Friday, 31 July 2009

Tod's Plays On Their Strength In Shoes – 31/7/09

Italian luxury footwear brand Tod’s has reported a 3.4 percent increase in first-quarter sales to 358.9 million euros (AU $615 million) compared with last year, according to WWD Fashion.

Tod’s SpA, the company that owns Tod’s and other high-end brands, stated that leather goods and accessories have also been showing “signals of recovery” over the past few months. But footwear continues to deliver the bulk of sales, gaining 7.7 percent to 260.9 million euros (AU $447.05 million).

Footwear is the core product for Tod’s, and they’ve not strayed too far from their roots, even though they also have leathergoods and accessories to round out their collection. Their recent growth seems to be a direct result of investing in their core product and making their brand ‘all about the shoe.’ This can be a profitable approach. If the shoe fits (and is your core product), invest in it!

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Spirits Have Lowered Considerably At LVMH – 30/7/09

Alcohol and timepieces have let the team down at LVMH, according to a Bloomberg article.

LVMH reported that “wines, jewellery and watches sold by third parties suffered massive destocking, offsetting gains by Louis Vuitton fashions.”

According to Bloomberg, LVMH’s second-quarter sales of watches and jewellery, which account for around 5 percent of total revenue, dropped 6.8 percent, while the fashion and leather-goods unit rose 5.3 percent. These earnings were published by LVMH after they were leaked to the market.

Click here to read more.

Is Coach Running Out Of Steam? – 30/7/09

Accessories brand Coach is having a hard time this week. Their share price has fallen and their fourth-quarter profit plunged 32 percent from last year.

A Forbes article revealed that Coach shares fell $1.74, or 6.2 percent, in morning trade on Tuesday. The stock was also downgraded to a "Hold" from a previous "Buy" rating on Tuesday morning by analysts at Lazard Capital Markets.

Forbes also states that Coach’s 32 percent profit drop occurred even though their sales revenue remained almost unchanged from last year. The article also implies that Coach is still ‘coaching along’ with their expansion plans, with growth in China and 20 new stores in America on the agenda for 2010. This is definitely a brand to watch …

Emporio Armani Graces Perth With Its Presence – 30/7/09

On the local front, Emporio Armani has set up shop in sunny Perth. This stunning new boutique opened in the Wesley Quarter, on the corner of William and Hay Streets, yesterday.

More and more luxury brands are moving to
Perth to provide the discerning local and international clients with a greater scope of high-end offerings.

This interest in Perth is not entirely a new thing. Louis Vuitton has been there for almost 10 years, Gucci two years and Tiffany & Co. under a year. Watches Of Switzerland, a high-end watch retailer of note, has also moved into premises in nearby King Street that has a sensational new fit-out. And Burberry is hot on Emporio Armani's heels with their Wesley Quarter shop next to open. Clearly Perth is becoming the place to be…

Read what the West Australian newspaper said about this new store in Armani Puts Perth On Exclusive Map

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

LVMH And Chanel Join Forces to Force E.U. To Restrict Internet Sales – 29/7/09

It looks like last-minute lobbying against a draft European Union regulation has paid off for luxury competitors LVMH and Chanel, with the final version giving brands more control over web-based sales.

This is an important victory for the luxury industry. In a Bloomberg article, Andrea Ciccoli, a fashion industry analyst for Bain & Co., explains why, “Selective distribution, whether real or virtual, has always been fundamental for luxury brands. Not just anyone can sell products by Chanel and Prada in stores and there’s no reason why they should be able to on the web. It would be like giving people a license to print money.”

This example is another reminder of the importance of keeping the product available, but not too accessible. Also, the power of collaborative efforts cannot be underestimated. Together LVMH and Chanel gave web retailers, like eBay, a run for their money…

Is There A Winner In The Lacroix Bidding War? – 29/7/09

According to the New York Times, struggling luxury brand Christian Lacroix has a serious bidder in the wings: the wealthy Italian Borletti family.

The Borletti family are part owners of Italy's favourite department stores, Rinascente and France's Printemps. Time will tell whether Lacroix will be given another life courtesy of the Borlettis. Perhaps the future for Lacroix does not lie in haute couture, but ready-to-wear and accessories – more accessible in terms of price and more opportunity for distribution...

Click here to read more on this new development.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Is There Any Truth to This LVMH Rumour? 28/7/09

A mere rumour making the rounds yesterday about the performance of the world's biggest luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA, resulted in a share price decline days before their actual official announcement. According to an article in Bloomberg, "..The company was scheduled to report first-half earnings on July 29."

Is this a case of 'where there is smoke there is fire'..? We prefer to act on fact and not indulge the rumour mill. We wait patiently for the press release on Wednesday, clearly all will be revealed and naturally, we will pass it on.

Fashion Designers Seek Greener Pastures – 28/7/09

New York Fashion Week (September 10-17) is set for a makeover this year as MAC Cosmetics and Milk Studios join forces to offer designers an alternative venue, absolutely free!

This new venue will allow designers to stage runway shows, presentations and other special events. According to a MAC statement, the partnership with Milk Studios is seen as a way “to inspire new ways of presenting and showing collections in a unique environment, fostering the evolution of fashion week.”

Here in Australia, we’ve already seen this shift of designers moving off site and looking for unique or cheaper options. This ‘designer snub’ has become increasingly common at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW) over the last few years. Established brand Kit Willow and new talent Dion Lee are prime examples of Australian designers who have created their own unique shows, which cater for both intimate and large crowds. We admire these designers for bucking the trend of the perhaps homogenised version of the catwalk set-up within an official site. As fashion is always about innovation and constant creation, it makes sense that fashion shows are also evolving…

You can read more on the designers’ snub of RAFW in the article, No-Shows Add Up At Rosemount Australian Fashion Week.

Or to get the goss on the advancement of New York Fashion Week, check out the Fashion Newspaper or LadyLux.

Monday, 27 July 2009

The Future Looks Rosy For The Fragrance Sector – 27/7/09

Is the tide beginning to turn for the luxury market? Well, things are looking promising once more as shares for fragrance company Inter Parfums Inc. rose almost 10 percent on Friday, after the delivery of their second-quarter sales.

And the good news doesn’t end there. Inter Parfums, whose brands include Burberry, Van Cleef & Arpels, Paul Smith and Christian Lacroix, has been forecast to “return to double-digit earnings per share growth, driven by new fragrance launches” in 2010, according to a Forbes article.

Recent luxury news seems to be reinforcing that it really is 'all about the brand' when it comes to purchasing. We wonder if the celebrity fragrances, that were doing so well with the broader community, are in any way on the nose, given celebrity brand launches are usually all about speed to market, high volume; here today and gone tomorrow. It certainly appears that the aspiration for the brands with a heritage continues across all product categories. This is definitely reassuring for those consumers investing in luxury brands for themselves or to give as gifts.

The Most Fashionable Motorbike On The Planet – 26/7/09

What do you give the person who has everything....? A Chanel motorbike, mais bien sur! The cost? We don't know, but we'd like to. According to one of our favourite online reads, Luxist, this 'tres cool moto' was used in a photographic shoot for the house of Chanel and was commissioned purely for this purpose by Karl Lagerfeld ... Clearly, luxury lives on in all its guises.

Click here to see this custom made bike, which was based on the motorcycle that legendary actor Marlon Brando rode in The Wild One movie.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Is Extravagance Making A Comeback? – 24/7/09

Limited editions seem to be the flavour of the month. Earlier this week, we revealed an exclusive wine book that retails for AU $1.25 million (see the MO Down for 21/7) and now, everyone is talking about the world’s most expensive lighter.

You can feast your eyes on this lighter at the Luxist. Produced by S.T. Dupont, bespoke jewellers to Queen Elizabeth II, it is 18-carat solid white gold and has 468 brilliant-cut diamonds (I wonder what the clarity is? Perhaps a small point when there’s so many diamonds). How much? Well, the asking price is US$79K (AU $97.5K). And if that’s not enough, there’s also a matching fountain pen for US $74K (AU 91.3K)

For luxury enthusiasts who desire something a little faster and rarer, then the Luxist recommends the limited edition Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR 722 GT race car (only 21 available in the world), yours for a cool US $2 million (AU $2.4 million).

Rarity and limited editions are not restricted to products alone, it can also come in the form of a luxury boutique, like Prada’s dramatic new shopfront. It is located at Place Beauvau 92 in Paris. But if you blink you’ll miss this iconic new store, we read in Fashion & Runway that it will only be open for five months – offering customers a limited edition ‘experience.’

Perhaps we were wrong when we suggested ‘stealth wealth’ was in vogue at the moment. It seems that extravagant limited editions are making a comeback. This is an interesting development to keep our eyes on…

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Hermes Shares The Love With Its Rivals – 23/7/09

It’s official, Hermes’ recent good luck has rubbed off on its rivals. After their impressive 12 percent increase in second-quarter sales, the share prices have risen for LVMH and PPR, 1.5 percent and 1.1 percent respectively, according to a Forbes article.

This is a huge positive for the luxury industry as a whole, share(ing) is caring in this case. And what's good for the Hermes Birkin is clearly good for the Louis Vuitton Alma, Speedy and the Gucci Jockey or New Jackie...

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

The Hermes Birkin Is Still A Hot Commodity – 22/7/09

Due to the allure of the mighty Birkin and Kelly lines, Hermes’ sales are still reaching new heights. A
Bloomberg article revealed that Hermes’ second quarter revenue has risen 12 percent. This increase can be tied to the voracious appetite of the ‘Asian Tiger.’

This article goes on to say that leather goods and handbag sales rose an incredible 33 percent and ready-to-wear sales (we say: thanks to Jean-Paul Gaultier) rose 13 percent – no easy feat in these times.

In a press statement, Hermes seemed quietly confident, saying, “Sales have been particularly dynamic in our own stores. We will keep investing in the second half of the year, opening or renovating more than 10 stores in Asia and the U.S.

But not all product lines were walking out the door. Hermes clients’ seem to have already invested in tableware (it declined 30 percent), watches (11 percent drop) and fragrance (3.9 percent slump.) But let’s go back to the positives. Hermes’ core products (think: Kelly/Birkin) are the coveted prizes du jour in the Japanese/Asian markets. With continued strength in these staple products we are confident the ‘Birkin Index’ will keep on rising for a long time to come.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Rise And Rise Of Fashion’s Billionaires – 21/7/09

Q: What costs US $1million (AU $1.25 million), weighs 30 kilos and sits on a coffee table?

A: The world’s most expensive coffee table book: Wine Opus. Published by Kraken Opus, it lists the world's top 100 wineries. Yes, this book does indeed come with a large selection of the finest plonk and some winery tour invitations. But despite its very hefty price tag, we read in a article that Wine Opus is practically flying off the shelves, with a quarter of the 100 tomes already pre-ordered. It seems there’s nothing quite like a limited edition to boost sales!

One man who may have already secured his copy is Bernard Arnault, the richest man in the luxury goods sector and the wealthiest man in France, who has a nest egg of $16.5 billion.

A recent Forbes article, Fashion’s Billionaires, reminded us that Arnault’s bank balance is still healthy. It also speculated that, "Even if the economy doesn't show us more leg for a while, the fortunes of fashion billionaires – who decide what we wear, where we buy it and what bag and shoes goes with it – should remain relatively flush." We second this statement, and suggest, since Arnault's LVMH group also has an alcohol arm with brands like Moët & Chandon, their influence may also extend to what we drink!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Coach Is A Clear Winner In Tough Times – 20/7/09

An article in Seeking Alpha has suggested consumers may be swapping their Chanel for Coach, the so-called "accessible luxury brand” that has gone from strength to strength since going public in 2000.

Despite the tough economic times, Coach are the number one luxury accessories brand in the U.S. They have a strong following in Japan and plan to capture 10 percent of the Chinese market in 5 years (and with 27 stores already, they are well on their way).

The Seeking Alpha article, Coach: High Fashion At A Bargain Basement Price, praised Coach, saying, “The excellent management team at Coach is proven to possess a high level of knowledge and understanding of its customer base through superior customer research. As a result they have sustained a healthy business model by pricing their products as accessible luxuries while opening their market to ‘aspirational’ buyers. Customers who were buying the $2000-plus European luxury brands can still feel good with a stylish and high quality Coach purse at the $150 to $500 price points."

Could other brands learn from Coach? Definitely. At the MO Down, we always applaud 'superior customer research', knowledge of the consumer's needs and wants and purchasing habits – as this knowledge is fundamental to sustainability. This research needs to be ongoing and thorough, because if the brand is doing things right (clearly Coach is) they are attracting new consumers on a regular basis and their existing clients are evolving, so they maintain relevance and have one foot ahead. There’s nothing worse than trying to make amends when the horse has already bolted…

Friday, 17 July 2009

South Korea’s On The Verge Of A European Free Trade Agreement – 17/7/09

We will be so envious of South Korea if their free trade agreement with the European Union takes effect. Their luxury goods are set to become much cheaper if their 8-to-13 percent import tax is removed.

Hmm, if this trade pact does happen, we wonder if Australia's Minister for Trade, Simon Crean, will re-evaluate the high import tariffs on our European luxury goods?

A reduction in import tariffs for clothing, handbags and shoes would add further value to Australia as a tourist destination, as well as aiding the growth of the important local consumer. Even if some of the tariffs were reduced by half for imported ready-to-wear, it could be a saving of close to 7 percent, it all helps...

Of course, there is the argument to protect Australian-made, which we agree with. But quite frankly as we don't have a heritage of artisans' workshops of note, we generally need to look beyond our shores for luxury specialists. And when Europe has some of the finest luxury products in the world, it’s a shame we have to pay such a high price for wanting them. But that's another topic for another time.

If you are interested in
South Korea
’s impending trade pact, read more in the Korea Times article, Gucci, BMW, Audi To Become Cheaper.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

A Sales Rise at Burberry Meets with a Share Price drop - 16/07/09

An 8% rise was achieved in Burberry's first-quarter sales to 229 million pounds. Whilst it is an increase it is well below the previous quarter's growth of 14% and clearly not a strong enough rise to keep the share price from falling. The market reacted with a share price drop of 1.5%.

Although Emma Watson (she is the female star who plays Hermione in the Harry Potter films) is the new face of Burberry's advertising campaign that commenced a month ago, time will tell if Burberry's strategy of attracting a younger audience into the brand, than currently exists, can improve the next three quarters and achieve successive double digit increases.

Read more in this Forbes article.

The Hawaiian Shirt Heist At Cartier – 16/7/09

Did you hear that the Pink Panther robbers (or Pantheresses?) have struck again? This time at Cartier in Côte d'Azur. It was an extremely low-key heist. The robbers got into the holiday spirit, donning Hawaiian shirts, then strolled into Cartier and, in a very relaxed manner, brandished a gun and stun grenades. After pocketing their loot, they walked out casually, jumped onto a scooter and rode off into the sunset... as you do. And they did this to the tune of $13 million euros! Although in the world of Cartier, that may just come down to quite literally a handful of bling.

So, our question is: who are these renegades shopping for? This robbery has “raiding by request” written all over it.

Click here to read a full report on the Cartier robbery.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Versace Is Set To Dazzle In Dubai – 15/7/09

It’s still all engines go at Versace as they open their second jewellery-only boutique in Dubai. And according to AME Info, a Middle East business resource, the luxury brand plans to open more of these boutiques in the near future.

Is this a good thing for Versace? Well, they’ve launched this new venture in Dubai, a country known for its penchant for yellow gold and all things bling, so we feel confident that this not-so-subtle fashion house will sparkle like a 20-carat pink diamond, and be coveted along with their watches. This is an interesting development, given it is a long way away from their core product. However, diversification is an important strategy as long as the ‘raison d'etre’ is not neglected.

Click here for a sneak peak at the new boutique.

The Luxury Market Hasn’t Lost Its Lustre – 15/7/09

For us at the MO Down, the essence of a true luxury brand is the heritage, uniqueness and rarity. So, we certainly didn't agree when we read Michael Likosky’s Huffington Post article, A Fashion Foreign Policy.

Likosky suggested that since the 1980s, the luxury market has been going downhill due to outsourcing to foreign manufacturers. Likosky also had the cheek to say, "Right now, the luxury label tells us more about price than value. Luxury invokes design, material and artisan labor. The artisans built the luxury labels, which the banks and luxury houses are now cashing out."

We can’t deny that the luxury market has changed since the 1980s. But the changes reflect the evolution of an industry, the brands and the times we live in. More people covet and purchase luxury goods now, so the manufacturing process needed to be recalibrated to manage this demand. Also, we must point out that most of the luxury brands still have traditional artisans’ workshops. And brands, like Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton to name a few, have often gone out of their way to purchase several artisans’ workshops to prevent them from becoming extinct. So, this artisans’ expertise is still alive and well, and being used in the majority of luxury goods. We hope that Likosky checks his facts before his next luxury market appraisal.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

The Discounting Debate Rears Its Ugly Head Again – 14/7/09

Recently we revealed the damage that heavy discounting is having upon some brands within the prestige and luxury market. But we were still surprised to read that New Delhi’s newest luxury mall has almost hit rock bottom – offering brands like Jimmy Choo, Giorgio Armani, Nina Ricci and Karl Lagerfeld at up to 70 percent off. This is a dream come true for shoppers, but a nightmare for retailers.

The man behind this heavy discounting is the CEO of the Ministry of Fashion, Yogendra Sharma. Yogendra claims to “have taken a more proactive line on marketing, offering 70 percent off across brands, but denies that it has anything to do with the market situation.” He goes on to say, “We are positioning ourselves as an aggressive player in this market.”

Hmmm, while it's good to be proactive, heavy discounting is not the best marketing strategy, or the answer to a long-term, sustainable and, need we say, loyal business.

Meanwhile, in the same New Delhi mall, other key luxury brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Cartier, are maintaining their 'no markdown' stance. We guess that's why they have been around for a very long time – their strategies are long term and not a knee-jerk reaction to the alleged recession. They are also entering India, an emerging market, incrementally and with a considered approach. Other brands, beware, India may well be the new China, but the brands needs to gain respect from the consumer. We will say no more and let the customers decide.

Read more about this in the India Times article, Time To Go Luxe, and make up your own mind.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Gilt Groupe: Luxury That’s Out Of Reach? – 13/7/09

There is one business that is making a killing in these uncertain times. It’s called Gilt Groupe (as opposed to guilt groupe...), a members-only online store, which sells designer apparel for women, men and children, as well as homewares.

Founded in 2007, it targets the high-end consumer, is very discreet and can be 70% off the original price. To join Gilt, you must be invited by an existing member.

The success of Gilt seems to be due to the brands they carry, the irresistible prices, the limited edition and rarity of items, and the exclusive membership. Yet another case of ‘forbidden fruit’ tasting sweeter…

A Fortune Magazine spotlight on Gilt called it “tailor-made for times like these.” Click here to read the entire article.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Haute Couture Appeals To A New Audience – 12/7/09

With the global financial crisis breathing down its neck, is Haute Couture (HC) about to go out of fashion? A recent Guardian article suggested it is “fighting for its life”, while a Financial Times reporter said that it “seems as volatile in its identity as the price of oil.”

The Guardian article, Chanel Looks To The East To Lure Chinese Shoppers, suggests that brands like Chanel and Christian Dior are shifting their focus on selling HC to wealthy Chinese. Chanel even put an Asian spin on their recent collection unveiling a traditional Chinese cheongsam dress.

Dior is also pulling out all the stops to impress their Asian audience by sponsoring an art exhibition in Beijing. This exhibition, entitled 'Dior And Chinese Artists', attracted 60,000 visitors and bolstered the brand's standing in China.

These examples show that luxury brands are re-evaluating the longevity of HC and questioning its ability to re-invent. HC is very expensive to maintain, however for brands like Chanel and Dior, it is the 'top of the pyramid', the lofty heights most customers aspire to. It also helps to sell their ready-to-wear lines, accessories and, most importantly, their fragrance and beauty products – making it a very valuable commodity indeed!

To read a critique on the Paris couture shows, click here.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Cash Registers Are Still Ringing At Chanel – 10/7/09

“Chanel makes a lot of money ...” That is the latest news flash from their Creative Director, Karl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld has always been incredibly direct, perhaps due to his Germanic roots.

In the same New York Times article, Chanel Now And Then, he also answered the rumours about the possibility of his imminent departure from Chanel and being replaced by Alber Elbaz, the Creative Director at Lanvin. He said: Forget about it. He would die with his boots on – assuming they are a Chanel Cuban boot, of course!

Lagerfeld Says Chanel Is Not Lacking Clients – 10/7/09

Other luxury brands may come and go, but Chanel remains a firm favourite. Its Creative Director, Karl Lagerfeld, is obviously doing something right if the clients keep on coming. Right now other fashion houses, like Lacroix, would kill to say, “we have tons and tons of clients” as Lagerfeld claimed recently to the New York Times.

What is it about Chanel that makes it stand the test of time? It could be that it’s always expanding and evolving, from their haute couture to pret-a-porter, accessories, fine jewellery, watches, cosmetics, skincare, fragrances... and within this, their iconic No. 5 perfume. We’ll let you ponder this question as you scrutinise a wrap-up of their Autumn-Winter Haute Couture show.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Massive Layoffs At Lacroix – 9/7/09

Some sad news today: the house of Lacroix has announced it will reduce its workforce by almost 100 percent from 124 to 12, according to WWD Fashion. This restructure spells disaster for the 22-year-old fashion house, which can only be saved if a buyer bails them out. Click here for a detailed description of what may become Lacroix’s final show.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Tiffany & Co. Have Discounted Their Diamonds – 8/7/09

The New York Times has suggested oversized diamonds are now passé – and “the half-carat is now the new three-carat.” In response, jewellery brand Tiffany & Co. seem to be continuing to make their diamonds slightly more affordable. They’ve slashed their prices on diamond engagement rings by 10 percent since the holiday season.

Read more on the diamond debate here: In a Downturn, Jewelers Aren’t So Precious.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Louis Vuitton Is The Most Valuable Luxury Brand, According To Research – 7/7/09

Louis Vuitton, H&M and Wal-Mart have been ranked as the world’s most valuable apparel, luxury and retail brands this year, according to an in-depth study by consulting group Millward Brown Optimor.

This diverse study forecasts the “intrinsic value” of 100 global brands by estimating their ability to “generate demand.” These valuations are not based entirely on conventional measures, but use both tangible and intangible measurements, such as earnings directly attributable to the sales of a brand and consumers’ views.

Louis Vuitton didn’t have much competition in this study. It was way ahead of the second-place brand in the luxury brand category: Hermès and third place, Gucci. Meanwhile, H&M pipped Nike at the post to be recognised as the most valuable apparel brand.

In this study, several comparisons can be drawn between Louis Vuitton and H&M. Both offer innovation and variety to their consumers and use their ‘marketing muscle’ to stay in the public eye.

You can go to Millward Brown Optimor’s website for a complete report on this study, which can be downloaded for free.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Luxury Brands Seek Greener Pastures – 6/7/09

Green is the new black for luxury brands according to the Wall Street Journal. Their article, Luxury-Goods Makers Brandish Green Credentials, reveals how the luxury industry is eagerly embracing greener, more environmentally-friendly options to please their younger, more eco-friendly clients.

A recent survey by The Luxury Institute found that younger and more-affluent consumers seek information about corporate social responsibility more actively than their older and less well-off counterparts. "Young consumers believe that caring about the environment is how you create a meaningful life," stated Milton Pedraza, the firm's CEO.

And luxury brands are taking these sentiments in their stride, putting the environment at the forefront by introducing eco-friendly products or investing in socially responsible brands. For instance, in May, the LVMH Group bought a stake in Edun, an organic-clothing company founded by rocker Bono and his wife, Ali Hewson.

Meanwhile, PPR donated millions to an environmental documentary. Their CEO, François-Henri Pinault, enthused, "We want to change the way we conceive our business, socially and environmentally speaking.”

We’ll keep you posted on more eco-friendly shifts, but in the meantime, check out Ermenegildo Zegna’s revolutionary "Ecotech Solar" jacket with solar panels on its sleeves…

The Techno Luxury Conference Set To Dazzle Berlin In November – 5/7/09

The event promoted as “the world’s biggest luxury business conference,” – the International Herald Tribune Luxury Conference – will be held in Berlin on the 17 and 18 of November.

Now in its ninth year, this conference, titled ‘Techno Luxury,’ will centre around how technology and other marketing innovations can open up a whole new world to the luxury good industry, by supplying new creative direction and business opportunities.

Confirmed speakers include:
- Christopher Bailey, the Creative Director for Burberry
- Tomas Maier, the Creative Director for Bottega Veneta
- Frida Giannini, Gucci’s Creative Director.

Other hard-sitting CEOs from key luxury brands are likely to attend to reveal how technology is affecting the industry. It's often thought that technology is involved through mostly logistics, but this conference will also touch on how it affects the creative side.

To read more, go to the official IHT Luxury Conference site. Or examine this informative article: Claudia Schiffer To Speak At IHT’s Luxury Conference In Berlin.

Friday, 3 July 2009

The Valentino Fashion Group Is In A Financial Bind – 3/7/09

While Versace celebrates, luxury group Valentino Fashion struggles. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Valentino Fashion Group's lenders are looking to renegotiate the brand’s debts by the end of the (European) summer to avoid defaulting on their loans.

It seems that the Global Financial Crisis has severely weakened the Valentino Fashion Group, with profits from Hugo Boss declining by 27 percent in 2008. And if they can’t lift their game by the end of summer, we hate to think what might happen...

We’ll keep you posted on this breaking news, but in the meantime, read the latest in the Wall Street Journal article: Lenders Push for Valentino Debt Deal.

Versace Sales Are On The Rise Again – 3/7/09

There are positive vibes coming from the house of Versace this week as their chairman, Santo Versace, announced there was a net improvement in sales and consumption in May and June.

He also told Reuters that “demand in the past two months held steady when compared with last year.” It’s great to hear about Versace’s recent good fortune. To read more about this development,
click here.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

This Hermes Birkin Bag Is A Real Work Of Art – 2/7/09

Stop the press! A Singaporean art student has recreated the Hermes Birkin bag for a fraction of the cost. The catch? It’s made from painted cardboard instead of crocodile skin!

Could this bag be the making of this young artist? As Hermes have remained extremely tight-lipped on this subject – we think not, but what a magnificent design! Click here to read the full story of this fashionable work of art and to examine it for yourself.

Retail Sales Are On The Rise In Australia – 1/7/09

Are retail sales in Australia starting to bounce back? Well, it certainly seems that way with ABC News reporting that sales rose 1 percent in May, double the increase predicted by economists.

Welcome news for luxury brands and retailers in general, this 1 percent jump followed a 0.3 percent rise in April. For more facts and figures, click here for the latest news from Business Spectator.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Collaboration: Why It’s A Win Win Situation – 1/7/09

A Newsweek article, Where Art Meets Luxury Design, has raised an interesting debate on crossovers between fashion and art.


History has seen many profitable pairings between luxury brands and artists. Louis Vuitton, in particular, has sought inspiration from artistsTakashi Murakami, Richard Prince and Stephen Sprouse. And Tiffany & Co have worked with the great Paloma Picasso. Also, many fashion designers have drawn inspiration from famous artists posthumously, for instance Yves Saint Laurent and Matisse.


Architects have also benefited from fashion houses’ admiration, with famous partnerships including Louis Vuitton and Frank Gehry, and Prada and Rem Koolhaas.


It seems that artists can’t lose when they ride a fashion house’s coat-tails. These type of collaborations can not only heighten an artist’s name, but can turn them into a global celebrity. And the luxury brands are also winners as their PR wheel turns, then goes into overdrive as this new creative development puts them on the tip of everyone’s tongues.

Who's behind the MO DOWN

Melinda O’Rourke is the founder and Director of MO Luxury, a dynamic, Sydney-based management firm specialising in luxury brands and services. Melinda and her associates at MO work with local and international brands across prestige retail, fashion, fine jewellery, timepieces and specialised services. Melinda is well-connected, well-read, and well-versed in the demands of the luxury market and its client base. Her advice is firmly based in objectivity and ultimately, accountability. Melinda offers constructive counsel and both strategic and creative thinking and is able to draw upon a strong network of specialised talent to compliment the MO Luxury team as needed. Melinda enjoys excellent industry relationships and is regularly quoted in the business and fashion media. Read more about MO Luxury,