Nina Garcia is fairly plush at the moment. The Marie Claire editor recently signed on as JCPenney's style voice, is a judge on Project Runway and sits on the advisory board on Moda Operandi. It comes as no surprise, then, that she seems to have lost touch with the spending power of the average American.
This is the bag that you can spend a few weeks’ salary on and not feel guilty. It is going to last you a lifetime. http://modaoperandi.com/heritage-auctions-special-collections/2012/accessories-708/items/
The link takes you Moda Operandi's Hermes birkin auction, which featured ags ranging from $14,500 to $74,500 so what part of the average person's salary could afford those whopping prices is a head sratcher. Her role with the online retailer naturally involves promoting their activity but expecting people to be earning between $4,884 and $24,833 a week just doesn't make sense and her Twitter followers didn't think so either. One tweeted ''@ninagarcia you might want to double check your math on this one.' The moral from this story? Maybe a Twitter blast on expensive luxury pieces isn't the way to go.
A few weeks ago everyone was up in arms after Tyler Shields released that attention-seeking image of a $100,000 Birkin that he sent on fire. While it's not hard to under stand what people were outraged, especially in these trying times, for years there has always been a talk that brands have done this to stay in control of their brand image.
In a recent interview with Telegraph Fashion, Mulberry's Emma Hill named Hermès as an offender:
“No one can touch them in terms of quality. A friend who was working at Hermès said that if there was even the most minor imperfection on a bag they would take it out the back and burn it – no compromise.”
While it's important to point out that that Hill's information is hearsay, it's not too far-fetched. Anyone that read Imogen Edwards Jones' 'Fashion Babylon' will know that such acts done by brands is a lot more common that you would think. The logic behind it is said to be that it prevents their cast-offs being sold off in a way that is out of their control and which therefore cheapens the brand.
Prada CEO Patrizio Bertelli recently told Bloomberg that 'fake goods aren't totally bad. At least it created jobs at some counterfeit factories.' Sadly for Hermès, the people responsible for the production of copies have been their own employees.
Last Thursday French police finally managed to crack an international crime ring that had been selling copies of the luxury French brand's signature designs. In the bust, police found around £14.5 million worth of expensive skins set to be used by to create copies one part of the ring. 'This operation concludes a one-year investigation following an Hermès complaint based on clues and abnormal behavior identified through the house's internal monitoring systems," the brand said in a statement.
Today Louis Vuitton received the title of the world's most valuable luxury brand for the seventh year in a row. According to Milaward Brown Optimor's 2012 Brand Z study published today, the French fashion house is worth $25.9 billion and experienced a 7 per cent increase in 2011. Hermès came second, which is interesting, as it comes amidst reports this week that LVMH intend to use the brand as a business model for Vuitton.
Despite the brand's strong position in the market, it still faces the dilemma of expanding and increasing its profitability without becoming too mainstream. After all, over the last few years we've gone from the problem of the WAGs sporting the monchrome bags to the likes of the TOWIE cast today and as the case of Burberry shows, that doesn't go down particularly well for business. The brand are dealing with the issue by offering certain customers more exclusive pieces and also creating more expensive products that less people can afford with details that cannot easily be replicated.
I've always been a fan of Christophe Lemaire. The designer, who is best known for his work at the helm of Lacoste before moving to Hermes in 2010, also has a great brand of his own. The line, which he began in 1991 but relaunched back in 2006, epitomises the simplicity and timeless quality that has been doing the rounds since the midst of the recession and as a result of the 'Philo Effect'. Anyone that has followed the brand though will know that this is something that Lemaire has always done.
With that in mind, the news that he's working with thecorner.com on a capsule collection of the key wardrobe essentials for the summer season makes sense. The line, titled 'Radical Simplicity', features wardrobe stapes like the classic white shirt but with a modern twist alongside versatile simple dresses, Bermuda shorts and classic cropped trousers. At a recent talk at Browns, L'Wren Scott emphasised that collections should always be about building a wardrobe rather than simply tapping into trends and if you share her sentiment, you'll love the collection.
Though I love America's Next Top Model as much as the next fashion reality show junkie, it's fair to say that winners and contestants of the show haven't always done too well afterwards. Eva Pigford, Yaya De Costa and Toccara Jones are amongst the few exceptions to the rule and now you can add Fatima Siad to the list.
Despite leaving the show in third place, Siad was quickly signed by New York Models and after three years focusing on commercial work, this season saw her move into fashion. As well as walking for Dries Van Noten and Hermès, the model also confirms that she's just finished shooting Hervé Léger's spring 2012 campaign with Camilla Akrans. 'I didn't really work well my first year. My agency wanted to strip the whole Top Model off me and basically sell me as a model, and not a reality TV model,' she told The Cut when asked about life after the show. 'I did jobs here and there, but I think what was going on was that my agency wanted to build me from scratch. I was learning through it all.'
This week changes have been announced at Azzaro. Mathilde Castello Branco is confirmed as the new creative director of the brand and will officially take on her role from September 1, meaning that her debut collection will be for Fall 2012.
The Franco-Brazillian designer has quite an impressive CV. After graduating from École Duperré and the Atelier Chardon Savard in Paris, she had a stint at Hermès before serving as a right hand woman for Alber Elbaz at Lanvin for ten years. 'Her principal mission will consist in developing the house's collections (for men and women) whilst drawing on Loris Azzaro's heritage,' a release explained.
Helmut Lang is one of my favourite designers and according to recent reports he also tops the list for Hermès bosses too. After Jean Paul Gaultier decided to leave the brand back in May, Lang was reportedly the favourite to succeed him at the house but rejected offers leading Christopher Lemaire to bag the creative director role. The revelation his not a surprise as Lang is currently focusing on his work as an artist rather than as a designer.