Giles Deacon | A Designer Who Has Always Drawn

Giles Deacon for Smythson

LONDON, United Kingdom — When Giles Deacon developed a set of chic correspondence cards, each with a signature Giles sketch, in collaboration with Smythson earlier this year, the first batch sold out in just one day — on both sides of the Atlantic. For all you hard core Giles fans, the cards appear to have been re-ordered and are now available for sale again. Even better, here at BoF we were lucky to have had a special sketch from

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Friday Column | Business vs. Fashion?

LONDON, United Kingdom — I just finished reading the interview with Jane Rapley, the Head of College at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in this month’s Luxury Briefing, and I couldn’t help but think that for a school that prides itself on being progressive, she sounded behind-the-times when it comes to the way the industry works and what her students need to thrive in it. Take for instance her answer to the

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Inside the Studio | Giles Deacon | Chapter I

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“Unstructured exploration…” In the years before he became an overnight household name in the United Kingdom, when Linda Evangelista walked down his runway for free, Giles Deacon spent more than 10 years exploring — not the world, but rather the people and environment in which he lived. The first chapter of Giles’ story explains how he came to be a fashion designer and launch his own label, GILES. It reveals

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Friday Column | Russians, Recession and Really, Really Expensive Jeans

Balmain jeans | Source: Courtesy Rex Features

LONDON, United Kingdom — If one wanted an indication that nothing is ever going to be the way it was in luxury, this was the week to watch. Forget about Karl Lagerfeld’s paper accessories at the Chanel haute couture show (a gimmick if there ever were one.) Consider instead the dichotomy of two of the most interesting items in this week’s fashion news. First, that Tom Ford is bringing out jeans with a $990 price tag in the midst of

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Friday Column | The Colour of Fashion

Michelle Obama in Isabel Toledo, courtesy JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

LONDON, United Kingdom — It was almost old times in fashion this week. First, even better than the Oscars, came the inauguration outfits. Vogue.co.uk even put up a slide show of what people were wearing on the big night. I can’t remember that happening when George Bush was elected, and then subsequently re-elected. Michelle Obama made some inspired choices. Isabel Toledo, who made the green beaded dress and coat the new first lady

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Luxury Outlook | Richemont reels

ZURICH, Switzerland — “Demand for luxury goods…has fallen dramatically and Richemont is currently facing the toughest market conditions since its formation 20 years ago…we see no cause for optimism. We must assume that there will be no significant recovery in the foreseeable future and plan accordingly to cope with this situation.” With those ominous words in its trading update on Monday, Richemont provided the first

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Friday Column | Barbie to the Rescue!

LONDON, United Kingdom — I was surprised to see that a number of big-name sponsors have signed on recently to support the upcoming round of fashion shows. In London, Henry Holland’s show will be sponsored by Sebastian, makers of hair care products. And Barbie is making an appearance in both New York and London — thanks to the fact that it is her 50th birthday. Mattel, makers of Barbie, have signed a three-year partnership

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Fashion and Fur | How to foster an intelligent debate

LONDON, United Kingdom - For many of fashion's iconic characters, from Vogue's Anna Wintour to the prolific designer Karl Lagerfeld, who designs for Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous label, fashion and fur go hand in hand. Just last week, Lagerfeld vigorously defended the use of fur to the BBC saying that "in a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish." Of course, there are plenty of people who would disagree with this point of view - the folks at PETA, for one.  A PETA spokesperson told London's Daily Telegraph that Lagerfeld is "a fashion dinosaur who is as out of step as his furs are out of style. The vast…

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Friday Column | How to Survive the Recession

Hollywood stars take on the red carpet

LONDON, United Kingdom – According to analysts, we’ve just come through the worst holiday selling season in 40 years. If that’s not bad enough, Chanel announced that it is laying off 200 people in Paris. Chanel! That surprised everyone I spoke to in the industry. For one thing, Chanel is not masstige — it wasn’t catering to the masses, the part of the market said to be most impacted by the recession. For another thing,

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Creative Entrepreneurship | A Wish for 2009

NAIROBI, Kenya - The way things are looking, 2009 is going to be a very tough year indeed. And, with all the froth and gloss in the fashion business over of the past few years, it will not be surprising to see many fashion companies fail, especially those that have been able to coast on the excesses of easy credit, copy designs from others with impunity, and take advantage of benign conditions that have enabled even the most mediocre to succeed. But, the silver lining of this economic pain is that we will have to make do with less. We will have to be more resourceful than ever. And, as a result, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship will flourish, as the…

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Friday Column | Whither or Wither Luxury?

Prada men's spring 2009 campaign photographed by Hedi Slimane, courtesy of Prada

LONDON, United Kingdom — At the Luxury Briefing Conference held in London last month, Claire Kent, former Morgan Stanley analyst and current luxury goods consultant, spelled out her thoughts for the future of luxury. “Regardless of the credit crunch there was growing fatigue about luxury brands,” she said. “People want a redefinition of luxury. People don’t want to be buying the same brands as the people

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Luxury Outlook | Innovation engine

  As the big three U.S. automakers await to hear their fate on a requested bailout from the U.S. government and Citigroup teeters on the verge of bankruptcy, it now seems that the fall of Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns and other corporate casualities was just the beginning of what is likely to be a global economic meltdown of epic proportions. With this as the backdrop, a reader recently wrote in to ask about the prospects for aspiring job seekers in the fashion industry more generally. Others have been wondering how some of the emerging businesses that have come to the fore in recent years are faring. The short answer to both questions is that things are extremely tough out there,…

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Luxury Outlook | Finding meaning in design

Back in September, The Business of Fashion caught up with noted futurist Faith Popcorn to talk to her about "recession culture," and how this changes the way consumers scrutinise spending decisions. It seems like a quaint discussion now (because of my questions, not Ms. Popcorn's answers) because our interview took place back when consumers in the U.S. were still spending. Boy have things changed since then. By the middle of October, Eric Wilson of the New York Times reported of worried U.S. consumers walking into department stores and retailers, shopping bags in hand, returning entire bags of merchandise which had been previously purchased. What's more, he went on to report of dramatic drops in sales at major luxury departments stores…

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