Luxury Experts

Digital Dressing Room


A new social-network shopping site,, with links to high fashion e-commerce sites, makes online shopping with friends more like the real thing.

Think of it as Polyvore meets Facebook. Register and invite friends to create head-to-toe looks, all the while video-chatting with your fashion buddies. “It’s that power of referral that will often help tip you into making a purchase,” said Sofia Barattieri di San Pietro, the site’s chief executive, who came up with the idea on a shopping trip to Paris with a friend. All of the items featured are linked to retailers like and

You will also find photo shoots; outfits put together by contributing stylists, including Anna Dello Russo, the designer Laetitia Crahay and the French fashion journalist Mademoiselle Agnès; and fashion available only on the site. Up now: the Muzungu Sisters, a collection of handmade pieces — Moroccan caftans, a Peruvian multicolor bolero — that the friends Tatiana Santo Domingo and Dana Alikhani have collected on their worldly travels.

13 Brilliant Fashion & Luxury Brand Videos Of 2011

Submitted by Macala Wright at FMM

Fashion’s foray into online video was spectacular in 2011, and it is only going to get better this year. Video is a medium that most brands understand given its proximity to film.

The challenge will lie in creating content to fit the medium and engage online audiences. But have no fear, I think this is a challenge that most lifestyle brands are going to be able to tackle with great success.

Here are our top 13 luxury and fashion brand videos of 2011 to inspire greatness in the new year. At the end, tell us which ones you loved most.

1. Hermes – The Black Rider

Hermes hit hard this year with their creative, careful use of digital marketing. Their latest video is something to see.

2. Land’s End – Canvas

Who would have thought that Land’s End could steal our fashionable marketers’ hearts this year with their digital campaign? I never did, but I love what they’re doing.

3. Dior – J’adore Dior Pinball Machine

Is this Dior’s take on social gaming?If so, we love it.

4. Kate Spade – Live Colorfully Animated Video

To introduce chocolate as its color of the month, Kate Spade has brought art to life in this playfully paper-collaged vignette. The film imagines the secret life of an eclectic salon wall.

5. DKNY – DKNY PR Girl Comes Out

When it comes time for an anonymous fashion blogger to come out of the wardrobe, no one can top Aliza Licht. Here’s the video that DKNY created when the vice president of communications revealed she was the personality behind DKNY PR Girl.

6. Lanvin – Fall Winter 2011-2012 Ad Campaign

Proof that a luxury brand that isn’t afraid to have fun. This video achieved viral WOM by simply adding Pitbull to its fall video add campaign.

7. The Holstee Manifesto – Lifecycle Video

8. – The Ultimate LA Address Book

9. Chanel – Coco Mademoiselle

Chanel’s film about its iconic perfume starred actress Keira Knightley and actor Alberto Ammann, and was directed by Joe Wright. What sent us over the top was the music, “It’s a man’s man’s man’s world” performed by singer Joss Stone.

10. Benefit Cosmetics – Holiday Relief

The some of funniest internet comedy we’ve seen. We’re loving Benefit’s holiday video on how to get over gifts we don’t want. Praised by L2 Think Tank for their launch in China and relaunch of their web presence internationally, Benefit is one of the few socially savvy beauty brands producing conversation worthy video content.

11. DKNY – Four Play

Donna Karan’s Eldridge Bag inspired the short film Four Play, starring Christina Ricci and directed by Jake Sumner. Produced in partnership with People’s Revolution, the project aimed to drive e-commerce sales through celebrity-driven, viral content. The film was the subject of over 40 features online, including articles on WWD, The Wall Street Journal and Additionally, Four Play was selected for the LA International Short Film Festival.

12. Simple.Honest.Work – For 37Signals

Jason Fried of of 37Signals hired Simple.Honest.Work to create the company’s holiday gifts, here is the documentary of the product. Beautiful.

13. Edun – Pioneers

The Edun Pioneers campaign, featuring male social entrepreneurs in a series of videos and an adjunct print publication. The best organizations are those that produce products that meet real needs – Warby Parker


Industry Insiders on Luxury, today & tomorrow

Industry Insiders on Luxury, Today & Tomorrow

by JOSHUA LINAM at Pursuitist

As a recession-ridden 2011 comes to a close, a few men stand and whisper the word “luxury.” The bold souls I’m referring to not only don fine fabric ties and crocodile satchels, but they also advise companies that produce these costly goods. Each of these men has climbed the luxury ladder for over a decade, and each has earned a rightful place at the head of luxe market’s table. So, what insights can our experts offer on the industry’s present state? Have the rules changed since 2010? Will luxury reclaim its glistening throne in 2012? Stay tuned, as a mixed field of industry elites share secrets of luxury, today and tomorrow.

MILTON PEDRAZA: CEO, Luxury Institute

The Luxury Institute is recognized as a global leader in CRM and luxury research. The company works closely with respected high-end brands, engaging in new and innovative methods to enhance customer-based brand experience.

My Company: “My company helps facilitate deeper relationships between luxury brands and consumers. We increase the retention rate between luxury companies and their customers, create targeted referrals and provide insight into the components that make up today’s luxury culture.”

How the Luxe Market is Changing: “The global recession has affected customers, making them more discerning now. Developed nations have seen hard times causing them to weaken, while developing markets continue to thrive. These developing countries have experienced increased demand because they offer more value. They are gaining a wider consumer base, as they have prompted more to become interested in luxury.”

The Future of Luxury: “Brands will begin to further differentiate products in the coming years. Products themselves, such as handbags, will become more unique in design, though I’m not necessarily talking about logos. Also, brands that find success will have enhanced consumer relations. They will become a trustworthy provider that makes your customer experience easier. Customers will be won over by out-behaving –– not outperforming.”

VENANZIO CIAMPA: Founder, The Promotion Factory

The Promotion Factory serves as a top-tier communications firm specializing in luxury, fashion, entertainment and lifestyle. The company offers a strong blend of creativity and veteran understanding to help empower renowned names like Gucci, Hublot, and Kenneth Cole.

My Company: “We don’t aim to follow demand, but to serve the ideal of luxury. We are placing more focus on content-related activity, which is becoming increasingly important. This is great for someone like me, who comes from media and communications, because it allows for more creating and not just distributing.”

How the Luxe Market is Changing: “I think the Web, e-tail and social media are playing a big role. Ten years ago luxury was afraid of the Web — it approached it like an enemy — but today companies are investing more time and frankly passion in the Internet because it allows direct communication with clients. With the Web 2 phase, luxury companies will soon be forced to become more ‘editorial’ in nature and not simply function as an online catalogue.”

The Future of Luxury: “The ‘how’ we buy is already being shaped by technology, but I believe we will still need to touch and feel. You can tell that by visiting Saks on a Sunday and seeing how women buy shoes. Also, I foresee a peculiar blending of the editorial and the commercial. Retailers will play editors and vice-versa, and this could be good or somewhat perverse. Luxury companies will look to improve the multimedia content of their brands on social media platforms. They will need to understand their audiences’ desires and respond in a flash.”

RICHARD CHRISTIANSEN: Founder, Chandelier Creative

In a world leaking imagination, ideas float Chandelier Creative to the top. The company was built on the crux that curiosity lends superior answers. And Chandelier loans their passionate intrigue to some of the biggest names around: Givenchy, Versace and Bulgari, to name a few.

My Company: “We are content creators. Our specialty is cross-channel development, bridging the gap between digital and social media and more traditional forms of marketing. What our clients all have in common is a desire to gain a fresh, modern perspective that respects and leverages their heritage or brand values. We believe in telling stories and creating experiences to connect people to the product.”

How the Luxe Market is Changing: “There is a new customer profile, the mass luxury shopper, that has created an interesting marketing challenge –– how do you appeal to 2 sets of consumers of different income levels and lifestyles without devaluing the brand or destroying the heritage? The core, upper-class shoppers have brand loyalty and make consistent purchases for all aspects of their lives –– clothes, furniture, food and wine, cars and hotels. The emerging middle-class shoppers spend relatively small amounts in less consistent patterns, but have the possibility of long-term brand loyalty.”

The Future of Luxury: “The word ‘technology’ had nerdy, undesirable connotations for years. It was seen as a hobby and something that only few people could utilize and understand. Then Apple came along and redefined it in a matter of a few years. Technology now means enabling desirable tools to millions of people. It’s easy to forget that a combination lock on a briefcase was once considered hi-tech. Will Vuitton develop fingerprint scanner locks on their trunks? Luxury brands will have to continue to find ways to communicate to customers and fans alike. Having a social media presence makes them fair game for scrutiny, so they can no longer distance themselves from the masses. They will have to stand for something and deliver on the promise.”

JOSEPH JANUS: Creative Director, BODHI

While many handbag companies can boast handcrafted clutches and Italian leathers, few can also match BODHI’s design sensibility. The bag specialists outshine competitors with a passionate eye for detail and craftsmanship.

My Company: “I think it’s the responsibility of companies like BODHI to keep making luxury more affordable but to maintain the quality, the functionality and the beauty of luxury pieces.”

How the Luxe Market is Changing: “The luxury market has changed a lot in the past decade and is changing more and more every day. Internet membership sale sites like Gilt have really changed the game. You can buy bags from Chanel, Chloe, BODHI and more at a discount price, and you no longer have to shop on Madison Avenue to find quality luxury products. Luxury products have a much farther reach now, not only in the United States but all around the world in places like China.”

The Future of Luxury: “This is the Age of Technology. There really is a lifestyle change going on, driven by tech and the way we live, work, play, socialize and conduct our everyday lives. For the past 5 years I have been introducing tech accessories into our line, and retailers that carry my bags have finally taken notice of the lifestyle change, demanding more of our tech accessories on their sales floors. I think the luxury market will continue to reinvent itself in the next decade. Companies will continue reaching more people by marketing affordable luxury in their product lines.”


Diamond demand to increase 6pc per year until 2020: Bain & Co.

By Rachel Lamb at Luxury Daily (photo Courtesy of De Beers)

Diamond demand will far outpace the annual 2.8 percent supply growth, which is likely to create a structural shortage in the industry. This indicates a possibility of price increases, especially in the luxury market where there are larger-carat diamond segments, according to findings from a study from Bain & Co.

The 2001 Global Diamond Industry Report indicates that the demand is mostly brought on by Chinese and Indian consumers, whose combined income is steadily increasing. Diamond demand is expected to grow 6 percent every year until 2020.

“Diamond shortage will put upward pressure on prices, especially for larger diamonds,” said Gerhard Prinsloo, New York-based partner at Bain & Co. and lead author for the study. “Retailers need to increase efforts and focus on diamond sourcing strategies.

“At the lower end of market, too, high prices might induce switching to other alternatives: down trading to smaller diamonds, other stones and other luxury goods,” he said. “However, diamond engagement rings are culturally deeply embedded and the industry will be well-served to ensure diamonds remain affordable.”

Bonus Video : Harry Winston Diamond CEO on China Demand


Newspaper Launches Online Luxury Store

at L2 blog
Newspapers were once a tool for advertising or selling products to consumers.

But this month The International Herald Tribune has teamed up with a seasoned online fashion retailing expoert to launch its own online store to sell products to its readers.

The IHT – the global edition of The New York Times – has partnered with to launch a luxury goods store was created by Carmen Busquets, a co-founder and cornerstone investor in  She planned as a “laboratory of ideas” and a brand focused on supporting craftsmanship and heritage. Today, is an e-commerce gift site which sells rare products from around the world.

Anatomy of a maison – Louis Vuitton “Maison”

by MARION HUME at Financial Review

In the Medieval age, the sight of a towering spire signalled a city of splendour. Today, it is cathedrals of retailing that indicate metropolitan status in the global pecking order. The December 3 opening, not of another Louis Vuitton store – there are already 460 of those worldwide – but of a much grander Louis Vuitton ‘Maison’ (of which there are just 13) proves Sydney must be a very smart town indeed. Kar-Hwa Ho is the man responsible for the latest Australian opening, as well as such landmark stores as Louis Vuitton Singapore, housed on its very own island. Vuitton’s design director for the Asia-Pacific region tellsMarion Humeabout the new maison in the company of the brand’s Paris-based director of architecture, David McNulty.

A cathedral for a secular age

“Is that a compliment?” asks David McNulty. “I suppose fashion houses are becoming architectural theatre in the way opera houses were and cathedrals used to be. For us, there is always a question of visibility. We cannot be tucked away. We must be seen.” So how big a footprint is needed for a maison? “About 2000 square metres” says McNulty. Walk-ins are welcome at the Sydney Maison, because busy George Street means there’s nowhere to park, let alone a space for your limo to wait. But what of those Vuitton stores where you can’t walk in? The line at the Paris Champs Élysées flagship store often numbers in the hundreds. “It’s really not good to have people waiting,” protests McNulty, revealing that staff serve hot beverages to waiting crowds and the company sometimes lays on transport to the other five Vuitton stores in Paris, “but everyone wants to go to that one because it’s the biggest.”

If we build it, they will come

To semaphore to the customer that a maison is more than just a place to pick up a monogram wallet, it helps if the building itself is jaw-droppingly attractive and the Sydney Maison certainly is chic. “But we don’t own the building, which means there are restrictions,” explains Ho. Even without these, sometimes the most arresting designs don’t get built. All the architecture models that didn’t make it are in the Vuitton head office, including one of shining metal rods by Zaha Hadid. “One day!” says Ho, wistfully. Do the challenges of preserving history lead to better stores? Not always. “While we’re not interested in destroying heritage buildings, our original concepts are usually better,” says McNulty, who adds that, sometimes, keeping the history can go too far. At the recently opened Milan Maison, he says, “there’s a really ugly mural on the wall. Really ugly. It has a preservation order on it so we built a wall in front of it, so some archaeologist in the future can come in and find it.”

bonus video : Fly high above the very first Island Maison from Louis Vuitton located at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore


Crisis misses Luxury Groups

By euronews-en

You would not know much of the world is going through hard times by looking at the profits and statements of the makers of luxury goods.

LVMH, the world’s biggest such group, has just posted better-than-forecast sales growth for the last three months and sees no signs of a slowdown in the luxury industry


theULC: please comment

Cartier Gets Digital


Cartier will launch the first leg of its second digital “Painted Love” campaign for its Love jewelry line Nov. 9 — on Facebook. It will mark the first time the luxury brand has marketed on Facebook, where it boasts more than 280,000 fans. “A digital platform is a wonderful medium to express creativity,” said Corinne Delattre, head of communications at Cartier International. “The digital landscape is in constant evolution and with that, our role as communicators evolves daily. Our mission is to keep the timelessness of our maison in the reign of the ‘endless now.’” In partnership with The Hours, the four-and-a-half-minute short film is set to a backdrop of music from French band Air, and Brooklyn-based Waverly Films. The first of three parts, it features a painter in New York City in search of his creative vision of a woman — who ultimately loses touch with reality. He can’t get his vision right, so he goes out in the world — and his life becomes the fantasy that he’s created in his paintings. “The way Cartier envisioned the Love project was by initiating exclusive and original collaborations and highly creative synergies between the music and the image worlds,” said Leslie Dubest, co-founder and chief creative officer of The Hours. “Emotion through art engages digital conversation. This is the new marketing.” Cartier hosted an event and screening Tuesday at the Thompson LES hotel’s penthouse here, and events in Paris and Tokyo will follow. In 2007, the brand released its first digital campaign, “How Far Would You Go for Love,” where Olivier Dahan directed a dozen short films that featured models such as Helena Christensen and Marisa Berenson.


Why Luxury is recession-proof?

by Vanessa Friedman at
Could the above statement be true? It seems difficult to believe, but the numbers – at least numbers published today to the industry by Bain & Co, the consulting firm, in its 10th annual Worldwide Luxury Goods Market study (on general release later this week) – seem to say yes.

Consider: according to the Bain report, 2011 is going to be a record-setting year for the luxury market. Yes, you read that right. Bain predicts the industry will increase by 10 per cent beyond its current value of sales, which it estimates at €173bn. That would be growth of 13 per cent over 2009.

What’s more, the strongest markets are not just China (as expected), but also the Americas and western Europe, with sales in Europe up 10 per cent and those in the Americas 16 per cent higher. Put another way: the two most beleaguered global areas where the jobless numbers have risen are the places where someone (tourists?) are spending. A lot. Especially on high-margin watches and jewellery.

Weird, right?

Maybe not. Indeed, I wonder if these findings might not indicate that, as a Bain release notes: “The affluent now remember that they have high disposable income even if they have low consumer confidence.” Rather they might show that the affluent have adopted luxury products as a form of alternative investment.

After all, putting your money in banks, or bonds, is seen by some as increasingly risky. But putting your money in branded jewellery (and Bain notes that it is branded hard luxury that is the most popular) could look, by contrast, relatively safe, especially to those affluent individuals living in economies under pressure. It’s a very traditional approach, when you think about it: history is littered with the tales of highly affluent individuals surviving difficult times by sewing their gold and silver and diamonds into their garments and moving on to a new life.

In this view, buying a Delaneau diamond watch/Boucheron emerald necklace/Cartier gold bangle is really just a pro-active strategy for protecting your wealth. It’s got nothing to do with bling.

(Well…maybe just a little.)


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