2010 is mere hours away which means in fashion terms I’m thinking about spring – AKA all things nautical. Now that the Breton has gone bananas, I’m thinking about sending my stripes on sabatical* in lieu of something with a touch more whimsy. I’m feeling sailor collars. I found a lovely little tie-on collar a few weeks ago at The Cloth House in Berwick Street – one of the staff makes them and sells them for about £18.
Did anyone else watch Monday night’s spectacular space documentary For All Mankind on BBC4? The 1989 documentary told the story of Apollo 11 and showed some breathtaking footage of the lunar landing. I find myself inexplicably fascinated by imagery of space and astronauts, especially photography. 2009 is (was?) the 40th anniversary of the Apollo moon landings and the occasion was commemorated with the book Spacesuits: The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Collection.
The sad thing is that despite their phenomenal technical properties (some were made to withstand heat of 275 degrees farenheit), the suits are surprisingly fragile. They were made for a short life span in extreme conditions and now lie draped in muslin to preserve what’s left of them.
I know it’s freezing but please, have some decorum. Say no to Uggs and yes to these little lovelies from F-Troupe….
If you were overwhelmed by all the Liberty print hook-ups in 2009 then tough titty, there’s even more in store for 2010. At the SS10 preview we saw Liberty print watch-straps and these pretty-as-you-like Liberty print Repettos – watch them fly faster than the Nikes…
Even better than that is the news that Liberty will launch a collection in collaboration with French concept store Merci. Merci’s owner Marie-France Cohen has magicked up a homeware and fashion collection that plays heavily on Liberty’s Carnaby Street location which also ties in with Carnaby Street’s 50-year celebrations. The range will be sold in Merci in Paris as well as a pop-up Merci store in Liberty. Best get over your floral fear fast…
More news on the Hermès front following my rant last week. (By the way, very strangely, the day after posting my moan about Hermès’ inefficient supply system, my elusive cravate foulard miraculously appeared in the Selfridges store. That Christian Blanckaert has totally been reading my blog.)
According to CPP-Luxury, the Hermès group will launch a new brand aimed at the Chinese market in 2010. The lower-priced brand called Shang Xia will be made using traditional Chinese materials and techniques to take advantage of the new Chinese luxury consumer. This chimes with research I have recently undertaken on the luxury market for the next decade. Heritage and authenticity is something that luxury brands will be focussing on, moving away from the noughties version of luxury that was more to do with brand names and status than the quality and craftsmanship of the goods. This is certainly a brand to watch as if it does well, others are sure to follow.
Retailers in America are responding to the recession by offering customers champagne as they browse according to the New York Times. Good idea, if you ask me. As well as making the customer feel all warm inside (literally and figuratively), supping a tipple or a brew is clearly going to make you linger for longer, thus upping the chances of a sale. In fact I don’t know why more stores haven’t cottoned on to this. The article goes on to discuss improvements in customer service generally, illustrating with an example from Hermès about a sales assosciate who searched high and low for a particular bag for a customer. Whoopee. My experience with Hermès is this.
1) Covet scarf seen at press day.
2) See scarf in Liberty pop-up Hermès shop. Alas, not available in my colour. “Can you order it?” “No, try Bond Street.”
3) Attempt Bond Street. Ignored. Finally served. “None in stock but we can call you when it comes in.” “Great! When is that likely to be?” “No idea. But I could keep you updated?” “Thanks.”
4) Times passes. Finally a month later, a message to say the scarf has still not arrived. (Translation: “We give up.”)
In Selfridges this week I decided to try my luck one more time. The apologetic Hermès sales associate looked in a drawer but didn’t have my scarf. I moaned and groaned. “What can I do?” I huffed, “why can’t you order one?” Her explanation was that they just don’t do this. Demand is greater than supply, they simply can’t keep up so they don’t, i.e. they don’t have to try, the customer will still come back. How lovely. And then I realised that she has a point. By making it difficult to get what you want, what happens? You want the bloody thing even more! Well, I’m not playing that game Mr Blanckaert*. I’ll take my money elsewhere. I know The Shop At Bluebird has some very nice scarves and the customer service there isn’t half bad either.
If 2009 was the year of the pop-up shop, then 2010 is set to be the year of the concept store. In the UK (OK, London), Dover Street Market and The Shop at Bluebird first set the tone, Liberty followed suit with its personal touches and now Anthropologie has raised the bar further. Couturelab, the online luxury portal recently opened its beautiful concept store on Davies Street, an outlet that is just as compelling as its online counterpart. Meanwhile, Darkroom (above) has just opened in Lambs Conduit Street selling under-the-radar fashion alongside interiors with in-store exhibitions a major focus.
Come January, Harvey Nichols London’s newly spruced-up fourth floor is set to be the next big buzz. It will have a concept store feel with a frequently evolving product mix including exclusive and limited edition collections, a Lanvin ‘supermarket of luxury’ curated by Alber himself and a buy-it-or-regret-it collection of vintage magazines (ooh), furniture (aah) and books (I’ll take ‘em all).
Exciting, no? Watch this space for further updates…
I hate to say it but this clog thing is slowly growing on me. These were shown at the KG and Carvela press day and the main thing is they feel really light – must be hollow inside. I think the glitter ones (above) are the most interesting – innovative and stylish. The beige patent ones (below) would look sweet on someone like Alexa with black ankle socks and an APC-like little denim dress.
The red suede ones (below) are my favourite – I’m picturing them with loose denim shorts and a half-tucked grey marl sweatshirt with elbow-length sleeves. I think buckles and straps are going to be important on clogs this time around – bare heels on a traditional clog are too reminiscent of (whisper it) mules…Ugh.