Hello BoF Professionals, welcome to our latest members-only briefing: The Week Ahead. Think of it as your "cheat sheet" to what everyone will be talking about on Monday.
THE CHEAT SHEET
Luxury Brands Renew Focus on Japan
- Kim Jones will show his pre-fall Dior Men collection in Tokyo on November 30
- Valentino to show a co-ed pre-fall collection on November 27
- Japanese luxury sales seen up 3 percent this year to $25 billion, according to Bain
Japan serves as a frequent inspiration — and a major market — for the designers of Europe’s great luxury houses, but it still makes international headlines when the likes of Dior and Valentino decide to stage high-profile shows in the country. Despite slowing growth, Japan remains a top-tier luxury market, particularly in wholesale; department stores that are a prime audience for pre-fall shows haven’t suffered the same precipitous decline as in the West. Japan is also ground zero for the "drop" model sweeping retail, and both Dior and Valentino plan limited collections tied to their shows. The ultimate target may be Chinese tourists, who have flocked to Japan in recent years, attracted by cheap flights and the prospect of picking up exclusive items.
The Bottom Line: The Tokyo shows are a reminder that Japan’s luxury market remains central to luxury brands, even if faster-growing China tends to get more attention.
Dolce & Gabbana Say They're Really Sorry. Will it Matter?
- Dolce & Gabbana apologised in a video as backlash to ad, comments intensifies
- Alibaba, JD.com, YNAP among retailers in China to stop selling their clothes
- No major Western retailers have followed suit
Dolce & Gabbana are experts at riding the cycle of outrage, boycotts and forgiveness (or at least, forgetfulness). This time feels different. For one, the boycott is being led by retailers, rather than consumers, meaning wholesalers are looking to get out in front of what they expect will be an extended backlash. The designers have also run through the crisis playbook a few too many times; an apology video is unlikely to do the trick. Dolce & Gabbana will also struggle to contain the furor to China, given that Chinese tourists are — or were — big spenders at the brand's boutiques worldwide.
The Bottom Line: The days are over when a luxury brand could rely on sales to Western consumers to ride out a Chinese boycott.
Alexander Wang vs. the Fashion Calendar: Round Two
- Alexander Wang’s Fall/Winter 2019 presentation on Saturday kicks off December fashion week in New York
- Few designers have followed Wang in departing the February/September schedule
- Carolina Herrera, Versace, Chanel show pre-fall collections next week
The CFDA’s plan to revolutionise the fashion calendar is in a holding pattern. Wang and Narciso Rodriguez showed Spring/Summer 2019 in June and are now set to show Fall/Winter 2019 in December. But other designers approached about making a similar switch — including The Row, Jason Wu and Prabal Gurung — are nowhere to be found. The logic behind June/December shows is that brands can present to third-party sellers when they are most primed to buy. But a growing number of brands care more about a runway show's marketing value, not sales. That gives the February/September schedule a powerful network effect, as the crush of shows is guaranteed to draw global media attention.
The Bottom Line: The CFDA's attempt to reinvent fashion week may only have succeeded in fracturing it.
BoF to Host Third VOICES Gathering
- Executives, entrepreneurs, experts and business leaders will converge on Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire for BoF's annual, three-day gathering for big thinkers
- The speaker line-up includes Christopher Wylie, Stella McCartney, Alber Elbaz, Francesca Bellettini and Huda Kattan
- VOICES will be a hub for discussion on topics as varied as Big Tech, democracy, Bangladeshi garment workers, India's ascent, reinventing old media and the cannabis economy
The third iteration of BoF's VOICES gathering, in partnership with QIC Global Real Estate, will be held at Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire from November 28 to December 1. The invitation-only gathering will bring together people from a variety of industries, from fashion to tech, to discuss today's most pressing issues. While the fashion system will be addressed in depth by the likes of Stella McCartney, Alber Elbaz and Yves Saint Laurent chief executive Francesca Bellettini, it won't be the only topic of discussion. VOICES will also feature panels on cyber warfare and the geopolitics of artificial intelligence; blockchain and biology-driven design; navigating growth in China and India's economic boom; and Ayurveda and the culture wars. Tune in to watch the talks on Thursday, November 29 and Friday, November 30.
The Bottom Line: The gathering will unite movers and shakers from a variety of industries, from fashion and tech to science and health & wellness, to capture the power of cross-industry learning and collaboration.
COMMENT OF THE WEEK
“It makes a total mockery of an industry that is by and large full of hard working people that don’t grab headlines but are just making a living doing what they love. It gives fuel to people who already think fashion is full of laughable airs and graces, and contributes little to society at large."
— Susanna Lau, on Dolce & Gabbana's social media storm.
Professional Exclusives You May Have Missed:
- Why Dior Men is targeting Tokyo.
- Luxury brands need to invest in China's teens.
- Discounting's double-edged sword.
- The race to replace Victoria's Secret.
- A beauty brand's biggest decision: Sephora or Ulta?
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