Kering’s (formerly PPR) brand video

 With the new year, of course, brings new goals.  Some of you are thinking about new employers and the role they play in your training and development.  As we were talking about this around the office, we remembered this video from Kering, which was absolutely beautiful.  Enjoy for the second time. 


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Christian Louboutin retrospective at 20 years

Louboutin has built one of the most successful shoe brands in the world.  Upon the 20th anniversary of his first name-sake shop in Paris, the Design Exchange brought in 250 shoes accompanied by commentary from Christian.  With each new collection the designer explores new themes and concepts, sources of creativity ranging from transparency, architecture, travel, fetish, and showgirls.  If you have the opportunity, do check it out in a city near you. 

Christian Louboutin is also one of the hardest working gentlemen in the fashion business. Projects with filmmakers, musicians, foundations, and brand extensions (menswear launched in 2011) abound.  We love his reflection on his life's work, "Life is a series of fortuitous coincidences".  Be grateful for the many personal and professional opportunities you've had thus far, and continue to work hard for them in the future. 

 

 

The business of silk scarves

Hermes opens Silk Bar, launches an app, and teaches us about production

PHOTOS: VIA LEANDRO JUSTEN/BFA NYC.

 

 

THE OPERATION

This month, it’s great to be doing business at the Time Warner Centre in Manhattan – or at least attending a quick meeting or two there. Situated in the lobby is the Hermes Silk Bar diner where the company’s silk scarves, ties, and enamel bracelets are temporarily being sold. 

We were surprised in April when we stumbled across the Silk Bar in Taipei – and were thrilled to see it would be ‘popping-up’ in Manhattan.  The high-traffic building is expected to attract a new customer for the brand, and bring a bit of fun and colour to the crowd in dark suits.  And for those who need a quick break, the Bar also hosts a games room with golf, hula hoops and a photobooth.  Les Jeux d’Hermes is the icing on an already whimsical cake.

 

 

THE CUSTOMER SUPPORT

 

And to ensure customers enjoy their purchase beyond the initial beauty of the art on each scarf, Hermes has also launched a Silk Knots app with videos, and step by step instructions on how to tie your scarf.  Tops, braided headbands, necklaces and dresses, in addition to beautiful around the neck drapes are all included. 

Nike has always been great at serving a higher mandate for their customers, for example offering training video apps, and prepping-for-your-first-marathon programs – but it’s nice to see a fashion company offering the same level of service.  A lifetime of fun with silk scarves is what Hermes is offering their customer.  

 

PRODUCTION

Hermes is a company of artists and craftspeople first and foremost.  The designers of each of the silk scarves are purposely kept away from the production process so they will not consider the hours it takes to see their vision through.  Thankfully, this is exactly what the Hermes customer loves about their product – the quality, the uniqueness of each piece, the artistry. 

It often takes up to six-months for an engraver at Hermes to determine each scarf’s distinct colours.  Often a 750 to 2000 hour process, engraving (or preparing the artwork for print) takes up to a year. 

RE-USE

Craftspeople, as with many chefs and producers, care primarily for their final product and also the materials and ‘waste’ which are not used in their production.  Hermes is a company which uses only the highest quality of materials, the availability of which limits their production capacity.   The Hermes craftspeople often joke about the ‘mean men who inspect each finished piece’ – the toughest quality control group in the industry.  With these standards, it is within every artist to want to put to use everything – rejected and damaged finished goods, scrap material, etc. 

Petit h is a workshop designed and run by Madame Pascale Mussard.  The creative space brings Hermes skills and materials together under one roof and offers artists the chance to use them in new works.  The scraps and discarded materials from the production workshops are reborn into unexpected objects.  Traditionally these items have been sold through travelling exchibitions in Hermes boutiques, but have now found a more permanent home.  Hermes is opening a new Petit h shop in the rue de Sevres store in Paris. 

 

 

Hermes’ business continues to experience strong growth year over year, and is one of the few companies which stands firmly behind, and executes according to its values.   Perhaps strong growth is associated with strong values?


To build a strong, sustainable retail business, you need a great foundation – and a lot of inspiration to innovate and develop creative solutions.  Our online courses and workshops are ideal for this. 

Stay updated with our Twitter feed.  Enjoy and let us know what you think.

Tom Ford's evolution, consistently making the very best

Creating and running the first true luxury brand of the 21st century is not an easy feat.  A global financial crisis has encompassed 6 years of the young century.  Many aspirationally luxury consumers are still spending conservatively.  Bravado and showmanship are qualities which have been unseen of late.  Large global luxury holding companies, together, own most of the business and reap the rewards of scale.  And the man behind the first true luxury brand of the 21st century has just welcomed a son to his family.   

 

After a successful career with Yves St Laurent and Gucci, and a critically acclaimed movie, A Single ManTom Ford's return to fashion was well-considered, meticulous, and impeccable.  Initially launching a well edited product mix of eyewear, fragrance and cosmetics, Mr. Ford once again displayed his keen attention to detail.  His customers and retailers supported him, fighting to carry both the mens and women's collections upon launch.  Now with 89 stores globally and counting, Tom Ford continues to be meticulous in the details, and understand what drives his customers.  

 

"He knows his woman and that she dresses to kill." - Suzy Menkes for the New York Times on Tom Ford's Spring 2014 collection which was shown today in London (highlights below).

 

The Wall Street Journal released a great profile by Jason Gay which nicely illuminated what it is that allows Tom Ford to be successful.  A few of our favorites are noted below.  These are applicable to any merchant, retailer, buyer or designer.   

 

PAYING ATTENTION TO HIS CUSTOMER:  

  • "We have customers—a lot of them—who spend more than a million dollars a year with us because they come in and just order: suit, suit, suit, suit, suit, suit," he says, snapping his fingers.  
  • Karen Katz, the CEO and president of Neiman Marcus, says that customers buying Tom Ford "tend to be people who are strong. They're confident. They're powerful. And I think buying the products just helps them with all that—being even more confident and stronger."

 

BALANCING CREATIVITY WITH BUSINESS:  

  • "There's always some sense that all designers tend to live in their own creative universe," De Sole says. "Tom can read a financial statement. He understands the practical aspect of the business. That's very important."
  • "I'm really happy when I see my son in the morning. I'm also happy to walk in here to my office and see everyone working. I'm happy to have certain meetings. Then I'm not happy to have other ones." - Tom Ford


DISCIPLINE AND CONTROL:  

  • Ford says he gave up drinking four and a half years ago—"alcohol was getting in the way of my life, so I simply stopped," he says.

 


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Coach's new coach

My passion is for brands with heritage.
— Stuart Vevers

The windmill of creative directors keep turning in the fashion industry.  Earlier in the year Reed Krakoff, COACH's creative director, declared he would not be renewing his contract with the company, indicating he wanted to concentrate on running his namesake brand.  It has now been confirmed that Stuart Vevers, former creative director of Loewe, has been appointed the new creative head of COACH.   

 

"My passion is for brands with heritage.  Throughout my career, every brand I've been drawn to has a strong heritage, " Vevers told Vogue UK.  Brand heritage often is combined with modern references, youth and pop culture in his designs, which brings a certain authority and relevance to each citation.  With a design career which began with Calvin Klein in New York, Vevers moved to Milan to work with the venerable Laura Moltedo of Bottega Veneta and eventually grew to become head of accessories.  At Givenhcy, he created the "Pumpkin" handbag, and took on both mens and womenswear at Mulberry - and designed the "Emmy", "Aygness" and "Mabel" handbags.

COACH's new CEO, Victor Luis, praised Vevers: "Stuart is recognized as one of the world's leading accessories designers.  His passion, leadership skills and broad luxury brand experienced focused on leather goods, uniquely qualify him to lead the next chapter of COACH."  

 

ADDITIONAL: 

 
 

Two Representations - Milano stores elevating their mens offering

Tod's Made-to-Order Milano mens club

The Sartorial Touch is a new luxury space housed on the fourth floor in Tod's Milano flagship at 22, Via Spiga.  With private tailoring desks, a wet bar and lounge, Tod's customers will be able to order custom shoes, bags, luggage and small leather accessories - delivered in two months.  Reviving old world mens clubs has been happening with greater frequency in the last decade or so, but the ability to create made-to-order shoes in this environment has us particularly eager to visit the Tod's Milano store again.  

 

Gucci's first mens flagship and made-to-measure collection with Lapo Elkann

Also in Milan, Gucci unveiled it's first mens flagship in Brera.  Three floors, covering 5,400 square feet, and a dedicated made-to-measure program, and an application for LEED certification are some of the highlights.  The made-to-measure collaboration between Gucci creative director Frida Giannini and Lapo Elkann, Italian style icon and businessman, (pictured above) will make its premiere at the store this month.  And yes, made-to-order shoes are also available.