Speaking Of Fashion

Weekly Fashion Podcast on Communication and Fashion in Our Everyday Lives. Listen Up!

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Speaking Of Fashion Transcript: Ep. 81

Daily Candy no more 

  • On Thursday afternoon, DailyCandy announced via Twitter that it will shut down permanently April 4. The popular fashion and lifestyle site was founded in 2000 by Dany Levy.

  • The tweet: Good-byes are never easy. After 14 years of bringing you the best, we will close our doors on 4/4. Thanks for the memories. Xoxo

  • The background: DailyCandy began as a newsletter that highlighted the newest and best in the realms of fashion, beauty, food and more, and was purchased by Comcast in 2008 for $125 million. Comcast was then acquired by NBCUniversal, but despite big-name hires and ties to major TV networks such as Bravo and E!, the site didn’t flourish as expected in terms of traffic.

  • The dirt: According to tech news site Re/code, who originally reported the news, NBCUniversal attempted to sell DailyCandy — along with TV-focused entertainment site Television Without Pity, which will also close on Apr. 4 — and was unsuccessful. The closing reportedly affects 64 employees, many of whom may be hired by other NBCU properties. Sad face.

Adidas is Going Places

  • Pharrell collaboration 

    • Following in the footsteps of Raf Simons, Yohji Yamamoto and Rick Owens, Pharrell Williams will launch his new line of products for Adidas Originals later this summer. The Simons, Yamamoto and Owens collaborations continue, meanwhile.

    • This guy’s busy! The collection will be the latest in a string of fashion tie-ups for the 40-year-old producer, singer and fashion designer — who already is working with G-Star, Comme des Garçons on a fragrance line, Moncler on sunglasses and Uniqlo on a shirt collaboration. That is on top of his own collection, Billionaire Boys Club, and in the wake of past collaborations with brands such as Louis Vuitton.

    • This is cool — Williams has his own textile company, The Bionic Yarn, and the fabrics will be used in some of his upcoming products for Adidas. It will also mark the first time the German-based activewear company will partner with a designer who owns his own textile company. The textile initiative, which is with Parley for the Oceans, turns plastic debris from the oceans into yarn and fabric. Insert warm and fuzzy feeling.

  • Digital makeover to Originals store 

    • Adidas has launched a new store blueprint for its Originals fashion brand with a Wi-Fi equipped lounge and mobile charging points

    • The goal? To encourage 16-24 year-olds to browse longer - or to provide solace to bored significant others

    • Adidas plans to roll out the concept to Originals stores in over 30 cities, with London and Shanghai next for the makeover. It also has big ambitions for its new teen fashion brand NEO, which is being extended to Poland and the Czech Republic.

    • With the growing competition in sportswear, it is also revamping its flagship sportswear stores, seeking to create a stadium-like experience and, like the new Originals store, putting a focus on footwear and creating a multi-media experience for shoppers.

    • Stay tuned!

Custom clothing clone wars 

  • There are just so many!

    • JHilburn and Trumaker send “tailors” to your home to measure you for button down shirts.

    • Threadmason and Stantt provides T-shirts with 24 and 50 “custom” sizes

    • Vastrm makes polo shirts and uses online questionnaires to figure out men’s sizes

    • On the East and West coasts,  Arden Reed rolled out two Tailor Trucks with 3D scanners so you can get measured for the “perfect” suit

      • They’re biggest competitor is Indochino, which sends Tailor’s Kits to customers to measure themselves for a custom suit - no 3D scanner or augmented reality? And no time travel?! How quaint…

    • Some aren’t faring so well in this crazy booming niche: Custom Fit Jeans collected more than $47,000 via Kickstarter, but two and a half years later they have yet to ship their line.

    • Don’t worry ladies, we haven’t forgotten you. Women’s custom fit companies largely focus on lingerie. Women’s bra company Third Love measures you for the perfect fit via a phone app, and True&Co has women complete questionnaires that funnel information into an algorithm to help them find the perfect brand and bra size for their body shape.

    • From the article: “There’s no proof yet that custom sizing is a sustainable e-commerce venture that can scale the way a startup needs to. These companies are all young enough that they haven’t proved themselves. Their success depends on whether consumers are truly so vain they’re willing to track down cheaper ways to get perfect fitting clothing.” — Burn.

What about the brands? They’re keeping busy…

  • Burberry teams with WeChat to promote fashion shows directly to the user

    • Burberry has teamed up with WeChat, Weixin in Chinese (we will not pronounce that well), to offer an immersive fashion experience for fans, which began in February with Burberry’s Autumn/Winter 2014 show.

    • WeChat users will have the opportunity to receive exclusive audio from the designers with the inspiration and details of key runway looks, as well as exclusive pictures, audio, and text messages from celebrities in attendance, including Chinese actress and model Angelababy. The Burberry WeChat platform will also allow followers to customize a digital “Made For” plaque with their name in English or Chinese characters that will commemorate a specific element of the show.

    • This marks the first of a series of creative collaborations and platform innovations that would be revealed throughout 2014. Oh Burberry, you smart cookie of a brand, you.

    • This partnership with WeChat will allow Burberry to capitalize on last year’s double-digit growth in Asia, which includes two recently opened flagship stores in China. Meanwhile, WeChat, which is the hottest mobile social app in China right now, has become an important channel of collaboration for western luxury brands.

    • High five.

  • Elie Tahari is tapped for Kohl’s DesigNation (it’ll be the 5th collaboration for DesigNation)

    • The capsule collection said to draw from New York City as an inspiration.

    • It will feature apparel for her and will include dresses, sweaters, knit tops and bottoms in shades of blue, black and ivory. Retail prices for the collection will range from $40 to $175.

    • It will be available exclusively at Kohl’s and Kohls.com beginning fall 2014.

    • Oh and 2014 marks Tahari’s 40th anniversary as a brand. Cheers to that!

  • Spin-off brands on the rise

    • The ones we know:  Free People sprung from the racks of Urban Outfitters. (In fact, Urban was originally named Free People when it opened in Philadelphia in 1970. It reemerged as an Urban in-house brand in 1984, and eventually got its own stores in the early aughts. Fun fact!)

    • Banana Republic joined Gap in 1983. Eleven years later, Gap opened affordable chain Old Navy under the purview of Mickey Drexler. (Another interesting tidbit: Old Navy started out as “Gap Warehouse” in 1993.)

    • J.Crew has Madewell

    • Kate Spade has Kate Spade Saturday

    • Ann Taylor has Loft — which it launched in 1996 — and now Lou & Grey, which was recently announced.

      • Lou & Grey is a loungewear line that came to life within LOFT shop-in-shops, will open four standalone stores this year. (It’ll also have a designated space in all 537 Loft locations — for now.)

    • Much like a contemporary collection does for a ready-to-wear designer, these spin-off brands are often targeted toward a younger demographic. The goal — as of the last half-decade, at least — seems to be to appeal to your core customer in a new way, but also to attract shoppers who have traditionally spent their money at teen retailers or fast-fashion houses.

    • Guess what - it’s working!

      • Quarterly sales at LOFT often exceed Ann Taylor by $100 million. Gap has benefited from having brands at varied price points: one will pick up the slack for another during different retail cycles. There was so much buzz around Kate Spade Saturday that the company quickly nixed its plans to launch in Japan only, where it now has six stores. A U.S. e-commerce launch was shortly followed by pop-up events. Now, there are permanent Kate Spade Saturday stores in New York, Los Angeles and Houston, with more on the way. And while Madewell, a heritage brand relaunched by J.Crew in 2006, is obviously not the juggernaut that its sister brand J.Crew has become, it certainly has a following amongst “influencers”: ie, editors, bloggers and fashion-forward customers.

  • But there is still some bad news. J. Crew profits fall…excuse us we need to resuscitate Tenisha

    • J. Crew Group Inc. reported a 42% drop in 4th quarter profit amid a broader decline in shopping mall traffic

    • Net income was reported as $5.92 million - it was $10.2 million a year earlier

    • Silver lining: Revenue grew almost 7%

    • As we reported, they are considering an initial public offering for later this year

      • The chain could fetch a valuation of as much as $5 billion in a potential public offering, “one person familiar with the situation said.”

    • J. Crew has $1.6 billion in total debt. Moody’s Investors Service rates J. Crew at B2, five levels below investment grade due to its high debt burden, Scott Tuhy, a senior credit officer at the credit rating company, said in an interview. When the retailer was still public, Moody’s rated it as high as Ba1, one level below investment grade, in April 2010.

    • Let’s compare: Burlington Stores Inc., which is backed by Bain Capital LLC, is up 83 percent since its October debut. Vince Holding Corp., the apparel company backed by Sun Capital Partners Inc., has gained almost 23 percent since its November debut.

    • And J. Crew will open two additional stores in London in 2014 and its first two Asia locations in Hong Kong in May. So they’re doing alright.

  • DVF reality show

    • Diane von Furstenberg, the “founder” of the wrap dress and proponent of Google Glass, will apparently be featured in a reality TV series on E!

    • In a press release, the network has the as-yet untitled program listed under their “Unscripted/Topical projects in development.”

    • According to the release, the docu-series “explores the relationships between an ultra-successful boss who controls the fashion world and her eight eager-to-please associates in training” — i.e., von Furstenberg and the contestants. The show will culminate at New York Fashion Week where a winner will be chosen. Original, yes? (Note, sarcasm)

    • Von Furstenberg will also serve as one of the show’s executive producers. No official debut date has been announced.

  • Google Glass is trying to sit pretty…repeat: Trying…

    • As Google Glass is hitting the market soon, it’s trying to make sure its eyewear is accessible

      • In January, a new line of frame shapes brought the technology that much closer to actually being wearable

      • Now, Google is teaming up with eyewear giant Luxottica

    • Luxottica brings the design capabilities of portfolio companies like Oliver Peoples, Persol, Oakley and Ray-Ban to the table. Google plans to work with Ray-Ban and Oakley right off the bat

    • According to Google, Luxottica will “manufacture [the] frames and lead distribution” in optical stores, kiosks and other sales outlets.

    • This partnership also lays to rest those rumors that Warby Parker would be creating frames for Glass

Who’s also on the rise? Nicolas Ghesquiere, that’s who! 

  • How so? After leaving Balenciaga, Nicolas will succeed Marc Jacobs as Louis Vuitton’s creative director

  • In his first interview since the announcement, the 42-year-old designer tells Ingrid Sischy about the challenge ahead, while devotees from Cindy Sherman to Catherine Deneuve explain their excitement. And um, can we say gorgeous to that photo by Annie Leibovitz?!

  • From the article: With so many of today’s most original fashion talents out of the picture—Helmut Lang’s checking out to focus on his art; Alexander McQueen’s suicide; John Galliano’s self-immolation; Martin Margiela’s Houdini act; Ann Demeulemeester’s saying adieu; Jil Sander’s quitting for the third time—the relief with which the fashion community responded to the news that Ghesquière would be back was palpable.

  • Background: Ghesquière’s odyssey in fashion started when he was 14. Born in 1971, he grew up in the Loire Valley wine country, in Loudun. He interned for a summer at Agnès B.’s company. Then he was hired by Corinne Cobson to work on weekends and holidays. Then…pause for reaction…he was hired by Jean Paul Gaultier. After a couple of years with Gaultier, the young designer struck out on his own as a freelancer, to hone his skills as an interpreter of various brands, including Thierry Mugler. At 25 he was crowned creative director at Balenciaga, and the rest is history.

  • From the article: When he nails it: Hello, fashion’s Matisse. And once your eyes have adjusted to the newness of Ghesquière’s clothes, you find they become more beautiful over time, making a lot of the rest of what’s out there seem tired.

  • Oh, and Ghesquière is the only designer with whom the actress Jennifer Connelly has developed a personal relationship over the years. Well done, good sir.

Who’s not on the rise…apparently not Gwyneth 

  • Did you read her “Unconscious Coupling” post on Goop?

    • If you didn’t (and you’d be the only one), Gwyneth Paltrow announced her divorce via blog post…is that better than via a tweet?

  • We’re not recapping it - just reacting to it.

    • Tenisha’s suggested headline: Conscious Uncoupling…AKA #GiveMeAFuckingBreak

  • Okay just one recap. It’s kind of hilarious that the doctoral explanation begins with the phrase, “During the upper Paleolithic period of human history”

Sick of that topic? We can always talk about Russia!

  • So this Russian craziness isn’t just affecting the government.

  • Well it is, but that also affects the pocketbooks of the people. As of now, U.S. sanctions on Russia are mostly confined to members of President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and don’t stand in the way of iPads, Air Jordan high-tops, or the delicious bourbon pouring out of Kentucky distilleries. But it’s getting much harder for Russians to pay for them. Visa (V) and MasterCard (MA) stopped processing some Russian transactions in order to comply with new U.S. sanctions. And the ruble is getting crushed as investors worry about where the diplomatic standoff over Ukraine may lead.

  • Did you know how much retailers really loved Russia? Like, a lot.

    • Over the past year, companies that belong to the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index crowed about Russia at least 350 times during conference calls to discuss financial results, according to a Bloomberg analysis of transcripts.

    • At BorderFree (BRDR), a company that handles international e-commerce for such U.S. companies as J. Crew, Macy’s (M), and Williams-Sonoma (WSM), Russia is a top-five market, behind Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

  • Now Russia, behave so people can afford their Nike sportswear

Now let’s talk about something fun! 

  • Barbour/Barbour International just ran a contest for best comic film - this is one of them

  • Here’s the official site - how people entered:

    • The Barbour International Tour Instagram competition ran from 12pm on Friday 21st February 2014 and closed Thursday 13th March 2014 at midnight.

    • To enter you needed to submit a video or still photograph (via Instagram) which captured your most inspiring place. Your entry must include the hashtag #inspiringplaces.

  • The prizes:

    • There are six prize categories: 1. Best Cinematography, 2. Best Stop Motion, 3. Best Comic Film, 4. Best Still, 5. Most Inventive use of Instagram and 6. National Film (UK, US & Canada, Europe and Rest of the World).

    • You will not select which category your film is entered into. The judging panel will decide into which category or categories will fall into.

    • There will be one winner for each prize category from 1-5. For 6. National Film, there will be one winner per region and four winners in total (i.e. 1. UK, 2. US & Canada, 3. Europe (excluding UK) and Rest of the World).

    • Each winner will receive a Barbour International Atlantis Map Canvas Explorer Bag and will have the choice to fill it with one jacket, one piece of knitwear, one shirt or t-shirt and one accessory (hat, scarf or socks) up to the value of £335 from the Spring Summer 2014 Barbour International collection, excluding items from the Barbour International Steve McQueen collection.

    • One of these winners will be named our ‘People’s Choice’and will receive an additional prize of a £100 or $100 or €100 gift card for their chosen mobile app store of either Apple iTunes Store, Google Play for Android or Windows Phone Store.

  • We kind of love this.

What are the magazines doing?

  • Teen Vogue surveyed its readership to learn how millennials use social

    • Teen Vogue’s survey “Seeing Social Through the Millennial Mindset” examines the social media proclivities of 1,074 members of the magazine’s readership, a U.S. sample aged 13 to 29

    • For Teen Vogue readers, different apps perform different functions. For example, Instagram builds awareness, Pinterest drives word of mouth, and both apps inspire transactions.

    • The shopping process per the survey: Millennials use YouTube videos for how-to tutorials. Before they buy, they comparison shop, looking for additional product images on Pinterest. They then read reviews and recommendations on YouTube and, finally, check out sales and deals on Facebook. About one in four respondents, or 26 percent, have made a purchase directly from a social network and 47 percent would like the ability to buy directly off a social feed. Instagram is the number-one app, according to the survey.

    • Interesting results but it’s a really small pool - still good data but keep that in mind.

  • Hearst is going Dutch!

    • Premiering with a September issue, followed by two additional issues in 2014, Harper’s BAZAAR (Dutch edition) will publish 10 issues in 2015.

    • Tenisha has it on preorder.

  • The Cut hired a fashion news editor

    • According to editorial director Stella Bugbee, the site has tapped Véronique Hyland for the new position of fashion news editor.

    • The move is part of a broader push for New York magazine and its affiliate site The Cut to up its fashion and luxury coverage.

    • Hyland comes to The Cut from Elle magazine, where she served as fashion news editor since 2012. She has also held positions at Harper’s Bazaar and WWD.

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Speaking Of Fashion Ep. 80 Transcipt

L’Wren Scott - the sadness and the stories

  • Did you read the lovely New York Times tribute by former chief fashion critic Cathy Horyn?

  • Horyn reports that she had been in contact with Scott about business woes — “cash flow, finding the right managers, getting her goods out of Italian factories on schedule” — over the past few years. Horyn says that she repeatedly encouraged Scott to take a step back, to focus on herself and her own health, to give herself a break — advice which Scott repeatedly refused.

  • Since her death, Horyn learned that Scott planned on closing her business, with an announcement to come on Wednesday (today) — just two days after she took her own life.

  • Horyn doesn’t connect the two, but it’s hard not to

  • So sad, so tragic, she will be missed

Diversity in fashion, now at the CFDA!

  • Bethann Hardison to be awarded the CFDA Award in June - she is a former model and advocate; she is the founder of Balance Diversity

  • When asked about 2014 fashion:

    • “I don’t look at the numbers, I look at what I see on the runway. If I see two girls in the show that weren’t there before, that’s an improvement. If I see five girls booked by a designer who hadn’t [hired any black models] before, that’s an improvement. She says she doesn’t look at the number of black models in relation to the number of white models. “I don’t look at it like that, but I’ve seen improvement.” Hardison believes things are looking up in the editorial world, too, saying, “I’m very proud of Anna Wintour – her January, February and March issues. It just makes you feel good, the way it looks.”

  • Naomi Campbell has another take:

    • Campbell, however, sounded a little more skeptical when discussing the progress seen this Fashion Month. “We’re definitely making progress in ad campaigns,” Campbell said. “There are five or six big-name designers who cast girls of color in their ads this season. But I don’t want it to be a trend, it shouldn’t be a quota or an obligation. Also, don’t put [all of the black models] in a line during the show, like, ‘here they are!’ — I saw it on Style.com, I didn’t like that.”

  • Touchy subject. Discuss.

Kissing booth! Kissing booth!

  • Melissa Coker, 35, the founder and creative director of the clothing company Wren, commissioned a video to showcase her clothing line’s fall collection for Style.com’s Video Fashion Week.

    • Style.com had created the video series for brands that might lack the financial wherewithal to put on a runway show during Fashion Week.

  • What was the video? Of strangers kissing. Some of them were wearing Wren clothing. (Duh, it’s an ad)

  • What happened? It went viral.

    • A YouTube link had about 42 million views. A Vimeo link had been watched an additional 1.5 million times. (By comparison, President Obama’s appearance on the popular online comedy show, “Between Two Ferns,” posted Tuesday morning, had about one-third the traffic.) Ouch, Obama.

  • This doesn’t happen often.

    • “She gets better attention here than an actual fashion show during Fashion Week,” said André Leon Talley, the artistic director at Zappos Couture, who used to be Ms. Coker’s boss at Vogue. “You can’t reach 40 million viewers in an 11- to 15-minute fashion runway presentation.”

  • The label, which is based in Los Angeles, has four employees, including Ms. Coker. The budget for the video was about $1,300, with the money used for studio space, a video editor’s babysitting bill, lunch and “chocolate and some mints,” Ms. Pilieva said. The kissing strangers are friends of Ms. Coker and Ms. Pilieva’s. Many are musicians or models. All of them worked free.

  • It was a success - and budget-friendly.

What’s not quite a success yet? Shoppable TV shows. Bummer.

  • Tumblr was one of the early resources for TV outfit credits

  • Now there’s a site for that….

  • WornonTV is a site that credits the outfits on popular TV shows. Founder Linda Wilks launched the site in 2012 and it’s since grown rapidly, allowing her to quit her full-time job. In the past two months alone, her traffic has more than doubled: February saw 500,000 unique visitors and 4,000,000 pageviews. She says her revenue comes from affiliate links and advertising. Gotta love it when you can actually make money from advertising.

  • Can we get a House of Cards section?

Karl Lagerfed propones fitting room selfies

  • The fitting rooms in the London Chanel flagship are kitted out with iPads

  • The devices are loaded with Karl-inspired photo filters meant to then be shared via the shoppers’ various social media accounts and email

  • So does Chanel keep your social log-ins?

J. Crew buyout happening…PSYCH!

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that Japan’s Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, has pulled out of negotiations to buy the American retailer from current owners TPG and Leonard Green

  • This follows word that Fast Retailing felt J.Crew’s $5 billion asking price was too high. J.Crew is now open to pursue the IPO that had been on the table before Fast Retailing came into the picture, or to find another suitor, like South Korea’s E-Land (though E-Land has denied it’s interested).

  • J.Crew was last acquired by TPG and Leonard Green in 2011 for $2.8 billion.

Holy professional moves in the fashion industry, Batman!

  • Vanessa Friedman Joins The New York Times

  • Peter Philips Appointed Creative & Image Director of Christian Dior Makeup

  • André Leon Talley Exits Numéro Russia

  • Bruce Pask Named Men’s Fashion Director at Bergdorf Goodman

  • Alessandra Carra Departs Emilio Pucci

  • Brendan Hoffman to Exit Bon-Ton

  • They’re all updating their LinkedIn profiles

Jimmy Choo considering IPO

  • Jimmy Choo is considering a $1.7 Billion IPO

  • Luxury conglomerate Labelux, which bought Jimmy Choo for an estimated $850 million in 2011, is considering a sale or public listing of a minority stake in the company, according to a source familiar with the company’s plans

  • The financing would be used to turbocharge the company’s growth into new territories including Asia, as well as new product categories, the source said.

  • Move over Michael Kors…Jimmy just kicked your handbag

Power…and money…as in who wore the most expensive dress at the Oscars?

  • Drumroll….Cate Blanchett!

    • Her Armani Privé gown was worth $100,000, while her Chopard jewellery - which included earrings with 62 opals, a diamond bracelet and ring - came to approximately $18 million.

    • Pennies, darling.

  • Based on figures from Australian Vogue, Charlize Theron’s outfit was the second most expensive, her Dior dress and Harry Winston jewellery came to $15.89 million

  • Sandra Bullock came third, with an estimated $8.24 million spent on her Alexander McQueen dress and Lorraine Schwartz jewellery

  • Margot Robbie’s outfit cost $8 million

  • Coming up last, Jennifer Garner’s Oscar de la Renta gown and jewellery was valued at $5 million

    • You cheapskate

Marie Claire goes pop-up!

  • The editors of Marie Claire have launched its first pop-up magazine, which hits the streets of New York last week. Called Branché, which loosely translates to “plugged in” in French

  • The magazine was distributed by Hearst employees on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday of next week. Staffers will disseminate 30,000 total copies in well-trafficked areas of New York such as Times Square, as well as in trendy neighborhoods such as SoHo and Williamsburg in Brooklyn.

  • Excluding front and back covers, the 40-page magazine is comprised of 20 ad pages and 20 edit pages, and it’s similar to BlackBook magazine, insofar as it’s an insider’s guide to New York style, culture and food and nighttime hot spots.

  • Branché is paid for by the advertisers, meaning it didn’t cost Marie Claire or parent company Hearst a dime to produce. Advertisers in the launch issue include H&M, Guess, Macy’s, Giuseppe Zanotti, Seiko and Amazon Fashion.

    • What about the flippin’ content?!

  • Readers can weigh in via an online survey at marieclaire.com/branche, or they can interact with Marie Claire staff, all of whom will be publicizing the magazine via Twitter, Facebookand Instagram.

And…Kim & Kanye…really?

  • Kim Kardashion and Kanye share a wedding photo on the April issue with a 27-character hashtag

  • Go ‘Shape Issue’

Let’s talk real fashion…as in from the French

  • While haute couture, as depicted in these charming fashion plates, flourished in Paris until the outbreak of war in 1914, in America, women’s rising ability to create their own identity took on a wholly different shape. Drawn to cities by economic opportunity, America’s “New Woman” worked, lived and shopped with increasing independence. The advent of department stores—“palaces of abundance”—allowed them to select clothes that expressed their newly-achieved independence. Increased economic empowerment sped the fight for woman’s suffrage, culminating with the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920 that secured women’s right to vote.

  • Culled from the library collections of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, these plates were originally published between 1912 and 1914 in the French Journal des Dames et des Modes and have recently been made available online. The journal was a compendium of poems, fashion reports and reviews of both theater and literature. The vivid stencil prints of dramatic couture outfits of the era, many drawn by the artist and foremost fashion illustrator of the time George Barbier (1882-1932), depict the opulent fabrics, bold patterns and rich embroidery in crepes, and silks, and exotic plumage and provide a vivid record of high fashion in the Paris prior to the outbreak of World War I. A collection of these prints are on view through the end of March at Dublin’s Chester Beatty Library.

  • Can we go? Can we go?

Want proof the French are more fashionable? Watch the movie…

  • The French film “Yves Saint Laurent” — which promises to give audiences an in-depth look at the YSL’s life, career and relationship with his business partner Pierre Bergé — hits theaters in Europe on Friday, and while it doesn’t arrive Stateside until June 25, that doesn’t mean we aren’t getting really excited about it.

  • Many of the costumes in the film are original pieces designed by Saint Laurent, so the flick promises to be a genuine walk through some great moments in fashion history.

  • Get the popcorn!!!!

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Speaking Of Fashion Ep. 79 Transcript

What’s Up with WhatsApp?

  • Facebook dropped $19B on the chat app. Why? No, not to be the next BBM, but to reach Europe and emerging markets
  • How big are they? Think an adolescent eating too much kale: 450 million monthly users and a million more signing up each day. Facebook’s messaging app is pretty much the bee’s knees in US and Canada, but other than that, not so much
  • Unlike PC-based social networking, there is no outstanding market leader in mobile messaging. Still, WhatsApp absolutely dominates in markets outside of the U.S. like Europe and India.
  • Data: WhatsApp was much more popular than Facebook in several large developing markets, according to data from a small survey conducted by Jana Mobile and published by The Information. In India, Brazil, and Mexico, respondees were 12X to 64X more likely to say WhatsApp is their most used messaging app, compared to Facebook. Those are big countries with tons of users that Facebook needs.
  • TechCrunch heard Facebook has been interested in buying WhatsApp for two to three years. They reported in 2012 that Facebook was in talks to acquire WhatsApp. But over the past year, it became clear that Facebook couldn’t afford not to pay whatever it would take to get WhatsApp on its team. And that dollar sign had 1-9- and a big B after it
  • The clincher: This isn’t about increasing Facebook’s total revenue. It was about surviving the global shift to mobile.

Brazil fashion market heats up

  • The stores:
    • Topshop: 4 with plans to open 2-3 new have sights on the market
    • Forever21: opening its first store with six others to follow in 2014
    • Gap: first store opened in Sept 2013; promises 3 more stores the first quarter of 2014 (better hurry there Gap - you have one month!)
    • H&M: rumored to be eyeing Brazil for retail locations in 2014
    • Zara: Opened 14 years ago in Brazil and now has 41 operating stores (behind their plan of 50 stores in 3 years)
  • The competition: These new entrants face stiff competition from a host of entrenched players, including C&A, the first international apparel chain to arrive in Brazil. The Dutch retailer, founded in 1841, arrived in the country back in 1976 — long before the most recent wave of globalization — and has since become the largest fashion retailer in the country, with over 260 stores and colorful, energetic brand communications. Its product offering is also highly tailored to the local market.
  • Other competitors: The market is also populated with indigenous low-cost apparel giants like Lojas Riachuelo (43 stores), Lojas Renner and Lojas Marisa.
  • Even retail is suffering from the Polar Vortex: In Brazil, Gap sells collections that are six months behind those it sells in the US due to the seasons being reversed
    • But, interestingly, Topshop has taken a different approach, selling the same collection, at the same time, in Brazil, as it does in Europe and the US. 
  • Whether international fast-fashion companies ultimately succeed in taking significant market share from Brazil’s entrenched apparel players remains to be seen. But, for the moment, the market seems to have room for both. 
  • Let the games begin!

Gap pays up!

  • Gap increased worker pay amidst the debate about minimum wage
    • They will raise its hourly pay for U.S. employees to $9 in 2014 and $10 the following year; the increased pay will benefit about 65,000 store employees; At Gap, the biggest apparel-focused retailer in the U.S., the wage change will affect all six of its chains, including Piperlime, Athleta and Intermix.
  • Why is this news? In making the move, Gap adds fodder to a national debate on whether the federal government needs to step in and raise the minimum wage. President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats want to increase the rate to $10.10 an hour from $7.25, saying it will bolster the economy and reduce income equality. Most Republican lawmakers oppose the idea.
  • Gap says it isn’t a political move. Whatever the reason, we say well done.

Christopher Bailey’s Global Outlook for Burberry

  • Bailey adds a true global flair to the classic Burberry
  • First the collection: Taking cue from the menswear collection in January titled ‘A Painter’s Journey’, Burberry featured its womenswear in a similar spirit. Broad brush strokes adorned the classic Burberry trench coats done in fluttery chiffon. Watered down hues were accompanied by accents of rich aubergine and forest greens while cosy Scottish cashmere blankets with reinvented Burberry checks added a warm and fuzzy effect.
  • Now, the flair: The model casting has never felt more international, especially with the inclusion of Neelam Johal — first model of Indian descent to lend her beauty to a Burberry campaign — and many others like Xiao Wen Ju and Sung Hee Kim. Despite the eclectic casting, it was an A-grade model posse throughout, with ‘in-the-moment’ girls like Suki Waterhouse, Malaika Firth and of course, Cara Delevingne. The choice of fabrics also echoed this global slant. The lightweight of some of the ensembles suggested that winter could be absolutely anywhere in the world. Sheer baby doll gowns and see-through lace, that may be a few layers too thin for the British weather, made a heavy appearance.

Michael Kors won the NYFW Instagram game

  • According to WWD, Kors and his label gained the highest amount of Instagram followers out of the brands showing during the seven-day period of New York Fashion Week.
  • Using the hashtag #AllAccessKors, the brand gave fans — of which the Kors account gains on average 50,000 per week — a glimpse at show production, models backstage, celebrities seated in the front row and, of course, an up close and personal look at the brand new fall 2014 collection. 
  • Kors has proven its worth on Instagram in the past: It was the very first brand to introduce native advertising over the social media platform back in November — a move that has only helped to gain followers. According to Nitrogram, an Instagram analytics platform that measures engagement, Kors is one of the top 10 most popular apparel brands on Instagram, with 1.8 million followers. I’d retweet that.
  • Other designer Instagram wins:  Marc Jacobs with his behind the scenes program, Ralph Lauren (which gained a whopping 10,460 followers in the day following its show), Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, who saw an impressive 9 percent increase in his Instagram fan base after his show. 

J. Crew is making money…shocker

  • J. Crew is up 9% per the 2013 fiscal year-end rankings at Feb.1, growing it to $2.4 billion…lots of “b” words in this podcast
  • Growth was a little slower during the holiday period, up 7 percent to $686 million in the fourth quarter, but still above the 3.5 percent national average.
  • The company, which went private in a leveraged buyout four years ago, may stage an IPO as soon as this year, according to various reports.

Calvin Klein combines nostalgia with technology in its new campaign

  • Called “My Calvins,” a riff on the label‘s iconic 1981 commercials starring Brooke Shields, the multitiered digital rollout is meant to promote the classic Calvin Klein logo waistband. 
  • The company has tapped a few fashion-y social media influencers to kick things off, including Miranda Kerr and bloggers like Leandra Medine (of The Man Repeller) and Chiara Ferragni (of The Blonde Salad). Others include Fergie, Lara Stone, Cody Simpson, Poppy Delevingne and Hanneli Mustaparta 
  • Each influencer has been sent product and asked to Instagram a photo of his or herself, in which the waistband is visible with the hashtag #mycalvins. 
    • NOTE: It’s not unlike an initiative Madewell launched last week, for which it sent fashion editors pairs of jeans to Instagram with the hashtag #madewelldenim.
  • With help from Olapic (a platform that allows retailers to host a curated feed of Instagram images on its websites), Calvin Klein is aggregating all the photos in a new section on its site, which is currently full of shirtless dudes. And thanks to Olapic’s e-commerce technology, each pic filtered into the hub is instantly made shoppable

Free People taps real people

  • Free People is launching a special new section on its site this Saturday called “FP Me,” where you can browse a curated a selection of the most popular FP Me images, which will replace typical model shots (see an example above) for two weeks.
    • One year ago, Free People launched FPMe, an online community where customers can upload shoppable photos of themselves in their Free People outfits. Additionally, online items are often accompanied by photos of customers wearing them.
  • Data from the past year has shown a 42 percent improvement in the same session conversion rate on FreePeople.com when FP Me Pics are associated with product on the page - again maybe putting more clout toward Instagram leading to more purchases?
  • Modcloth has a similarly thriving community and BaubleBar, New Balance and Gap have all dabbled in it. And most recently, Calvin Klein…ahem, read previous notes

House of Cards Season 2 missing its costume designer

  • Who was the costume designer for Season 1? Tom Broecker.
    • He also worked on 30 Rock and SNL
  • Is he the costume designer for Season 2? Um, no. And it shows, especially with Claire Underwood.
  • One commenter stated:
    • As an avid House of Cards fan, and a fashion enthusiast, I, too, noticed something different about Claire’s wardrobe. But I am not sure it’s a bad thing, in the way your post suggests. Claire’s character, as you know, has evolved and changed in the new season. She is not the wholly stoic politician’s wife she once was. She has come into her own. She is now as ruthless as her husband, where before she was more of a decorative pedestal support Frank’s own shrewd sensibility. In this way, I think it’s unsurprising that her clothing would complicate the subtle glamour for which she was quite known last season. By complicate I mean her aesthetic has become more subtle and perhaps less glamourous. For example, on at least one occasion we see Claire refusing the assistance of a makeup artist before she appears on television, suggesting that glamour is no longer needed as prosthesis for her character’s aesthetic appeal—because aesthetics itself has taken a backseat in relation to Claire’s evolved political ambition. What you describe as “uninspired” I regard as “motivated”. But we still see her standing before mirrors examining potential dresses, and she wears some nice pieces too. In particular that black Beckham-looking dress with the wide asymmetrical neck was stunning, as were those Louboutin riding boots we see her wearing after she returns home from visiting the rape victim. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Jackie’s style, the new whip. I was quite taken by her look. Whoever put it together, got something right. As Remy would say, via Frank, “To improve is to change. To perfect is to change often.”
  • Who’s designing now?  Gersha Phillips, is credited on IMDB with three episodes and Johanna Argan, is credited with one. 
  • A lot of people admittedly didn’t care and said the costumes in no way affected the show negatively. Or perhaps we won’t be watching for the both the clothes and the script anymore

Hearst is gambling its future on an Editor turned CEO

  • Who: Steve Swartz, a former Wall Street Journal Page One editor, and founding editor of SmartMoney (a joint venture of Dow Jones and Hearst Magazines, it mixed humor with provocative stories, many of which regularly incensed advertisers)
  • Last year, Swartz became only the seventh CEO in Hearst’s 126-year history. And last year was good - Hearst say $10 billion in profit (there’s that ‘b’ again!) -  a 13-fold increase over 1978 and 40 percent gain since 2009
  • A buttoned-up, family-controlled business, Hearst is also a private company that operates debt-free. With the newspaper base struggling, former CEO Frank Bennack, Jr. took large stakes in ESPN and A+E Networks, as well as magazines and b-to-b media. Ninety percent of the company’s revenue now comes from businesses that weren’t part of Hearst when Bennack assumed control, and Entertainment & Syndication and Business Media, formerly the bottom two profit drivers, are now the top two.
  • History: When Rich Malloch, a former Morgan Stanley banker, took command in 1991, the unit was a small collection of books and ad-supported magazines. Malloch shifted its reliance from advertising to subscription revenue and grew profits tenfold by acquiring new businesses like Zynx Health, which provides doctors and nurses with info on medications and procedures. Today, HBM is a mostly digital, subscription-supported business anchored by healthcare, financial and automotive services. It’s also Hearst’s second-biggest profit contributor.
  • Another part of the company is Hearst Ventures, which was an early investor in XM Radio, Netscape and Pandora, and more recently took stakes in Roku, BuzzFeed and Science Inc., a collection of e-commerce plays like Dollar Shave Club. 
    • The goal is to gain expertise that can inform Hearst’s existing businesses. Smart Hearst. Very smart.
  • By far the most profitable division is Entertainment & Syndication. Hearst’s ESPN stake is estimated to be worth more than $3 billion. But the brand faces a weakening pay-subscription market, and with digital-video consumption upending the TV ecosystem, Hearst also is anxious to evolve its TV business. There, the company is looking to new productions like The Voice and Shark Tank through its partnership with Mark Burnett, and division co-president Neeraj Khemlani is on the hunt for paid digital video channels to acquire this year.
  • With Hearst’s purchase of Hachette Filipacchi Media in 2011, the division now gets half its revenue from overseas. The deal also helped Hearst grow its share of fashion advertising via Elle, and by extension, Hearst’s smaller fashion titles Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar. “Elle is globally stronger than Vogue,” Hearst Magazines president David Carey boasts.
  • In Bennack’s later years, a key focus was getting his division heads to look for ways to work together. He hired Khemlani as the company’s first chief creative officer to work across its divisions. Swartz followed Bennack’s lead, creating a digital studio to feed the various groups. Today, executives go to lengths to illustrate how they’re working across divisions. 
    • One effort, led by Hearst CTO Phil Wiser, shows promise; he’s packaging Hearst’s online newspaper, magazine and broadcast audiences for advertisers.
    • Others are more theory
  • Brilliant. Hope to see this continue and to pay off.

Bloomberg makes a lifestyle push

  • Although the news organization shuttered its arts and culture desk called Muse in November, Bloomberg is gunning for a larger luxury and lifestyle play — both online and in print. And it’s turning to Bloomberg Pursuits, its one-year-old luxury magazine, as an integral piece of the puzzle.
  • According to Pursuits editor Ted Moncreiff, the title is trying to extend its reach into the women’s fashion market, despite the fact that 60 percent of the magazine’s readers are men.
  • The spring issue, which will be released by March 15, features a stronger fashion angle, albeit a “Bloomberg-ized” one that centers on workwear.
    • Features a fashion spread shot in the United Nations, following the final stages of the building’s $2.1 billion renovation
      • Although it isn’t the first recent fashion shoot at the UN — Vogue shot National Security Advisor Susan Rice in its September issue — Moncreiff noted that what’s interesting is that Pursuits was able to gain access to key locations, such as the Security Council Chamber, post-facelift. “Nothing was off-limits,” said the editor, who admitted that convincing the UN to allow Pursuits in to shoot took four “long” months of negotiation. 
      • Shot by Ralph Mecke on Jan. 9 and 10, the spread depicts scenes from inside the halls of the UN, as well as in front of UN Plaza, and it accompanies a feature on the renovation penned by Justin Davidson. 
  • Other stories in the issue, which has logged 40 advertising pages, or a 26 percent increase over last spring, include a profile on 77-year-old Brazilian billionaire Abilio Diniz’s obsession with looking and feeling younger, a spread on watch complications and a feature on street art in Paris. 
  • According to Michael Dukmejian, publisher of Bloomberg Markets Media, which includes Pursuits, the goal for the magazine is to produce stories that appeal to both a male and female audience, and in turn, luxury advertisers selling both men’s and women’s fashions. The spring issue has picked up Bottega Veneta and Bovet Watches as new advertisers. Others include travel-centric advertisers such as Kiawah Island, Sentient Jet and the office of tourism in Monaco. 
  • Subscribers of the Bloomberg terminal get Pursuits for free. Dukmejian estimated the title’s circulation to be 375,000. That figure comes from the fact that there are 340,000 installed terminals and another 30,000 individuals who subscribe to Markets and Pursuits. The last 5,000 come from newsstand sales, mainly in airports. 
  • Other goals this year: fine-tuning its iPad app, and perhaps the most important, is rolling out a rigorous digital launch
    • Digital includes Web and video, and it will encompass Pursuits content, in addition to content from Bloomberg reporters

GQ eyeing some ventures in retail

  • According to Chris Mitchell, the title’s vice president and publisher, the glossy is in the process of building partnerships with different retailers in order to “learn” how to create “viable revenue streams” outside of the magazine. 
  • For instance, GQ and Northern Grade will open a pop-up marketplace in the powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood on March 22 and 23. 
  • Indeed, over the last two years, the magazine has entered into e-commerce partnerships with Park & Bond, Nordstrom and its current partner, Mr Porter. It also launched a barbershop in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center last month. 
  • Although Mitchell didn’t provide more details on what’s in the cards, he hinted that perhaps an e-commerce or brick-and-mortar grab could be in the imminent future.  Will it be next to Monocle?

Ending with a lovely face

  • Vivienne Westwood by Alasdair McLellan graces The Gentlewoman’s ninth issue cover, and you should pick it up

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