ZURICH, Switzerland — While Richemont last week reported a 30 percent gain in annual profit as shoppers spent more on its Cartier jewelry and IWC watches, leather goods and fashion brands such as Lancel and Chloé have struggled. Earnings at Richemont’s so-called soft luxury unit fell by more than half in the last fiscal year.
Qatari royal family in talks for Valentino brand (FT) “The Qatari royal family is in advanced talks with private equity firm Permira over the sale of Valentino, the Italian luxury brand, for between €550-€600m. The sale talks come five years after Permira purchased Valentino Fashion Group in a deal worth €2.6bn. It has since been forced to write down the value of its investment heavily.” Jimmy Choo steps up its profit
How Gucci Got Its Groove Back (Departures) “Today she’s happy being the woman behind the brand, unlike Ford, who was ultimately bigger than Gucci, which is why, in part, he’s no longer there. (Ford declined to comment for this article.) ‘After almost ten years, it’s difficult to divide myself from Gucci,’ she says. ‘I love this company, and I have such respect for its history.'” Azzedine Alaïa, a
How Zara clothes turned Galicia into retail hotspot (Reuters) “The green, rainy region of Galicia in northwest Spain is best-known as the destination for pilgrims hiking the Camino de Santiago to pay tribute at the remains of apostle Saint James… But a different kind of pilgrim also makes the journey here — retail sector analysts visiting the headquarters of Spain’s most successful modern export, Zara
The mystery of the Chinese consumer (Economist) “After decades of deprivation and conformism, Chinese consumers regard expensive consumer goods as trophies of success… The owner of a gleaming new BMW will drive around for half an hour to avoid a 50 cent parking fee. And she will hesitate to spend much on interior decoration, because only her family sees the inside of her flat.” Alaïa Opens Up His Universe (IHT)
The relentless pace of the fashion industry has almost certainly contributed to the retirement, the downfall, and possibly even the death of some of the industry’s greatest creative talents. But is anyone asking questions that might lead to change? Today on the eve of his off-schedule show in Paris, BoF brings you an exclusive interview between our friends at 032c and the revered couturier Azzedine Alaïa, son of Tunisian farmers
Azzedine Alaïa: The Master of the Female Form (NY Times) “Maybe the notion of strong-looking fashion, based on concrete methods and examples rather than abstractions and ironic statements, is dying, and there is nobody around with the grit and stamina to map the geography of a woman’s body, as he has done for last 45 years.” The Little Season That Could (WSJ) “Resort has gone from mild-mannered and meekly helpful
I heard rumours in Paris last week about a major luxury group taking a significant stake in Azzedine Alaïa's business, after he bought his business back from Prada this summer. Today's WWD confirms the mystery conglomerate as Richemont, a company known more for luxury watches and jewellery than high fashion. Azzedine Alaïa is the ultimate fashion insider brand, loved by legions of devoted fans of his signature 80's body-con dresses that have come into fashion's favour again of late. Alaïa's intricate and complex garment construction and personal touch are vestiges of a different era in fashion, and for this he is respected by even the most jaded fashion types. Recently, Mr Alaïa has become better known to the mainstream for…