold-mailing townhouse owners around New York City, to see if anyone might consider selling. “That’s not something you would do if the market was flush with high-end inventory,” he said of the strategy. “That’s a sign of the times. This is a ready, willing and able buyer and we can’t find the product for him.”

In London – albeit for varying reasons – luxury homebuyers are having similar troubles. The locals especially, following news that of the number of London houses and apartments that sold for more than 5 million pounds, overseas buyers comprised 65 percent. Knight Frank identified wealthy southern Europeans as buyers of properties worth at least 1 million pounds in London’s well to do Chelsea and South Kensington, generally as pure investments, second homes, or accommodation for children studying at university.


“This is a sign of the times. We have a ready, willing and able buyer and we can’t find the product for him.”


Investments identified as particularly timely by Philip Beresford, compiler of London’s Estates Gazette Rich list. “London is doing well on the back of the luxury market as the world’s billionaires flood in, either as investors in the property market or buyers of top end properties as bolt holes in these very uncertain times,” he revealed to Reuters.

Particular interest has been noted from Italy, Greece and Spain, where the wealthy are said to be attracted by the security and stability of the London property market, as well as liquidity and well-kept property registers. “We’ve got Italian and Greek buyers who have confirmed that view … They want to have money in a safe haven, preferably not a bank, or stocks because it is too volatile,” remarked Nick Candy, development manager and designer of One Hyde Park.

The 1 billion pound development is home to apartments ranging from £7 – £136 million pounds each, which are according to Mr. Candy, attracting interest from buyers currently experiencing instability in home markets. “We have a lot of viewings going on from any country that has got economic or political turmoil,” he told Reuters.


“ The dollar is weak and foreign buyers find that they can get more in New York City as an investment than they used to be able to ”


And then there is the issue of currency. Property agency Knight Frank recently revealed research suggesting that Chinese buyers benefited from a 24 percent purchasing power discount based on the Yuan-sterling forex rate between the peak of the prime London housing market in March 2008 and October 2011.

Chinese luxury home buyers were said to be leading a legion of “cash-rich non-UK investors” in search of upmarket London homes, with demand driven by currency exchange rates that produce discounts of up to a quarter on purchase prices. A similar tale unfolds across the pond in Manhattan, as Ms. Scharfer-Rollins confirms: “The dollar is weak and I think foreign buyers find that they can get more in New York City as an investment than they used to be able to.”


© Luxury Society, Luxury Property Demand Outstrips Supply in London & Manhattan, 21 November 2011, by Sophie Duran.


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LUXURY, FULLY CUSTOMISABLE IN 2012

 

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Coach’s Year of the Dragon collection, developed in collaboration with Chinese artist Zhang Lan.

As luxury consumers become more diverse and discerning, we investigate how brands are approaching an increasingly fragmented international market.

I would be happy to argue that luxury has become one of the most globalised industries in the world. Rapid and aggressive expansion by super brands like Louis Vuitton, Rolls Royce, Rolex and Four Seasons, backed by powerful super conglomerates like LVMH, Richemont and PPR, has seen luxury permeate areas of the earth once better known for human rights conflicts than seven-star hotels.

At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, luxury has never been bigger – nor has it ever had larger levels of retailers, consumers, publicity and services. As the game moves at a breakneck pace, success in this industry has become driven by Darwinian thinking, where brands must quite literally, adapt or die.

Whether it be conforming to the consumer driven digital revolution, selling goods on the internet or responding to the need for personalisation of iconic products, it has been those brands quickest to embrace change that have remained the most agile and best positioned to absorb the effects of economic instability.


“ For me bespoke is exactly what luxury should be. Old-fashioned luxury is about having something especially made for you – Anya Hindmarch ”


Difficult when you consider that luxury is unique, in that the customer and the Maison are always right. Keeping a brand “luxury” is just as much about dictating what that brand is and what it stands for, as much as it is about bending over backwards to give a client what they want. But in saying this, in 2012 it feels like the pendulum of favour may be swinging toward consumers. Brands seem to have conceded the need to deliver outside their traditional value charter – whether that is a Facebook page or Hermès Sari.

The fruits of such logic are ever apparent when one looks at the products luxury brands will be taking with them into 2012 – products that are not only regionally and culturally thoughtful, but often made-to-order and sometimes designed entirely by the customer. Whilst 2011 was an active year for the launch of bespoke initiatives for brands, I can’t help but think it was just a taste of what’s to come. Vanessa Friedman often muses that three times makes a trend – if that is the case, expect to see a veritable avalanche of bespoke
options in the coming twelve months.

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Anya Hindmarch and an example of a made-to-order product from her Bespoke boutique.

Mass Customisation

Customisation is nothing new – it is if anything, a founding principle of luxury – but it certainly is something incredibly popular in fashion and accessories. And in an era where luxury has penetrated the mass market and something afforded by the middle class, what could be more appropriate? The only thing more luxurious than a signature Burberry trench, is a signature Burberry trench made entirely to your specifications, which technology has now made a reality on a global scale.

Burberry’s Bespoke service allows clients to choose fabrics, patterns, designs, cuts and even colours. In addition, they can to scroll through various options in collar styles, cuff straps and mink linings, among others. The completed product is be delivered within four to eight weeks.


“ In an era where luxury has penetrated the mass market and become a status symbol of the middle class, what could be more appropriate? ”


UK accessories brand Anya Hindmarch, established a dedicated bespoke retail space in London over two years ago, most recently launching online. Speaking with The Telegraph, the designer mused that “old-fashioned luxury is about having something especially made for you. It’s something that has a story.” Her Knightsbridge boutique has an on-site craftsman, developing an array of leather goods as diverse as £75 bookmarks, through made-to-measure wallets, to Hindmarch’s £15,000 crocodile-leather Ebury bags.

And as luxury menswear becomes more and more important to the landscape, it is unsurprising to learn that Louis Vuitton and Bally now both offer made-to-order shoes – and in the case of Vuitton, made-to-order handbags for women. Prada launched customisable eyewear and accessories options last year, Gucci moved into made-to-measure suits and shoes. Brioni recently revealed that 40% of its sales are derived from its bespoke products, stitched by hand in the Southern Italian town of Penne.

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Blancpain’s “Chinese Dragon” Caruso, limited to a run of only 50 units worldwide, retailing for approximately $220,000.

Regional Customisation

Regional influence has extended well beyond local inventory management and appropriate
communications strategies. Today geography not only exudes overt influence on product design but seeks to compliment – or should I say capitalise – on local culture and religion. 2012 will make an example out of China, with the significant number of products designed by luxury brands, celebrating the Year of the Dragon.

Just this week, Vertu has launched a luxury dragon-themed mobile phone based on its Signature collection, with prices hovering above $20,000. Coach has collaborated with Chinese artist Zhang Lan on an accessories collection, adorning the brand’s signature designs and mahogany colour scheme with golden dragons rendered in a style reminiscent of traditional Chinese ink painting (Jing Daily).


“ How far can brands travel in their quest to please consumers before they lose their own specific defining values and cultural heritage? ”


Piaget threw an elaborate gala in Beijing to launch its Dragon and Phoenix collections, Shanghai Tang collaborated with Nespresso for its Dragon collection and Rolls Royce has released a limited edition Phantom for the occasion – unsurprising when they now claim to sell more cars in China than they do in the West.

Swarovski lauded the event with a jewellery and timepiece collection whilst Versace designed a collection of flashy accessories starting at $5000, for distribution exclusively in the Asia Pacific region. Blancpain debuted its “Chinese Dragon” Caruso, priced at 1.4 million Yuan (approximately $220,000), limited to a run of only 50 units worldwide.

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Louis Vuitton’s 2010 celebration of Diwali, which included a collaboration with Indian artist Rajeev Sethi, whose window concepts were installed from Beirut to Shanghai and from Johannesburg to Oslo.

Many of these sentiments were evident in India 2011, when Hermès produced a range of Saris and Bottega Veneta its ‘Knot India’ collection, coinciding with its exhibition in Mumbai. Louis Vuitton was characteristically ahead of the curve back in 2010, when they feted Diwali, the Indian Festival of Lights, on a global scale.

Whilst pursuing these types of strategies is neither a surprising move nor a new one – particularly when you consider the fanfare that is Christmas – an increasingly diverse customer base is forcing brands into new territories and cultures that are not there own, as we have seen with the Year of the Dragon. But to remain successful, history suggests they must also stay true to their luxury positioning, the specialities and strengths of their own native soil and essentially, retain tight control their of brand image – easily achieved
by controlling the products on the market.

The question remains, how far can brands travel in their quest to please consumers before they lose their own specific defining values and cultural heritage? Does a Sari made in France by Hermès, hold real significance to an Indian consumer? How will products change again with the emerging strength of Brazil and continued prosperity in Russia?

With any luck 2012 will answer some of these questions, but as always, we invite our members to join the discussion below.

For more in our Bulletin series, please see our most recent editions as follows:


© Luxury Society, Luxury, Fully Customisable in 2012, by Sophie Doran.


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