Louis Vuitton's new collaboration with Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama might not have been the most obvious partnership but clearly they were onto something because the collection has been a complete sell out.
This week Selfridges confirmed that the polka-dot collection has repeatedly sold out and according to the brand, it's their most successful partnership with an artist ever. In other words, it's pretty safe to say that it's one of the biggest collaborations between the art and fashion world of all time. To celebrate the success, the department store has added a giant Yayoi above the front doors of their Oxford street store.
With TeamGB stars like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis doing so well in the Olympics, it's easy to forget that the Games were big for Michael Phelps too. The American swimmer made sporting history by becoming the most decorated Olympian of all time, with a total of 22 gold medals. It was only a matter of time, then, before brands jumped on the bandwagon and the first big deal comes from Louis Vuitton.
Yesterday the brand unveiled their latest Core Values campaign showing Phelps posing in a bath in swimming trunks, goggles and that much spoken about mysterious bubble between his legs. In another image from the Annie Leibovitz-shot campaign, he appears alongside Larissa Latynina, the former Soviet gymnast who Phelps stole the most decoarted Olympian title from.
Jokes aside, Phelps is the perfect choice for the campaign. Rather than simply jumping on the Olympics bandwagon, nobody can deny that Phelps (and his achievements) refect the core values that the campaign promotes.
Earlier on this month luxury handbag label Zagliani announced the launch of their new atelier service allowing customers to design their own bags from a selection of options available and now Louis Vuitton is following suit.
Starting July 30, customers will be able to create their own bespoke bags in special customisation sessions that will take place in a dedicated private salon in their Bond Street store. Unlike other brands that have a similar service, the options are extensive with more than 80,000 variations available to make sure that your piece is truly unique and one of a kind. The only downside is that you will have between a six month to a year wait for it to be delivered.
This year Versace showed their first couture collection after an eight year hiatus and now Dolce & Gabbana have confirmed that they are following suit by showing their first-ever couture show on July 9.
Rather than have the runway show in Paris along with other brands, they've decided to host it in Taormina, Sicily instead. According to the Financial Times' Vanessa Freidman, the decision was a calculated move to help keep the critics away and besides, the guests in attendance are reported to be rich clients rather than journalists anyway.
While the news does come as a surprise, it actually makes sense. Recently Louis Vuitton spoke out about their concern to appeal to the top spenders by creating exclusive collections to tackle the problem of becoming too accessible as they expand. Versace has since followed suit and since Dolce & Gabbana dropped their lower-priced line, D&G, last year, it looks like they're going in the same direction by targeting those high-end customers.
As far as set designs go, it doesn't get much better than Louis Vuitton. As you'll remember, the brand's Fall show featured a steam train that reportedly cost a whopping $8 million. Rather than using it in their Steven Meisel-lensed fall campaign they decided to reconstruct the interior in a studio to replicate the inside of the train but don't worry, the set hasn't gone to waste.
According to WWD, the train is set to go to Shanghai on July 5 to appear in a huge show on July 19. Following in the footsteps of Chanel, the show marks 'the first time the brand has sought to evoke the exact ambiance of its Paris show' and aside from that, it also marks the opening of Vuitton's first maison in China.
As far as accessories go, cap-toe heels are one of the biggest shoe trends this season. Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent were the pioneers of its revival this season and offered up pastels and sorbet tones, which perfectly tapped into the feminine sensibility of the season.
But it's not all girly and feminine. This season there's a lot of variation on offer. Take Christian Louboutin for example. The brand has gone the complete opposite way and released studded black leather and PVC styles studs, creating a modern twist to the older styles we're accustomed to. And it's not just the big brands tapping into it. Zara offer a great baby pink style heeled style that looks similar to the runway versions but at half the price and Reiss offer the perfect flat version.
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.
Since Net-A-Porter launched The Outnet, it's now hard to imagine a time when it didn't exist. The days where your favourite brands were inaccessible if you didn't have deep pockets are long. This week new e-commerce website, Covetique, launched with exactly that in mind.
The premise of the site isn't new. Sellers are able to upload their pre-owned designer pieces online in an easy, hassle-free way. What is different about Covetique, though, is the extensive range of designers on offer. The site includes great clothes from brands like Burberry, Isabel Marant, Louis Vuitton and Alexander Wang and accessories from the likes of Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin. Unlike similar sites, the prices are incredibly low with tops from Isabel Marant coming in at only £100 and Jimmy Choo sandals being sold for £130. To celebrate the launch, Covetique have also teamed up with a number of key industry figures to guest edit the site and showcase their favourite pieces and first up this month is Louise Roe.
Carine Roitfeld has been a long time collaborator and supporter of amfAR and this year she's working on a special project with me. Despite having several different ventures on the go like her upcoming MAC make-up line, new magazine and of course, being a new grand mother, Roitfeld will stage the gala's first fashion show.
The event, which takes place each year during the Cannes Film Festival to benefit the fight against AIDS, has always been known for delivering great red carpet looks so it makes sense that fashion will take such a prominent role. The idea behind the show is the 'perfect black wardrobe' and according to WWD, everyone from Christopher Kane and Alexander Wang to Givenchy and Louis Vuitton are involved.
As covers go Dolce & Gabbana and Louis Vuitton have been leading the pack. The Italian brand's embellished leotards have been everywhere this season, mainly on the body of Jennifer Lawrence, and those feminine Vuitton pastels have made the rounds on all of the big covers too. For May though, it's all about Versace. The brand was sported by Charlize Theron on the cover of British Vogue and Rihanna wore that statement yellow two piece number for the cover of American ELLE.