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News Bites | De Beers' New Harrods Store, Vetements Abandons Runway Model

In today's News Bites, De Beers' new retail concept, and Vetements artistic director Demna Gvasalia on how he 'got bored' with fashion shows.
De Beers at Harrods | Source: Courtesy
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  • BoF Team

Welcome to News Bites, BoF's regular feature of the stories that get the industry talking.

De Beers has opened a new store in the Fine Jewellery Room at Harrods.

While the luxury jeweller has had a presence at the London department store since 2006, the newly redesigned space echoes the decor of the company's new Madison Avenue store in New York.

“We have designed this new space with our local and international clients in mind to fully express our brand’s uniqueness and convey our century-old diamond understanding in a friendly yet refined setting," said François Delage, CEO of De Beers Diamond Jewellers, in a statement. "Through this beautiful space, dedicated to our craft, we invite our clients to an intimate and personal experience where expertise meets emotion.”

The new retail space comes two months after De Beers ended a joint venture with LVMH. De Beers bought back the 50 percent stake acquired by the luxury conglomerate in 2001 for an undisclosed sum. The move marked the end of a 16-year partnership that had intended to transform the way diamonds were sold to consumers, positioned more as fashion accessories that customers bought for themselves rather than as an occasional gift for others.

The new Harrods store concept was developed with storytelling in mind, celebrating the journey from rough natural diamonds to fine jewellery. The brand's high jewellery collection is presented in a circular "discovery counter," while two private salons will service bespoke clients.

The space opens at a challenging time for fine jewellers, however, as the value of diamonds has been falling. De Beers, which supplies 40 percent of the market, reported that the average price per carat in 2016 was $187, down from $207 in 2015. However, the earnings margin on these rocks was up slightly — 23 percent in 2016 from 21 percent in the prior year. — Tamara Abraham

Vetements is to abandon the runway show model.

The brand's Autumn/Winter 2017 runway show held at the Centre Pompidou during Paris Couture Week in January was its last. "We are not going to show in the classical system any more," the label's artistic director Demna Gvasalia told Vogue's Sarah Mower. "I got bored. I think it needs to enter a new chapter. Fashion shows are not the best tool."

Over the years, the label, which was founded by a collective of seven anonymous designers including Gvasalia in 2014, has become synonymous with oversized hoodies and deconstructed tailoring. In July 2016, it was a pioneer in moving its runway shows to Paris Couture Week in line with the pre-season calendar.

I got bored... Fashion shows are not the best tool.

The decision to move away from the traditional runway show format, comes three months after Gvasalia and his brother Guram's decision to move the Vetements base from Paris to Zürich, Switzerland, as the designer sees the city as a "clean slate."

Gvasalia says the realisation hit him while watching guests at the last Vetements show. “I realised that 80 percent of the clothes we did were not really seen or understood. And it cost so much. You cannot put on a show for less than €25,000 ($28,171). I think it’s a complete waste," he told Mower.

Vetements will continue to roll out seasonal collections, the designer insisted, however they will be presented to press and buyers at the label's Paris showroom instead. — Christopher Morency

Do you have a story for News Bites? Email newsbites@businessoffashion.com.

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