THE LATEST APPOINTMENTS: CHRISTIE’S, RICHEMONT & FERRARI

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Nicolas Ghesquière and Balenciaga will part ways at the end of November (Image: Giovanni Giannoni, WWD / Condé Nast / Corbis).

The Latest Appointments at Tom Ford, Walpole, Alberta Ferretti, Richemont, Orient-Express & Vertu, with exits at Balenciaga, Gilt Groupe, Azzaro & Cacharel.

After 15 years with PPR, Nicolas Ghesquière and Balenciaga have reached a “joint decision to end their working relationship,” effective Nov. 30. CEO Isabelle Guichot told WWD a successor would be named “as soon as we’re ready,” and that the brand already has a short list of candidates. Over the weekend Christopher Kane was rumoured to take the top spot, something he has since denied to WWD.

Over at Azzaro, creative director Mathilde Castello Branco has stepped down from her role after just over a year. “The House of Azzaro and Mathilde Castello Branco are moving forward in different directions,” explained a statement from the brand. “Azzaro will shortly be announcing her successor.”

At Cacharel, CEO Pascal d’Halluin has confirmed his exit, also after less than one year in the role. According to WWD, the executive is leaving by mutual agreement with the French label’s founder and president Jean Bousquet following his trial period.

Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, chairman of Ferrari, has resigned his position as chairman of Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori, Europe’s first private operator of high-speed trains. “My growing professional commitments force me to step back now that the company is fully operational,” Montezemolo explained to Reuters. “I will continue to contribute to the success of this company, as shareholder and board member.”

Finally Gilt Group’s board and co-founder Kevin Ryan have “agreed about two months ago that Ryan should step aside in favour of a new CEO with strong operations and e-commerce skills.” The to-be-named replacement will be the company’s third CEO in two years, and is expected to steer the eventual launch of an IPO.

Marc Spiegler, Director, Art Basel

Marc Spiegler has been appointed to oversee Art Basel events in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, Florida & Hong Kong, as the organisation re-arranges its leadership team. Mr. Spiegler will chair a four-member executive committee including a director of new initiatives, director Asia, and a director of resources and finance who will be named in the near future.

Source: Gallerist
Kamel Ouadi, Managing Director, Christie’s

Kamel Ouadi has joined famed auction house Christie’s as international managing director. Mr. Ouadi most recently served at Louis Vuitton as chief digital officer/chief creative officer, where he was responsible for the conception and launch of NOWNESS.com

Source: LinkedIn
Jean-Guillaume Prats, CEO, Estates & Wines

Jean-Guillaume Prats will join LVMH-owned Estates & Wines effective February 2013. Mr. Prats will be based in Paris, and will be a board member of the LVMH Comité Opérationnel. Since 2011, Prats has been chairman of the board of Domaines Reybier and Château Cos d’Estournel.

Source: Decanter
Eddy Cue, Board, Ferrari

Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP Internet software and services has joined the board of Ferrari. Mr. Cue currently oversees the iTunes Store, the App Store and the iBookstore, as well as Siri, Maps, iAd and Apple’s iCloud services.

Source: New Car Net
Christophe de Pous, CEO, Gucci North America

Effective January 1, Christophe de Pous will assume responsibility for Gucci North America. Mr. De Pous has served as president and CEO of Gucci Japan since September 2009, and replaces Lauren Lendrum, who left the position in April.

Source: Styleite
Cristina Egal, Managing Director, Lorenz Bäumer

Cristina Egal has been named the first managing director of Lorenz Bäumer, reporting to Bäumer, the president, founder and creative force behind the brand. Most recently, Ms. Egal operated an eponymous communications agency and boasted such clients as BNP Paribas, Sodexo, Servair and Fondation Claude Pompidou.

Source: Fashion Snoops
John Scott, CEO, Orient-Express

John Scott will become president and CEO of Orient-Express hotels, after serving as CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts for over eight years. He replaces Paul White, the former president and CEO of Orient-Express Hotels, who resigned from the company and from the Board last year.

Source: Travel Mole
Natalie Ratabesi, Creative Director, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti

Alberta Ferretti will hand over the creative direction of the Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti collection to Natalie Ratabesi, who most recently served as senior creative director at Ralph Lauren. The British designer and graduate from Central Saint Martins College will make her debut for the brand with the autumn/winter 2013 collection.

Source: Fashion United
Bernard Fornas, Richard Lepeu, Co-CEOs, Richemont

Richemont has appointed two longstanding employees as joint chief executives, in a bid to help founder and controlling shareholder Johann Rupert steer the luxury goods group through a period of slowing sales growth in its important Asian markets. Cartier chief Bernard Fornas and deputy chief executive Richard Lepeu will take over from Rupert as CEO in April 2013.

Source: Reuters
Eva Taub, CEO, Robert Clergerie

Robert Clergerie has appointed Eva Taub as CEO, following tenure as head of Christian Dior Couture’s leather division at LVMH. The Stanford and Harvard Business School alum previously launched Isotoner in Europe, prior to which she served as a Merrill Lynch financial advisor in New York and Hong Kong.

Source: Fashion Week Daily
Jerome Cheung, CEO Asia Pacific, Tom Ford

Former Gucci Group executive Jerome Cheung, has been named to succeed Regina Lam as chief executive officer at Tom Ford, for the Asia-Pacific area. The position is based in Hong Kong and Cheung will be reporting to Tom Mendenhall, vice president and chief operating officer (COO) of the company since 2006.

Source: Fashion Mag
Anssi Vanjoki, Chairman, Vertu

Luxury phone maker Vertu has selected long-time Nokia executive Anssi Vanjoki as its non-executive chairman following an ownership change. Vanjoki, who spent 20 years at Nokia in various executive positions, left the Finnish cell phone maker in 2010 after the board appointed Stephen Elop as the next chief executive.

Source: Reuters
Michael Ward, Jonathan Heilbron, Board, Walpole

UK luxury brand trade body, Walpole, has announced the appointment of Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods, and Jonathan Heilbron, CEO of Thomas Pink, to its board of directors. Prior to joining the board, both Ward and Heilbron have been long-time supporters of Walpole, as Walpole Brands of Tomorrow mentors and regular speakers.

Source: Fashion United

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

The Latest Appointments: PPR, Cadillac & Baccarat
The Latest Appointments: Mulberry, DVF & Ralph Lauren
The Latest Appointments: Burberry, Coty & Condé Nast


© Luxury Society, The Latest Appointments: Christie’s, Richemont & Ferrari, 19 November 2012, by Sophie Doran.


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THE LATESTS BOUTIQUES: SOTHEBY’S, SHANGHAI TANG & SALVATORE FERRAGAMO

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IWC’s first U.S. flagship on Madison Avenue, New York City

The Latest openings from Armani Casa, Vacheron Constantin, Roger Vivier, IWC and Jimmy Choo, in Miami, Beijing, Costa Mesta, Milan, New York & Hong Kong

Cautious whispers of a slowdown in China have rippled through the luxury industry, despite the stellar performance of luxury goods in 2012. Ledbury Research recently confirmed the increasingly wary attitudes of luxury brand CEO’s, and pointed out that while sales have increased, in many cases market share has declined.

CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets explicitly disagrees, saying Chinese consumers will continue to purchase watches, handbags, jewellery and expensive clothes. “Wealthy individuals won’t slow down their spending,” remarked CLSA analyst Aaron Fischer to the Wall Street Journal. Barring a terrorist attack, pandemic or corruption crackdown, China will continue to lead the boom in luxury goods for years to come, according to the firm’s research.

And if brick-and-mortar store openings are anything to go buy, the luxury industry still believes in the promise of China. Vacheron Constantin this month opened its third boutique in Beijing alone, as Michael Kors launched in the city’s Shin Kong Place shopping mall and Roberto Cavalli in the Peninsula Hotel. Zegna moved into tier-2 city Shenyang, as Lancel launched a new concept store in Shanghai.

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Armani Casa, Miami

Armani Casa has moved into Miami’s new design district, with a 340sqm space at 10 NE 39th Street. It is the first Armani Casa store in Miami and the third in the United States. The store will house a range of furniture decor, tableware, decorative accessories, fabrics, ornaments, lighting and bathroom and kitchen products, as well as offering the brands “made to measure” interior design service.

Website: armanicasa.com
Source: WWD

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Dior Homme, New York

Dior Homme has launched a pop-up space in New York’s SoHo, whilst its 57th Street undergoes renovation. The Greene Street location features ready-to-wear, footwear, eyewear, leather goods, watches, jewellery and fragrance. Creative Director Kris Van Assche has selected a piece by Robert Montgomery to display in the boutique.

Website: dior.com/homme
Source: Fashion Windows

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Jimmy Choo, Hong Kong

Jimmy Choo has unveiled its first dual gender store, after expanding and renovating its boutique in Hong Kong’s Elements mall. The storefront features side-by-side entrances for women and men’s, each with its own dedicated shopping environment. The reimagined store is the first retail opening managed wholly by Jimmy Choo Hong Kong Limited, the venture created following the acquisition of the shareholding from joint venture partner Bluebell.

Website: jimmychoo.com
Source: Choo Connection

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IWC, New York

IWC Schaffhausen has opened its first US flagship in New York City at 535 Madison Avenue. The NYC store is the first of its kind, presenting the company’s watch families – Aquatimer, Pilot’s Watches, Portofino, Ingenieur, Da Vinci, and Portuguese – in themed settings that reflect their individual character.

Website & Source: iwc.com

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Lancel, Shanghai

Lancel has launched a concept store in Shanghai, designed by Christopher Pillot, who dressed the Champs-Elysees maison. The boutique features a handcrafted Murano glass chandelier and stained-glass panels, hand-painted by French artist Caroline Pregermain. Elsewhere oak flooring, brushed metals, LED lighting and vegetal furniture leathers house the brand’s accessories.

Website: lancel.com
Source: Luxury Insider

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Lamborghini, Moscow

Lamborghini has contracted with the Burevestnik Group, a luxury automobile and yacht retailer located in Moscow, to become Lamborghini’s first official dealership. A temporary sales operation has been launched in the Crocus City Mall whilst the group finalises construction of a Moscow showroom. The completed dealership will house sales, service and accessory sales for the complete Lamborghini product line-up. (Newport Beach dealership pictured)

Website: lamborghini.com
Source: Motor Authority

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Max Mara, Bucharest

Max Mara has launched a flagship store in Bucharest, which houses the Max Mara line alongside SportMax. The brand formerly operated a small store on Calea Victoriei in partnership with Alsa Group, but this new launch makes its presence in Romania one of its largest in Eastern Europe. (Paris boutique pictured)

Website: maxmara.com
Source: CPP Luxury

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Michael Kors, Beijing

Michael Kors has opened his first store in Beijing and its largest in China, located in the Shin Kong Place shopping mall. The 225sqm store retails accessories and ready-to-wear from both the main and diffusion lines and features a large format video screen showing the designer’s runway shows.

Website: michaelkors.com
Source: WWD

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Odin, New York

Niche perfume brand Odin New York has opened its first pop-up shop in collaboration with Snarkitecture. The pop up shop will remain open for six weeks, and will include all six of Odin’s unisex and home fragrances. The aim of the boutique is to showcase the product design by inverting the darkness of the packaging resulting in a bright, clean space.

Website: odinedt.com
Source: Bois de Jasmine

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Prada, Porto Cervo

Opening its second store in the Italian holiday destination of Porto Cervo, Prada has inaugurated a 95sqm space dedicated to menswear and accessories on La Passeggiata, the town’s luxury shopping street.

Website: prada.com
Source: CPP Luxury

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Roberto Cavalli, Beijing

Italian fashion designer Roberto Cavalli has opened the first phase of his debut store in China, within the arcade of the Peninsula Hotel, Beijing. The 300sqm space houses women and men’s ready-to-wear, as well as accessories, eyewear, perfumes, timewear and kidswear collections.

Website: robertocavalli.com
Source: Fashion United

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Roger Vivier, Costa Mesa

Roger Vivier has opened its third U.S. boutique, and its first in California, within the South Coast Plaza luxury mall in Costa Mesa. The 92sqm space features the brand’s seasonal footwear and accessories collections, as well as the limited-edition Rendez-Vous line for traveling.

Website: rogervivier.com
Source: WWD

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Salvatore Ferragamo, New York City

Salvatore Ferragamo’s largest boutique – its Fifth Avenue flagship – has reopened following 13th weeks of renovation. The 1,900sqm space features womenswear, menswear, accessories, shoes, and also the recently launched fine jewellery collection. The brand also used the occasion to debut the Travel Luggage Collection, set to launch this summer.

Website: ferragamo.com
Source: Style Rumor

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Shanghai Tang, Hong Kong

Shanghai Tang has launched a three-storey Mansion in Hong Kong, celebrating modern elegance and fashion through colours, exquisite fabrics, unique designs and prints. Womenswear occupies space on the ground and first floors, featuring a curved ceiling, a peony brass-inlay on the wooden flooring, fan-patterned screens and semi-circular seating.

Evoking a discreet gentleman’s club in warm hues, the calm, masculine Men’s wear floor offers ample leather seating, as well as an embossed dragon, a Chinese symbol of power.

Website & Source: shanghaitang.com

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Sotheby’s, Hong Kong

Sotheby’s is soon to open a 1,400sqm permanent exhibition space in Hong Kong, and will celebrate with a string of exhibitions running through the end of May. The gallery will occupy the entire fifth floor of One Pacific Place, the massive space will become a sort of HQ for the global auction house to expand its presence in Asia beyond its current biannual auction series in April and October.

Website: sothebys.com
Source: Jing Daily

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Vacheron Constantin, Beijing

Vacheron Constatin has unveiled its third flagship Beijing, on the ground floor of Beijing Macau Center, bringing the total number of stores worldwide to 30. The opening also coincided with the arrival of three special edition watches in Beijing and at the store, including the newly launched Patrimony Traditionnelle 14-Day Tourbillon, Métiers d’Art Kalla Haute Couture à Pampilles and the Patrimony Traditionnelle Calibre 2253.

Website: vacheron-constantin.com
Source: Luxury Insider

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Zegna, Shenyang

Ermenegildo Zegna recently celebrated the opening of its fourth China flagship, in the north-eastern luxury hotspot Shenyang. The 505sqm space within Shenyang’s MixC mall has been designed by architect Peter Marino, divided into three sections for each of Zegna’s brands: Ermenegildo Zegna suits and accessories, Z Zegna, and Z Sport.

Website: zegna.com
Source: Jing Daily

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

The Latest Boutiques: Chanel, Tom Ford & Valentino
The Latest Boutiques: Céline, Chaumet & Elie Saab
The Latest Boutiques, Burberry, Bally & Boucheron


© Luxury Society, The Latest Boutiques: Sotheby’s, Shanghai Tang & Salvatore Ferragamo, 09 May 2012, by Sophie Doran.


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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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MEN: THE NEW LUXURY BIG SPENDERS?

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James Lawson, director of Ledbury Research, highlights the promise of luxury for men, but feels that Chinese trends may mask a global shift

Accounting for 40% of global sales, men’s spending on luxury also grew almost twice as fast as women’s in 2011, 14% compared with 8% respectively (Bain). This segment therefore remains heavily in focus by those in the luxury sector, with the likes of Burberry and Coach flagging it as an area of expansion and aiming to join the ranks of menswear veterans Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss and Dunhill.

At Burberry, where menswear and men’s accessories currently represent 27% of sales, the brand is looking to “double sales over time”. Coach has developed a dedicated men’s space at its flagship on Madison Avenue, subsequently leading to a doubling of its men’s sales to 20%.

Luxury giants have also jumped onto the bandwagon: LVMH’s Berluti expanded its niche from luxury footwear to debut its first men’s ready-to-wear collection at Paris Fashion Week in January, while PPR bought Italian suitmaker Brioni in November last year and signalled its faith in the segment’s prospects by announcing an expanded offering as well as new flagship plans for Europe, America, China and the Middle East.


“ Accounting for 40% of global sales, men’s spending on luxury also grew almost twice as fast as women’s in 2011 ”


Alexander McQueen is another brand investing in menswear. The PPR owned house will open a 185sqm dedicated space on London’s Savile Row in September, showcasing both the ready-to-wear collection and Alexander McQueen by Huntsman, a bespoke service announced in January. Prices for the bespoke service will range from £4,500 – £5,000 and the pieces will take about 12 weeks to make.

Creative director, Sarah Burton, said bespoke was a natural progression for the brands menswear offering. “We already offer couture for women, and wanted to add it for men. And our clients were asking for it. With this service we want to give them beautiful, handcrafted clothes, and emphasize artisanal work,” she told WWD.

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Net-a-Porter’s menswear counterpart, Mr Porter, launched in February 2011.

 

Many attribute this growth to China, where men account for over two-thirds (70%) of all luxury sales. This is in part due to the popular gift-giving culture amongst businessmen and government officials. The question, however, is whether this has been overhyped, and if Chinese male appetites for luxury are sustainable in the long term.

Because while China may currently still be dominated by male spending, this appears to be changing: we are seeing Chinese women play an increasing role in wealth creation (see High Net Worth December 2011). The rise of self-purchasing women may soon come to overshadow male demand in China, and cause a shift in the balance of luxury demand between the genders (see Ledbury’s Modern Matriarch Chinese Wealth Segment).


“ Many attribute this growth to China, where men account for over two-thirds (70%) of all luxury sales ”


Despite this, brands are still targeting men, the new big luxury spenders. This is partly due to the globally shifting attitudes. Traditionally male spend has been impacted faster and harder by the downturn, but men are now becoming more discerning.

Net -a-Porter’s Mr. Porter (since February 2011), Gilt Groupe’s GiltMAN (October 2009) and the latter’s full-price men’s site Park & Bond (August 2011) have not only tapped into the relatively underpenetrated online space in menswear, they have also recognized the change in the shopping habits of today’s men and have invested heavily in their editorial content.

Park & Bond, a partnership with GQ magazine, offers advice and how-tos, buying guides, and even free personal shopper assistance on their website to “find your own personal style”. As a further sign of male demand, Gilt has invested in a full-price men’s site before that for women, indicating the large potential in online male luxury spend.


The above is based on a collection of insights taken from Ledbury Research’s flagship publication High Net Worth. For more information please visit this link.


Ledbury Research
is a research company specialising in the understanding and engaging of High Net Worth Individuals.

Bespoke consumer work spans all forms of quantitative and qualitative research, typically conducted on a multi-country basis, in wealth hubs around the world.

The analyst team delivers market information, trends and analysis through regular reports on the luxury and wealth markets.


© Luxury Society, Men: The New Luxury Big Spenders?, 10 April 2012, by James Lawson.


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A NEW WAVE OF OPPORTUNITY FOR LUXURY BRANDS IN INDIA?

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Hermès Horniman Circle, Mumbai, India’s only stand-alone, street level luxury retail store.

India has passed legislation allowing 100% foreign direct investment in retail stores for the first time. But given its complex landscape, is one change significant enough to start a revolution?

Following two years worth of intense political debate, India’s union cabinet has agreed to allow 51 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand and 100 percent FDI in monobrand retail. In layman’s terms, luxury brands are finally able to open directly owned, operated and controlled boutiques, in one of the world’s fastest growing economies.

An economy that has produced more than 200,000 millionaires, trailing only the United States and China, according to Reuters. Despite such affluence, the region only accounts for only half a percent of the global luxury market ($846 million), as compared to Greater China, which accounts for 10 percent of the very same pie ($17 billion).

India is without one single Tiffany & Co store. Louis Vuitton – an arguable benchmark in the case of luxury retail – has only three stores in India, all three of which are located within upscale hotels or luxury malls. Hermès is currently the only luxury brand in the country to have a stand-alone store at street level, following this year’s opening in Horniman Circle, Mumbai.


“ The complexity of India’s luxury retail landscape makes it difficult to predict whether or not this change in ownership legislation will have a rapid impact on store openings ”


The complexity of India’s luxury retail landscape makes it difficult to predict whether or not this change in ownership legislation will have a rapid impact on store openings. Product import duties in India hover at 30 percent, real estate is heavily regulated, existing retail infrastructure is non-existent and potential street-level environments are often unkempt. Challenges not addressed by the sudden ability to set-up company owned shops.

“The challenge is infrastructure. Luxury requires an ecosystem,” identified Anand Ramanathan, manager at KPMG Advisory. “It’s pointless having a luxury mall on a road that is potholed. Even the so-called ‘luxury malls’ in India are not really luxury. They have issues with basic infrastructure, with training of staff, it’s just not a luxury experience.”

Further inhibiting the potential for change are the behaviours of Indian luxury consumers, which are not necessarily geared to support local retail. India’s affluent have developed a habit of purchasing goods overseas, where they find the selection more diverse and the costs significantly lower, as a direct result of the underdeveloped state of domestic luxury retail.

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Hermès have begun to manufacture Saris in Paris, available exclusively in its Indian stores.

As business in domestic stores remains slow, buying becomes cautious and ranges become limited. Particularly ironic as it then further inhibits the potential for growing local sales. And range is always going to be a sticking point for luxury brands, as the Indian consumer demonstrates significant disparity in taste, to those consumers in the west, meaning that products that work in Paris, won’t necessarily work in Pune.

The last landmark change in legislation was passed in 2006, allowing 51 percent FDI in single brand retail and resulting in the entry of more than 50 global brands with local partners in India, according to WWD. It will be interesting to see if last week’s announcement rallies the same level of interest and activity from international luxury brands, given the array of challenges market entrants will still face.

That said, it seems entirely plausible that these factors can be overcome – or at the very least managed – in the future. Luxury conglomerates now have a much greater scope to create their own retail destinations in India and begin to plant the seeds of desire, which will hopefully result in the next generation of affluents aspiring to buy their products.

If brands move towards directly owned and operated stores, they will begin to increase their internal understanding of complex real estate regulations and position themselves more strongly for future expansion. The creation of luxury retail precincts and street-level destinations – driven by a potential alliance of luxury brands entering the market independently – could help to solve problems associated with a lack of eco-system and help to create the correct environment in which Indians can experience true luxury.


“ It’s difficult, it’s frustrating, to do business here. Real estate regulations, bureaucracy, it takes years to set up office – Bertrand Michaud, Hermès India ”


The local market will benefit from brands commanding a more intimate understanding of local retail and developing both marketing and products to best suit the region. With any luck, consumers will also benefit from more competitive pricing and a diverse range of goods and services.

Speaking with Reuters at the time of the Mumbai launch, president of Hermès India, Bertrand Michaud, made the remark: “It’s difficult, it’s frustrating, to do business here. Real estate regulations, bureaucracy, it takes years to set up office, the goods sit at customs for months. I wish they would make it easier.”

And whilst the bureaucracy and taxes may remain, India may be that one crucial step closer to ‘making it easier’ for luxury brands to invest in real estate and be present in a market rife with opportunity, without ceding control of brand image and operations to distribution partners. Maybe, just maybe, this change and its resulting developments, will ignite a system of functionality and demand for luxury goods, reflective of India’s exponentially growing wealth.


© Luxury Society, A New Wave of Opportunity for Luxury Brands in India?, 28 November 2011, by Sophie Duran.


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