Valentino | The last word

On the eve of his final couture show held in Paris on Wednesday, Valentino Garavani was telling Italian newspapers that business is ruining the fashion industry and that he wished he had had time to groom a successor before retiring. Earlier this year, Permira, the private equity company, won a battle with The Carlyle Group for control of the Valentino business, which at the time was split up amongst several shareholders who had aligned themselves with different investors, leading to a down-to-the-wire battle for the venerable Italian fashion house. This may explain why Mr Valentino chose to use particularly strong language to describe the state of the fashion industry, telling Italy's Messagero newspaper that: "The world of fashion has now…

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Marc Jacobs: Getting into the fray

In what is what is likely a first in the fashion industry when it comes to the blogosphere, Marc Jacobs has joined the ongoing online debate raging about his supposed row with Suzy Menkes, the highly regarded fashion editor of the International Herald Tribune. In his comment on Cathy Horyn's On the Runway blog, Jacobs says: I did NOT stick my tongue out at Suzy Menkes……I pulled a stupid face with my tongue out in happiness for being done with what has been a great but most stressful season for me. I am not stupid, childish or a vindictive person….I had prior to the show left a silly t-shirt and a nice note for Suzy on her seat. Why would…

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Links of the week: Sexless Gucci, Gianni-less Versace, Thom and Brooks Brothers

The Times of London: G-ForceFrida Giannini, the last remaining designer of the trio that was selected to replace Tom Ford at Gucci, is an advocate for Gucci without the sex. According to The Times, the results speak for themselves with a 16% increase in sales to over £1.5b - the highest in the company's history. The New York Times: The Murder on Ocean DriveGianni Versace, who was feted at a glamorous ballet last weekend in Milan, was murdered 10 years ago this month. Cathy Horyn gives us a behind-the-scenes take on that shocking week in Miami in 1997, showing a different side of Gianni's replacement, his sister Donnatella.The Wall Street Journal: Brooks Brothers tries hip line: Will it suit?As a…

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Cathy Horyn: Video on the Runway

It seems every few weeks I come across some interesting quotes from or video clips of Cathy Horyn of the New York Times. As one of the first major fashion critics to pen a regular blog, it's not surprising that she believes in the importance of blogging to the fashion industry. Regular readers know that this is a recurring topic on the BoF, especially after what I heard from some industry people at the Harvard Business School Retail and Luxury Conference earlier this year. This is a video I came across where Julie Fredrickson of Coutorture attempts to interview Ms. Horyn on the topic of Web 2.0 and fashion. I use the word "attempts" intentionally. As you will see, by…

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Tom Ford in person: Go Beta First, New York

On my last trip to New York, I finally managed to see the new Tom Ford flagship store in person. After all of the hubbub about its "Hermes and Oprah" similarities, I wanted to judge for myself. Was Cathy Horyn right in criticising the high price-points as being out of reach even for the most discerning male customers? Was Horacio Silva on the mark for panning the store for its overly-exclusive environment? I'm afraid the answer is yes. In spades. For all of the talk about the luxurious feel of the store, I have to say it all felt quite ordinary to me. That is to say, it didn't feel different from most of the other masses of luxury stores…

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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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Cathy Horyn: On the runway

Although I don't always agree with her critical opinions, I have really been enjoying reading Cathy Horyn's new blog for the New York Times: On the Runway. Not only does Cathy use a more casual (sometimes downright catty) voice than in her NYT reviews, she has also started to attract a real community of fashion lovers who are engaging with each other (and with Cathy) actively through blog comments. Several characters have started to develop in the "On the Runway" community, including Autre, who has clear and well-stated views on many of the collections that Cathy has reviewed and on her reviews themselves. A veritable online frenzy often ensues, debating everything from Miucca's fabrics and Dries' prints to Stefano's cuts…

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