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The BoF Podcast | The Genesis of the Modern Luxury Fashion Industry

Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui speak to BoF’s Tim Blanks about their new docuseries, which examines the formation of LVMH and Kering and how designers John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford helped bosses Bernard Arnault and François Pinault build a ‘Kingdom of Dreams.’
Bernard Arnault with then Christian Dior designer John Galliano.
Bernard Arnault with then Christian Dior designer John Galliano.

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Background:

A new fashion docuseries, “Kingdom of Dreams,” explores the luxury fashion industry’s formation in the 1990s to the 2000s, examining some of the industry’s most recognisable designers of that period — John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford — as well as executives like Kering’s François Pinault and LVMH’s Bernard Arnault.

Ian Bonhôte and Peter Ettedgui highlight the tension between commerce and creativity, as well as the rivalries between luxury groups and their designers.

“At the end of the day, we never said anything that hasn’t been said or which is not sort of present,” said Bonhôte. “So the truth is very important. And we are … definitely not scandalous.”

This week on The BoF Podcast, BoF’s editor-at-large Tim Blanks speaks with Bonhôte and Ettedgui about understanding pressures of consumerism and what makes a fashion house business tick.

Key Insights:

  • The creators highlighted the gap between creativity “wizards” and business “emperors” within some of fashion’s largest fashion houses, demonstrating the power of tycoons François Pinault and Bernard Arnault. “What we felt was the most interesting drama is there is this constant fight between commerce and creativity,” said Bonhôte.
  • The series also highlights the pressures on designers to double the volume of collections and the impact of that growth on the planet. “It is disturbing to see the fallout and not just the fallout psychologically for the designers, but also for the planet as fashion speeds up,” said Ettedgui.
  • While examining the industry the creators wanted the audience to gain a new understanding of fashion rather than the gated community it can be perceived as. “It’s a very difficult industry for people to actually understand because I think the [understanding of] fashion is almost wrong,” said Bonhôte.

Additional Resources:

  • How Fashion Went Corporate: Creativity, Commerce and Collateral Damage: Tim Blanks talks to the creators of ‘Kingdom of Dreams,’ a new documentary series on how the corporatisation of luxury fashion made superstars of designers John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs, and built gilded empires for bosses Bernard Arnault and François Pinault.

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