Narcisco and Liz: A match made in heaven?

Narciso Rogriguez, designer of Caroline Bessette Kennedy's wedding dress, and Liz Claiborne, the purveyor of everything from Juicy Couture tracksuits to Lucky jeans, announced today that Liz Claiborne Inc has taken a 50% stake in Mr Rodriguez's namesake label. Of late, we haven't seen that many large fashion conglomerates take an interest in growing small high-end businesses. This particular partnership is also of interest because on the surface, there does not seem to be a natural match between Narcisco's target market of luxury customers (who buy his collection at Neiman Marcus, Saks, Bergdorf Goodman and Barney's) and Liz's connections and expertise with lower priced Contemporary and Bridge labels (which are distributed much more broadly in stores like Bloomingdales, Macy's and…

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Fashion Television: Sartorialist, Blogging, Ford and Mentorship

In Canada, many young aspiring fashionistas cut their teeth on Fashion Television (or FT), hosted by Jeanne Beker. I accidentally happened upon the site recently and came across a veritable treasure trove of video content that is relevant to some of the topics recently debated and discussed on The Business of Fashion: Fashion blogging Any regular readers of this blog know that I have been a big fan of the Sartorialist, aka Scott Schuman, since I first came across his site almost two years ago. His was the first blog of any sort to really catch my attention because there was something really powerful about seeing clothes that are styled by real people on the street. It brings the clothes…

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Links of the week: Tom Ford, Fashion 2.0, Kate Moss for Top Shop and Chloe’s future

Top fashion business links for the week of 30 April, 2007: New York Times - No Store is a Hero to its ValetEither the New York Times really has it in for Tom Ford (perhaps he spurned and interview request or declined an editors request for a discount?) or there is a real issue with Tom Ford's new eponymous business. First, Cathy Horyn criticized Ford's new business for being too niche and too grand (after Ford had provided her with a private tour - you can't buy this woman's vote) and today, in its Critical Shopper feature, Horacio Silva pans the store for confusing "exclusionary for exclusive." Modabot.de - Brave New Internet World - How the Internet is changing the…

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Tom Ford: Niche Luxury with all the trimmings

Last week, Tom Ford launched his much-awaited menswear collection at a brand new New York flagship, where he provided personal tours to the fashion elite, including Bernard Arnault of LVMH and Cathy Horyn of the New York Times. It seems that while Cathy was impressed, she didn't necessarily understand the business rationale for Tom's decision to focus solely on the most elite niche of the menswear market, i.e. men who are willing to spend upwards of $3000 on a suit. Tot top it all off, Ford has supplemented the purchase of the suit with a truly luxurious environment (read expensive capital expenditure and rent) to provide a truly unique tailoring experience. Will Mr Ford be able to work his Gucci…

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Goyard and Tory Burch: 5th Avenue Styletribe, New York

It is cliche to say that New Yorkers dress in uniform, but as with most cliches, there is a kernel of truth to this one that can't be denied. There is also no denying that New Yorkers are stylish, they just tend to be stylish in easily identifiable groups often associated with the areas in which they live and work, ie. Williamsburg hipsters in skinny jeans and hoodies, Wall Street bankers in Brooks Brothers and 5th Avenue ladies who lunch in Chanel. Sure, you could say the same is true for Londoners as there are trends that seem to capture the imagination of Notting Hillbillies, Sloane Rangers and Hoxtonites alike, but somehow these are executed with individual panache that makes…

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Barking Irons: Authentic Americana, New York

  While in New York this past week, I ended up in New York's Bowery District several times, completely unknowingly and without any forward planning. People just invited me there for dinner or lunch at the very cool restaurant called Freemans and the sweet brunch spot called the Five Points Restaurant. Once upon a time, The Bowery was home to high European culture and then was the centre of a grassroots movement of artists and musicians in America's new melting pot in the late 1800's. However, since the early 1900's the area has languished as a skid row zone of brothels, run-down buildings and grime. Today, the Bowery remains one of the few areas in Manhattan yet to be gentrified…

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Marc Jacobs: The Cult of Corporate Cool, New York

Who said that big brands can't retain the DNA of what made them interesting in the first place? This past week in New York, I visited the Marc by Marc Jacobs store on Bleecker Street, the little brother store to Marc Jacobs mainline collection. Both businesses are owned by LVMH, the world's largest luxury goods conglomerate. Marc Jacobs is also the Creative Director for Louis Vuitton, the company's largest fashion brand. So, you might expect that the company feels corporate and over marketed. Thus, it was a pleasant surprise to walk into the Marc store and see a huge yellow chicken mascot sitting in the store window. A (suitably cool) photographer named Thom was taking photos of customers posing with…

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Pax Americana: Abercrombie & Fitch

This marks the week that one of America's most successful fashion brands hits the shores of Europe, with the opening of the first European Abercrombie and Fitch flagship in London's Savile Row. The hype has been nonstop, with the media going crazy,  London buses trumpeting the new store's appearance by draping themselves in images of perfectly proportioned models baring their torsos (and the preferred Abercrombie aesthetic) for all to see. According to reports, there will always be two models in swimwear in the store at all times. Shopping at an AF store is about the experience of Abercrombie and Fitch. It speaks volumes about the brand and what it stands for. The signature music. The achingly hip (an invariably attractive)…

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SoHo Shopping, New York

Many emerging designers get their initial support from the myriad small boutiques around the world that are trying to give their customers something a bit different; something they won't necessarily find in a department store. High-end boutiques also differ from their department store counterparts in that they really get involved in giving their customers advice and tips on the newest designers and styles. I took a walk through SoHo on Saturday with my friend Joan, a serious fashionista, who also spends a lot of her time scouring eBay for unique pieces that speak to her individuality. This is Joan camping out in front of some SoHo graffiti, wearing her first ever eBay fashion purchase, a shaggy shearling jacket that helps…

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Marc Newson at the Gagosian Gallery, New York

A work colleague invited me to an interesting art/design exhibition of the highly-regarded young industrial designer, Marc Newson in New York's west side. It was one of those moments when I thought, Doh!, I wish I had my camera/cameraphone with me so I could capture not only the artwork but also the truly fabulous crowd that had assembled to pay hommage to this young talent. I am still getting used to always being ready to capture the cool moments  that sometimes happen unexpectedly. In any case, I really like this cool shelf that kind of looks like a giant piece of industrial honey-comb. To be honest, I am not sure I understand exactly how the business of that whole exhibition…

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Pressler Pushed Out

The Gap announced today that Paul Pressler has been pushed out of the organisation as it struggles to find ways to turn the business around. Part of the problems the company is facing is addressed in my previous post: "Mind the Gap?" I am not surprised by this move as public companies often try to make high-profile leadership changes to signal to the market that they have recognised a problem and are trying to fix it. Whether they actually manage to turn things around, remains to be seen. You can read more about it in today's WWD - their prognosis for the company's future is not terribly optimistic.

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