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November 10, 2016

In brief: Lily-Rose Depp at Planetarium première; Bruce Weber to be honoured at British Fashion Awards; H&M in Vietnam

Cecilia Xu/10.42


Pascal Le Segretain

Chanel is heavily promoting its new No. 5 L’Eau spokeswoman, Lily-Rose Depp, decking her out fully in fashion, accessories and make-up from the brand. On Tuesday, she was at the screening of Planetarium in Paris, a film by Rebecca Zlotowski in which she co-stars as Natalie Portman’s younger sister. She wore a Chanel black cotton jacket from the cruise 2016–17 collection, and the Coco Crush ring in 18 ct yellow gold. As a rising star, and the daughter of two major celebrities, Depp is attracting plenty of attention as her own acting career takes off.
   After opening in New Zealand, Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), the international fashion brand known for offering fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way, has signed for its first store openings in Vietnam during 2017. More information will follow, says the company. In 2017, H&M will also open in Colombia, Iceland, Kazakhstan and Georgia.
   Finally, the British Fashion Council announced earlier this week that photographer Bruce Weber, famed for his black-and-white portraits will receive its Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator at the British Fashion Awards 2016. Weber will be honoured at this year’s ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall. Weber’s work has appeared in Vogue, Elle, Interview, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, and other publications, and rose to prominence with the 1982 Calvin Klein campaign featuring Tom Hintnaus in Greece.—Cecilia Xu, with Lucire staff


Bruce Weber/Calvin Klein Advertising Archive

Above: Tom Hinthaus, photographed by Bruce Weber for Calvin Klein, 1982.

November 2, 2016

Topshop’s halo untarnished as it opens new stores while Sir Philip Green risks losing his knighthood

Lucire staff/11.10


CNN

As Topshop opens its doors in Wellington today, its second store in New Zealand, and in the wake of an announcement of a new flagship store in Dublin, Sir Philip Green, who chairs its parent Arcadia Group, has been under assault by British politicians.
   The most recent controversy surrounds Sir Philip’s knighthood, which was awarded to him for services to retail. However, a damning report published in July 2016 concluded that British Home Stores, which had been bought by Sir Philip in 2000 for £200 million and was formerly part of Arcadia, had been plundered, leaving BHS on life support. The mood in the Commons in October was that Sir Philip should be stripped of his knighthood, passing the amendment, ‘[This House] noting that Philip Green received his knighthood for his services for the retail industry, believes his actions raise the question of whether he should be allowed to continue to be a holder of the honour and calls on the honours forfeiture committee to recommend his knighthood be cancelled and annulled.’
   None of Sir Philip’s supporters were present at the debate, where MPs launched into attacks on the multi-millionaire whilst under parliamentary privilege.
   Also ignored as attacks were launched against Sir Philip was that, for a considerable period between 2000 and 2015, BHS employed thousands and the British establishment fêted the businessman. There were talks of a business venture with Simon Cowell, involving Cheryl Cole; supermodel Kate Moss created a line sold through Topshop. Even in the US, Sir Philip enjoyed a glowing reputation, winning a National Retail Federation’s Retailer of the Year Award. Between 2002 and 2009 BHS had paid £167 million of corporation tax, and capital expenditure had been £421 million while it was under Sir Philip’s control, according to Taveta Investments, his holding company. However, The Guardian believes that £580 million in dividends, rents and interest had been extracted by the Green family.
   While the motion does not mean Sir Philip will lose his knighthood, it will be difficult for the honours’ forfeiture committee, which considers the matter, to ignore.
   Sir Philip sold BHS for £1 in 2015 to investors led by Dominic Chappell—someone whom he now considers to be ‘categorically’ the wrong buyer; by April 2016 it had gone into administration, with the loss of 11,000 jobs and a £571 million pension scheme deficit. Sixteen years before the fund had been in a £5 million surplus.
   By July, the work and pensions’ select committee and the business, innovation and skills (BIS) committee issued a report which placed the blame of BHS’s collapse at Sir Philip’s feet. They accused him and others of extracting hundreds of millions of pounds from BHS, enriching himself and his family, and that he showed little business acumen. The committees further labelled the ‘systematic plunder’ of BHS ‘the unacceptable face of capitalism’, a term once linked to the Lonrho conglomerate in the 1970s and its chief executive Tiny Rowland. The committees also concluded that Sir Philip failed to invest in the business and that he was ultimately responsible for the pension fund’s deficit.
   BHS’s overseas franchises and its website were sold to Al Mana Group, under which they have thrived.
   Earlier in October, it is believed that Prime Minister Theresa May’s reference at the Conservative Party conference to business people who ‘take out massive dividends while knowing that the company pension is about to go bust’ was about Sir Philip.
   The man who chaired the work and pensions’ committee, the Rt Hon Frank Field MP, launched into a further attack on Sir Philip on Channel 4 News on October 18, forcing Taveta to counter the statements. Field said that Sir Philip was now running Arcadia ‘into the ground like BHS,’ and warned that Arcadia staff should be concerned for their pension fund.
   The same week, Sir Philip pledged to find a solution to the pension deficit in an interview with ITV and was ‘very sorry’ for those affected by the collapse. He claimed that he was in discussions with the Pensions’ Regulator to find a solution, though the Regulator stated that it was yet to receive a ‘comprehensive and credible’ proposal.
   On ITV, Sir Philip defended the years during which a dividend was taken out, stating that BHS was profitable at the time, though the committees concluded that those profits were made by cost-cutting and squeezing suppliers. He believes that the support he and his company gave to BHS from 2005 was closer to £850 million.
   Chappell, meanwhile, facing criticisms from Sir Philip, supported the stripping of Sir Philip’s knighthood.
   There is an ongoing investigation into the failure by the Insolvency Service while the Serious Fraud Office has begun looking into the matter.

October 26, 2016

Fashion in brief: Emporio Armani launches smartwatches; Topshop opens in Wellington on November 3

Lucire staff/0.31

Emporio Armani has entered the smartwatch sector with its Connected Hybrid range, mixing the design flair of the traditional watches with the latest technology.
   The watches sync with smartphones via Bluetooth, and have features such as automatic time zone updating, notifications, activity tracking, extended use without charging, easy access to music playlists, sleep-pattern monitoring, alarms, camera, and a lost-phone locator. The watches are available in pink, black, gunmetal and silver, with stainless steel or leather straps.
   Founder Giorgio Armani said, ‘Today, technology influences our daily lives profoundly. There’s an app for everything, and I find that, in many cases, they are inventions that actually improve our lives. I am delighted to introduce the hybrid connected watch that places the Emporio Armani brand at the forefront of innovation in the connected accessories’ market. This line of watches combine sleek design, advanced technology, immediacy and ease of use.’
   The watches are now available on www.emporioarmaniconnected.com and from selected stores and resellers worldwide.
   Meanwhile, Topshop will open its second New Zealand store in Wellington, at 256 Lambton Quay, on November 3, followed by a weekend-long celebration of giveaways and activities.
   The location will have both Topshop and Topman brands. In-store weekend events include DJ performances, photo walls, food, and beauty touch-ups.
   Topshop first opened in New Zealand in Auckland two years ago.



Above: Topshop and Topman make it to Wellington, New Zealand.

October 20, 2016

Victoria Beckham for Target brings designer’s style within easy reach

Lucire staff/5.14

Target and Victoria Beckham will release a limited-edition spring collaboration, with a line of apparel and accessories for women, girls, toddlers and babies, on sale April 9. Victoria Beckham for Target will be the designer’s first entry into childrenswear.
   At a much lower price than her main line, it brings Beckham’s style within reach of more consumers—not unlike the designer collaborations that took place at Hennes & Mauritz from 2004.
   The range comprises over 200 items in soft pastels, bright colours, and spring prints, in sizes from XS to 3X for women and NB to XL for girls, toddlers and babies.
   Prices will begin as low as US$6 with most items under US$40, says Target, with US$70 at the top end.
   Some items will be available internationally via victoriabeckham.com. The hashtag for social media is #VBxTarget.

October 18, 2016

Viktor & Rolf, Fragrance du Bois each launch a collection of six fragrances

Lucire staff/12.25




Top: Viktor & Rolf showed their Magic fragrance collection at the Upper East Side Academy Mansion, New York. Centre: Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren flank actress Taraji P. Henson. Above: The Fragrance du Bois Nature’s Treasures collection.

French luxury brand Fragrance du Bois has released its Nature’s Treasures collection of hand-blended perfumes using only sustainably sourced, natural ingredients.
   The collection comprises six fragrances: Baie Rose, Patchouli Argent, Brume du Matin, Pétales de Cashmere, Santal Complet and Zest Marin.
   Unlike earlier fragrances from the company, these six are not oud-based, but brand director Nicola Parker stresses that only the best natural ingredients feature, and each has been created by a master perfumer. She notes that the new line does not deviate from its core values.
   Parker also says Asian customers may prefer a lighter, fresher scent.
   Each perfume has a Swarovski crystal-encrusted, gold-plated cap, with prices commencing at €295 for 50 ml, up to €595 for 100 ml. They retail at Fragrance du Bois’s boutiques in Paris, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Genèva.
   An older, storied brand, Viktor & Rolf, has launched a new perfume line, too, dubbed the Magic Collection. Like Fragrance du Bois, there are six in the new line, which the company describes as an ‘unexpected twist on niche fragrances’.
   Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren themselves were in New York at the Upper East Side Academy Mansion to launch the fragrances on October 10, with VIPs Taraji P. Henson, Sasheer Zamata, model Sean O’Pry, Anna Baryshnikov, and others. Music was provided by DJ Mia Moretti, while celebrity magician Dan White performed live, in keeping with the theme.
   The Viktor & Rolf Magic Collection will be released in February 2017, exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue retailers in the US, and online at SaksFifthAvenue.com.




Above, from top: Sasheer Zamata. Taraji P. Henson. Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren.

October 13, 2016

Natalie Chan releases her Savoir-Faire couture millinery collection

Lucire staff/0.55



Natalie Chan’s latest couture millinery collection, entitled Savoir-Faire, has been released, inspired by the designer’s ongoing exploration of the old world meeting the present day. The pieces are feminine and confident, with headwear shapes varying from headbands to button, pillbox and percher hats. The hats themselves have clear, structured shapes, though the embellishments (butterfly wings, silk lilies, leather chrysanthemums and silk organza folds) are deconstructed—yet another point of contrast and stylistic tension. Chan has chosen colours of ivory, black, French navy and nude, with scarlet red and rose pink highlights.
   As before, Chan continues to offer a bespoke service. All are made in the traditional, artisan way, with embellishments all constructed by hand.
   Natalie Chan celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, with humble beginnings above a florist’s boutique in 2001. Today, her boutique is located at 229 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand. Her brand includes bridal wear, an extension she made in 2012, inspired by her own wedding and discovering that she had her own take on modern wedding dress design. Design and production take place above the Parnell boutique. The full collection can be tried on at the boutique, and personalized viewings are available.


October 6, 2016

Atterley returns with a UK-focused site for independent labels

Lucire staff/11.56

In February, we learned that Atterley (formerly Atterley Road) would return after entering administration the month before, to be recast as an online retail platform for independent labels.
   Today (October 6), Atterley has gone live with its new site, already representing dozens of independent labels with what the company claims are the lowest commission rates in the business. It delivers to 26 countries, with the site available in 57 languages and 15 currencies.
   Atterley says it has taken 300 further enquiries from UK boutiques and over 250 more from outside the UK wanting to be represented on the site. Many will be added in 2017.
   The original Atterley had started online in 2011 by Kate Starmer Smith, initially representing hard-to-find premium brands. It later created its own label with Scandinavian-styled clothing. Despite backing from Sir Terry Leahy and Bob Willett, the business was forced into administration at the beginning of the year.
   The new Atterley site is the brainchild of Blackcircles.com founder and CEO Mike Welch, OBE, who brings his tyre retail expertise into fashion. Welch had built up Blackcircles into a successful online enterprise before it was acquired by Michelin last year.
   By acquiring its brand assets, Welch plans to build up Atterley in the UK before expanding offshore, and notes that the fashion sector has been one of the hardest hit in the country when it came to bricks-and-mortar store closures.
   Atterley CMO noted, ‘Boutiques tell us that similar offerings in the market are too expensive and the terms competitors ask them to sign up to are not good for business. We are working closely with our partners to make sure we continue to shape our offer in their best interests. It’s hard enough out there without constraining access to new customers.’
   Welch added, ‘We’re putting the boutiques first by supporting them with the lowest commission rates around, cutting-edge technology and a clear mission to champion their cause, democratize the market-place and focus on delivering a world-class customer experience.’

Filed under: branding, fashion, London, Lucire
September 30, 2016

Hennes & Mauritz opens first store in Auckland, New Zealand, with celebrity launch

Lucire staff/11.17




Chris Park

Hennes & Mauritz held a press launch for its first New Zealand retail store at Sylvia Park, Auckland, on Thursday—and as the New Zealand-headquartered publication with the longest history of covering the Swedish retailer, we were on the scene.
   H&M didn’t take this launch lightly. In anticipation of the official October 1 launch, they rolled out the red carpet, metaphorically and literally, for an eclectic bunch of media, photographers, bloggers, influencers and the usual Auckland celebrity crowd. It was an incredibly well run event.
   Those spotted among the 800-plus attendees included Jaime Ridge, Maia Cotton, Jerome Kaino and Maria Tutaia, and Colin Mathura-Jeffree.
   In keeping with international standards, the H&M store is a two-storey complex, occupying a huge floor space, with separate sections for men’s, women’s and children’s wear. Unfortunately they didn’t bring in an H&M Home, which, with the absence of Ikea, would probably have done incredibly well in New Zealand.
   The concept of the launch event was to have a “luxury H&M experience”, where we were led down the red carpet, given a trademark grey mesh shopping bag, and free reign to buy any of the items at prices specially discounted for the launch. In addition to this, we were treated to bubbles on arrival, followed by bars on each of the floors each making a different cocktail, with canapés floating around the whole night.
   Gracie Taylor, Jupiter Project, Kings and General Lee, and Dan Aux were DJing on the ground floor.
   In anticipation for the crowds on Saturday (when the store is open to the public), H&M flew in staff from Australia and elsewhere to support the New Zealand-based crew and to provide training.
   Mino Kim, one quarter of the well-known New Zealand street style blog Foureyes, is the store manager, so the rest of the Foureyes team were there to provide emotional support and to do a bit of shopping as well.
   Just as there is a space for haute couture, there is equally a space for fast fashion. H&M built its global fashion empire through making basic, affordable clothing which were durable and the store in New Zealand was no exception. It remains to be seen how H&M’s expansion in the New Zealand market will affect other clothing retailers who operate in the same space and price brackets.
   Perhaps in anticipation of the launch, there have been some critical coverage of H&M being implicated in using child labour and outsourcing its production work to countries where workers are underpaid and exploited. However, it is worth noting that H&M has been one of the more proactive clothing companies when it comes to upholding workers’ rights in comparison to many other comparable brands who already have retail operations in New Zealand, including Glassons, Industrie and Forever 21.
   My understanding is that H&M intends to monitor how the flagship store in Sylvia Park goes before considering whether to open additional stores in other centres around New Zealand.
   I anticipate that for those in Auckland at least, H&M will become the go-to place particularly for basics or cheap and cheerful accessories.—Chris Park, Guest Contributor




Chris Park




Courtesy Mango


Chris Park


Courtesy Mango


Chris Park





Courtesy Mango











Chris Park






Geoff Hedley; courtesy Mango


Chris Park

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