Tag Archives: Armani

Luxury Kidswear: The Next Big Market for Luxury

Gucci Kids SS 2017

In this current retail climate, luxury brands are downsizing. That is to say, they’re creating kid versions of their adult lines, catering to an ever younger market through luxury kidswear. Thanks to millennials and the growing number of celebrity couples churning out million dollar babies, the resulting social media frenzy from the Beckhams, Wests and Jolie-Pitts have changed the conversation from one of discovering new mediums for consumer engagement to now appealing to an entirely different class of consumer – the kids, through the most emotionally compromised shoppers on the planet, their parents.

Business of Luxury: Childrenswear, The Next Big Luxury Market

When popular English footballer David Beckham arrived at JFK airport in New York City in 2014, little was said about him, many of the reports were focused on his young daughter Harper and her chic hat and peacoat ensemble.

From Kingston and Zuma Rossdale (Gwen Stefani’s kids), to the scions of English Royalty: Prince George (UK Kidfluencer Prime according Forbes no less) and Princess Charlotte, fashion influencer clout is no longer wielded by over-exposed parents like Kim Kardashian but rather their celebrity offspring: North West, Suri Cruise and the like.

Left: Harper Beckham arriving at JFK with father, David. Right: Kingston Rossdale, son of Gwen Stefani

Their innocence, wrapped in a trapping of luxury, style and sometimes, attitude contributes to the appeal of whatever ensemble they happen to be rocking at the moment and luxury brands are only just beginning to entertain the idea of luxury kidswear, especially in developing economies like India, China, Indonesia and Singapore.

Luxury Brands taking Baby Steps

According to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, the luxury kidswear market in India is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20%, hitting 95,000 crore or US$14 billion in 2016, making India one of the fast growing markets for the luxury kidswear segment.

All aboard the luxury childrenswear train. Image: Gucci Kids A/W 2017

Similarly, the luxury kidswear genre is also growing in China, fuelled by twin phenomena – the now defunct one child policy, which led to parents indulging in lavish gifts for their progeny as well as the issue of that of fu er dai – a Chinese term which literally refers to the second generation wealthy, millennials used to growing in such opulent lifestyles that the children they sire, also lead similar lifestyles and a propensity towards luxury. These are trends which statistics from the China Research Centre for Children’s Industry also reflect where the projected baby boom through till 2021 will see the mainland’s under-16 population grow over 400 million. In the Asia-Pacific region, luxury kidswear is expected to grow at a pace of 5.3% per annum in Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore as well.

The phenomena of burgeoning luxury sales in the children’s segment is reflected not just in the numbers but in media as well. According to Business of Fashion, Hypebeast, an industry pioneer in online luxury streetwear commentary launched Hypekids in March 2017, a new children’s vertical when Founder Kevin Ma, saw big data trends in his Hypebeast audience growing up and having kids.

“I think it’s a natural progression for us,” – Kevin Ma, Founder, Hypebeast

Launching with Kids Foot Locker as a sponsor, Hypekids will include style news and features on designers with their kids, as well as sell children’s items on Hypebeast’s global e-commerce platform, HBX. The site further posits that millennial parents — who are dressing their children in the same clothes as they dress themselves — are the driving force of the industry.

Balmain Kids

Additionally, rising purchasing power serves as another driver growth in the luxury kidswear segment and the market for designer childrenswear has also been spurred by increasing brand consciousness and the proliferation of online digital platforms which not only grow interest for ensembles for million dollar babies but also serve as a kind of new status symbol – you are no longer judged by what you wear but also what your kids wear, that aside, the reality is that while many millennials aren’t too fussy with what they wear, they certainly are cognisant of the fact that their children are growing up in cultural environs vastly different from that for their era.

 The Business of Luxury Kidswear

In 2013, the first Global Kids Fashion Week launched in London to mixed reception but even with social criticism, the genre continued to grow, encouraged by Burberry, an early adopter, selling $91 million in luxury kidswear in 2014, encouraging the entry of major luxury brands into the arena of childrenswear: Gucci, Armani, Fendi and recently Karl Lagerfeld in 2016 (UPDATE: Givenchy has just launched their kids line) have each launched clothing and accessories lines targeted specifically at children. Given that high street apparel brands like Zara, H&M and Marks & Spencer had found lucrative business in the childrenswear genre, it was only a matter of time before the bigwigs caught on.

Marc Jacobs Kids, officially – Little Marc Jacobs 2014

Gucci Kids 2017

According to Singapore Tatler, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands Singapore was leading the charge in children’s luxury retail, opening a slew of standalone boutiques in 2014 –  Baby Dior, Fendi Kids and Ralph Lauren Children; and then adding to their portfolio of luxury children’s stores: Dolce & Gabbana Junior and Armani Junior in 2015-16.

“In today’s environment of exclusivity and quality, the retail experiences that the market is catering for adults and children are on par, this can be seen in numerous aspects, from the calibre of designs released by renowned fashion houses, to the extensive selection of apparel, right down to the VIP treatment.” – John Postle, vice president of retail at Marina Bay Sands to Singapore Tatler

In China alone, as many as 90% of kidswear labels have their own standalone boutiques but the rise of e-commerce is threatening to move this major market online: Net-a-Porter, a trailblazer in luxury eCommerce, registered the Petite-a-Porter domain name in 2013 (Though nothing has been launched at the moment).  Currently, former Vogue editors Sylvana Ward Durrett and Luisana Mendoza, have themselves launched Maisonette, a Farfetch-style platform that sells a curated selection from children’s boutiques.

Oscar de la Renta kids 2017

That said, while luxury childrenswear is booming, it isn’t exactly a new segment. In the early 70s, Dior and Ralph Lauren were pioneers to the kidswear genre but it must be said, they were likely too early as a nearly four decade drought persisted until Burberry, Chloe and Marc Jacobs reignited the furore. They were followed by Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Marni and Gucci, the latter being the most aggressive (by definition of campaign marketing). Even Oscar de la Renta is in on this, there’s no doubt that every self-respecting designer needs to have a children’s collection under the auspices of their brand. Surely a decisive strategy of building brand loyalty early and deepening their relationships with existing customers.

Currently, European and North American markets account for a major slice of the global kidswear market.  According to Euromonitor, 2015 sales for luxury kidswear reached $135.6bn worldwide and accounted for 12% of the overall clothing market, Meanwhile, research firm NPD Group Inc expects the luxury childrenswear market to hit US$ 173.6 billion by 2017 at CAGR of 4.2% driven by aggressive growth developing economies, particularly India and China where a healthy and growing middle class as well as targeted marketing by brands, increasing social media engagement and a spurt of international travel has created a cocktail of elements driving on luxury childrenswear consumption.

Will luxury watch brands follow suit? Image: Romain Jerome Hello Kitty

That said, rising labour costs do not bode well to the two largest consumers of luxury childrenswear as more and more luxury labels are forced to maintain margins by heading to Bangladesh where Zara, Massimo Dutti, Marks & Spencer, G-Star Raw and H&M are already present. Still, markets like Thailand and Taiwan are largely untapped and growth potential is immense and more importantly, imminently renewable as parents will attest to how quickly the little tykes outgrow their outfits.

 

6 Home Styles for Successful Gentlemen

As fashion and furniture continue to merge their ideals of beauty and form, homes can now dress to express their individual personalities – shaped and driven of course by the personalities and decisions of their owners. Basically, if you can sort of guess which brand is responsible for the look pictured top, you have the style chops to draw something useful from this story. So, leaving aside the admirable projects of refreshing your wardrobe or tricking out your vehicle, you might care for a bigger challenge this season. Our friends at Men’s Folio selected six different brand names to match six different personal styles. This is just the sort of thing magazine folks love to do and we thought we’d share it with you.

For an added sense of character (and better UX!), each of the suggestions is modeled on specific personalities.

The extravagant hedonistversace_home_les_etoiles_de_lamer_dining

Versace Home stays religiously true to its iconic over-style even as the lifestyle arm is brought in-house to complete the brand universe. Under the artistic direction of Donatella Versace, the ritzy collection fetes four brand new lines: Inspired by the Rosenthal-meets-Versace porcelain collection, Les Etoiles de la Mer commits to absolute opulence through precious materials such as Fiore di pesco marble, printed velvets and mercury wood, with prints awash in marine motifs; Vasmara evokes wildlife exoticism with leopard and zebra print decors; futuristic Gvardian is defined by clean lines and a neutral palette, with a carbon fibre table top conveying spacey visual and tactile effect; finally, the established Via Gesù Palazzo Empire range is expanded with a one-of-a-kind sky blue nubuck sofa shaped in the defining “V” of the brand. Standing out from the christened collections is the new climate-proof aluminum chair Mesedia. Crafted in the image of Versace’s unmistakable Medusa head, Mesedia is emblematic of the new Home collection and is available in five colours that remind of shifting skies: Haze, storm, cloud, purple sunset and sunrise.

Versace Home

The sensitive homebody_bcd5174-tissus-et-papiers-peints

They say home is where your heart is set in stone; is where you go when you’re alone (that there’s some catchy lyrics from Gabrielle Aplin’s 2013 hit single, “Home”). In any case, if home is truly where your heart lies, then no doubt you’ll be a fan of Hermès’ latest home collection inspired by the ideal of the home as shelter for body and mind. Under the aegis of artistic directors Charlotte Perelman and Alexis Fabry, the home is transformed into a refuge of relaxation with simple yet elegant touches. Different threads of the collection — ranging from the re-edited Oria chairs by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo to the showpiece Sellier sofa demonstrating the equestrian heritage of the Maison — collectively address the theme of balance, which Hermès believes thrives and reigns in enclosed spaces. This balancing act is also cleverly propagated in the Équilibre d’Hermès assembly of desk and decorative accessories, consisting of a harmonious blend of functional and whimsical pieces: A magazine rack in the form of a horse saddle, an icosahedron paperweight, a magnifying glass held in perfect equipoise atop a conical base.

Hermès

The space rockerdiesel-living-at-salone-del-mobile-2016-3                                                                            

Imagine serving your favourite pasta on Venus, or scooping ice cream from moon craters — if you’re obsessed with astronomy and the stars, you’re in for a treat. For 2016, Diesel Living parades its latest collaboration with Italian design brand Seletti in its Cosmic Diner tableware line. Inspired by the universe, the heavenly (as close as it gets) collection comprises of porcelain plates representing the planets of the solar system, a Starman vase, salt and pepper grinders in the shape of rockets, as well as meteorite glasses to end the poetic set up. The collaboration with Seletti is among five ongoing projects that Diesel Living has going on, including Moroso for furniture, Foscarini for lighting, Iris Ceramica for ceramic tiling, and Scavolini for a new kitchen concept. The Moroso and Foscarini collections illustrate Diesel’s individualistic lifestyle with industrial design and rock styling, while the Diesel Open Workshop Kitchen with Scavolini celebrates the ethos of “Come in, we’re open!” with an open-concept social kitchen the builds on the brand’s creativity and free expression.

Diesel Living

The ethereal minimalistarmani-casa-store-in-corso-venezia-14_06-by-davide-lovatti

Unlike those of us who express our feelings through intense rituals — entire mornings spent painting, shouting out at open seas, retail therapy on useless junk — designer Giorgio Armani conveys his thoughts in a more refined manner. More often than not, he translates his obsessions into an elegant collection of timeless creations, and judging from his latest set for Armani/Casa, it’s pretty clear his current fixation is on light. The Time Of Lightness experiments with the notion of light and how its interplay (through shadows and reflections) can transform regular architecture into irregular elements, with Armani putting this sophistication into the perspective of minimalism and simplicity. The collection is gratifyingly considerate, keeping in mind all aspects of one’s lifestyle. It first offers a selection of tables — the Luna rotating table, Lewis oval table and Egidio low table, to name a few — then accompanies them with a complete tableware set. It also pieces together other home elements such as the Leonard buffet (two versions, with drawers and shelves or as a television unit) and Club bar cabinet, the latter a 50-piece limited edition hand-made with black straw marquetry and dramatized in an Ocean lacquer finish that calls to mind The Great Wave off Kanagawa by renowned Japanese artist Hokusai. These are topped off with resplendent Murano glass pieces and exquisite textiles by Rubelli.

Armani/Casa

The pop artistrock-valley-coffee-table_

Following last year’s series of ceramics-inspired leather bowls, Spanish luxury brand Loewe is back to win hearts with an entire bag of striking and eccentric designs crafted in leather marquetry. Conceived by creative director Jonathan Anderson, this latest collection of oak furniture is embellished with leather cut-outs in an array of shapes and colours pieced together to form mosaic drawings of flowers and landscapes. The project is partly inspired by the radical design ideas of pioneering artist-critic Roger Fry (furniture covered in bold, hand-painted patterns, for example), and the motifs are taken from silk prints found in Loewe’s archives, including a recurring carp adapted from a set of centuries-old Japanese wood screens Anderson found in Hong Kong. The end product is stunning, with six new creations, including a large wardrobe and two Baillie Scott chairs, along with lamps and cigar boxes as well as notebooks and leather pouches, all coated in fun to brighten up your living space.

Casa Loewe

The unrepentant gentlemanbottega-veneta-home-collection-bottega-veneta-via-borgospesso-home-boutique-3

Bronze tables surfaced in the signature intrecciato leather weave (an exclusive collaboration with Italian designer Osanna Visconti di Modrone), Murano lamps in new cigar and nero colorations, suede and leather drawers fitted with iconic bronzed handles — there’s nothing in Bottega Veneta’s home collection that doesn’t spell masculine decadence. When set against a backdrop of historic frescoes, coffered ceilings and stone walls found in a profound 18th century palazzo (Palazzo Gallarati Scotti in the heart of Milan, to be precise), the curated creations by creative director Tomas Maier even provide a taste of medieval excess. Apart from the aforementioned pieces, the collection boasts a suede seating set (club chair, foot rest, three-seat couch and day bed) named Rudi in collaboration with Poltrona Frau, a series of sterling silver collectible boxes each bearing semi-precious stones and planetary names, and a delicate hand-painted porcelain dining service. It’s a long list of complementary pieces that come together coherently to exude sophistication in the homes of those with discerning tastes.

Bottega Veneta

This article was first published in Men’s Folio.

Paris Haute Couture: 3 Runway Beauty Trends

You would think that this being Haute Couture Fashion Week, the beauty trends would be rather out there than tame. Our guess is that the designers wanted the clothes to do the talking. Unlike the unique beauty offerings of fashion weeks past, this year we see several key trends that can be worn with almost any outfit — hand-stitched or otherwise.

Eye CatchingParis-Haute-Couture-Week-Beauty-Looks_Eye-Catching

While neons had their time in the spotlight (and boy, did they shine), fall sees the shades take on a softer tone. To make up for the subtlety in color, designers such as Atelier Versace chose to use shades such as shimmering baby blue in bold stripes. Swept across the lids in a winged shape, the color was a perfect way to combine artistic statement with an edge. At J.Mendel, models sported a lick of bright gold liner in the corners of the eye for a subtle spin on the trend.

‘80s BabyParis-Haute-Couture-Week-Beauty-Looks_80s-baby

Reviving looks from the 1980s were houses such as Chanel that opted for curly ponytails with headbands along with powdery eye shadow that stretched to the brow bone. Over at Armani Prive, the models were seen with backcombed hair, strong brows and statement disc earrings — a look that seemed to channel a punk vibe.

Gothic RomanceParis-Haute-Couture-Week-Beauty-Looks_goth

John Paul Gaultier proved that grunge and Goth don’t have to be all black lipstick and heavy eyeliner. The designer opted for a toned down approach with shiny brown lips, smokey eyes and miniature braids. The result was a contemporary take on the darker side of the ‘90s. Another designer, who went Goth with a twist, was Elie Saab with pale complexions, winged eyeliner and deep red lipstick.

World-Famous Designers Dress Rio 2016 Athletes

The hype is on. It is finally 2016, and the Rio Olympics is fast becoming an increasingly discussed topic, for good and otherwise – even in the world of fashion although happily, the news is all good here. With less than a month left on the countdown clock, world-famous designers have been tapped to dress athletic teams. May the odds ever be in the best team’s favor.

Stella McCartney for Team Great Britain

rio-2016-olympic-kits-1

Following her work for the London 2012 Olympics kit, the British designer has once again been roped into designing for the opening and closing ceremonies of her hometown team. Featuring a high-tech fabric from Adidas that is 10% lighter than that of the 2012 kit (she collaborated with the sports label on that occasion), the athletes receive a boost to go further and faster. The collection also incorporates the red, white and blue of the Union Jack flag, as well as a specially commissioned Coat of Arms.

Polo Ralph Lauren for Team USA 

rio-2016-olympic-kits-2

Who else, really, but Polo Ralph Lauren, the quintessential American athletic brand? Marking their fifth partnership with Team USA (they’re pretty much veterans themselves), the collection melds the label’s signature preppy style with the classic red, blue and white of the American flag (a lot of flags use this color combination). Supporters would be pleased to know that the looks are up for purchase here, with all proceeds going to USOC, a non-profit organization that sends American athletes to the Olympic games.

DSquared2 for Team Canada

rio-2016-olympic-kits-featured

Formal meets casual athleticism with Dean and Dan Caten, designers behind the world-acclaimed Canadian brand DSquared2. For Team Canada’s opening ceremony, the label injects its country’s red, white, black and iconic maple leaf emblem into a range of jackets, shirts and pants. Described as modern yet traditionally Canadian, replicas of the collection are available at all Hudson’s Bay locations across Canada, and online here.

Armani for Team Italy

rio-2016-olympic-kits-3

A reprisal of his role in the 2012 London Olympics, Giorgio Armani once again lends his creative talents to Team Italy this year. The Italian designer taps on his iconic color of midnight blue in this collection of tracksuits, waterproof jackets, polo shirts, pants and beyond. On top of tapping on his elegant style, the range also includes the inscription “Fratelli d’Italia” (Brothers From Italy) as well as C-Cube technology (Carbon Cushion Control) for maximum comfort.

Emporio Armani SS17 Soul Searching

Fans of Emporio Armani would be familiar with the house’s code by now: sleek, sharp, and so very refined. This season sees a reiteration of the brand’s aesthetic, despite a flirtation with athleisure. It’s a domination of functional modularity, understated luxe, and the freedom to be oneself. Identity is the catchphrase of the season.

Read more about the collection on Men’s Folio Singapore.

Yellow Fever: Trending Color at Cannes 2016

The Internet is awash in comments and stories about yellow gowns dominating the Cannes Film Festival 2016 but there are really only four examples to speak of. Not since Coldplay and The Simpsons has yellow been so hyped up…

Kirsten Dunst Cannes 2016 Jury photocall

Girl-next-door Yellow

Kirsten Dunst has jury duty this year and manages to look chic, contemporary and demure as can be in this lemon yellow shirtdress by Dior, seen here at the Festival’s jury photocall. The crisp collar and longer-length sleeves give the piece a “retro Riviera” air, while the golden metal Dior Couture belt keeps things utterly modern. A sleek blowdry and a lick of red lipstick are all that’s needed to polish off the look. Also, it helps to be a star (who also happened to actually rock the red carpet in pink Gucci number).

Jessica Chastain in Armani Prive Cannes 2016

Classic Yellow

A natural redhead, Jessica Chastain naturally shines in yellow, as this Armani Privé gown demonstrates. Obviously an ode to old school glamour – think Veronica Lake – the gown has already drawn praise for the myriad ways it plays to Chastain’s strengths, including that uncomfortable looking structured bodice. Where another person might look like a popsicle wrapped in cheap plastic in something like this, she pulls it off.

Anna Kendrick in Stella McCartney at Cannes 2016

Fearless Yellow

Like a tulip, Anna Kendrick stood out on the red carpet in this Stella McCartney number. She also had a nice accessory in the way of Justin Timberlake. Kendrick demonstrates that a bold dress like this one needs to be owned, otherwise, it will own you. If you want to be clever in yellow, don’t forget that.

Amal Clooney in Atelier Versace

Timeless Yellow

In the best accessories department, Amal Clooney beats them all so drawing attention to that with a Grecian-inspired lemon silk chiffon Atelier Versace gown was a great idea. If you’ve got George on your arm you can go starkers if you please. Nevertheless, the gown offers an object lesson in matching elegance and sexiness, as other observers have also noticed.

Coming Home: Versace Interior Design Collection

With names like Alexander Wang and Ralph Lauren moving into interior design and residences, Versace seems to be keen on following suit. Then again, it isn’t exactly new to them. Versace Home was first unveiled in 1992, and now the brand is keen on moving back to form with a series of pieces made in various collaborations.

For more information, you can follow the story at Men’s Folio.

Dubai property Burj Khalifa

Insight: Appeal of Designer Apartments in Asia

Visitors to the recently completed Milano Residences in the Philippines will be greeted by its slick facade, before coming face to face with the lobby’s main draw – a Versace Home bubble sofa. Next to the statement piece is a sunburst coffee table with a crystal top, also Versace. All at once, touches of the Italian fashion mainstay unravel, in the black leather of dining chairs, steel chrome tables, and even the estate’s porcelain and silver tableware.

The $68 million, 340-unit Century Properties development is the brand’s first residential foray into Asia where designer brand properties have started to take flight, fuelled by demand from locals and expatriates alike.

Residents who opt to have their units in Manila designed by Versace Home are given exclusive access to the brand’s fine home collection, encompassing essentials from furniture to linens and pillows.

“The Versace world is not just expressed in fashion, but in the full spectrum of art and creativity,” said chief executive Gian Giacomo Ferraris, during an interview given shortly after the property’s launch in 2011. “From our love of beauty come tailor-made interior design services and home furnishings that tell of a genuine lifestyle – one that truly shows what ‘Made in Italy’ is all about.”

Ferraris added: “Milano residents will enjoy substantial value and will be proud of owning both an incredible investment and a symbol of a lifestyle never before seen in Manila.” By the start of 2015, the developer had sold 95% of 3,000 units across six projects slated for completion last year, including the Versace branded Milano Residences.

Why are labels having designs on property?

“Experiential luxury is growing faster than personal goods luxury and homes are a good bridge between the two worlds,” explained Mario Ortelli, senior research analyst at luxury asset management firm Sanford C Bernstein. “Designer homes are products you can live in.”

A growing demand for design brand residences in Asia suggests that buyers see property linked to fashion labels as stable, or at least, as stable as those linked with hotel chains and celebrity designers, translating into more gains across the board.

Labels also get an extra avenue to market their products, ranging from cosmetics to spa necessities and fragrances. It is no wonder more names are jumping on the Asian property bandwagon.

In June 2015, the Giorgio Armani Group signed a partnership agreement with Chinese real estate company Smart Hero Group for a residential project in Beijing.

Armani Casa will design the common areas, amenities and a few luxury apartments in a development targeted at integrating a modern aesthetic with the traditional concept of harmony between man and nature. It is expected to open by the end of 2017.

“The branded property sector is on an upward push,” said property developer John Hitchcox, who has worked with Philippe Stark, Kate Moss and Jade Jagger.

“I expect rivals will want to outdo Versace with even bigger and more flamboyant plans for homes,” Hitchcox added.

John Hooks, former deputy chairman of Giorgio Armani and group president of Ralph Lauren Europe, who is now CEO of the fashion holding company Pacific Global Management concurs. “We use modern, often Apple-designed products. We work in modern offices in modern buildings. We go on holiday in modern boutique hotels,” Hooks says. “Small wonder many consumers want modern at home, too. It’s what they know and are comfortable with, and homes are all about comfort,” he adds.

Priced Acquisition

As with branded accessories and apparel, association comes with a price tag.

Fendi Chateau Residences, Miami

Fendi Chateau Residences, Miami

At Miami’s Fendi Château Residences, a two-storey penthouse – which includes 7,000 sq. ft. of interior space, 2,000 sq. ft. of terraces and a rooftop pool – costs a whopping $25 million.

Besides having a private elevator, the penthouse is laced with customised Fendi Casa kitchen cabinets, Gaggenau appliances and Italian Calacata marble in bathrooms. The price of an oceanfront residence starts at $6 million, according to, well, us (Editor’s Note: The Palace team referenced the linked story in writing this article, which has now come full circle).

In the case of a dwelling in Milano Residences, where some units boast private wading pools, the figure is placed at a few hundred thousand dollars to more than $1 million.

This is a fraction of what a designer brand unit costs in Miami and just about the average of condominium lodging in land scarce Singapore, but extravagant for an abode in the still-rapidly developing Philippines.  Branded properties are not exclusively tagged to fashion bigwigs; they are traditionally associated with reputed developers and celebrity designers.

Milano Residences, Manila

Milano Residences, Manila

Buying into brands

Buyers are biting, and are likely to fork out 20% to 30% more for a branded property than a less glitzy equivalent, said Joanna Leverett, Savills’ head of international new developments.

“These developments tend to see a similar premium for rentals and on resale, so buyers feel confident their purchase will hold its value. They also increasingly prefer this hassle-free option compared with a standalone Tuscan farmhouse or southern French villa,” she explained.

Going by the trend of good returns, it is possible that Asian buyers are cashing in for investment purposes.

Luxury estate prices in the world’s major cities are set to continue slowing, from 3% in 2015 to 1.7% in 2016, according to the latest Knight Frank Prime Cities Forecast. The report mainly attributed this to China’s economic slowdown.

Hong Kong is expected to be the worst performing market with a price fall of 5%, followed by Singapore, where prices will probably fall by 3.3% in 2016.

St. Regis Residences, Singapore

St. Regis Residences, Singapore

Forking out extra for a branded home also ensures that buyers, should they choose to make the property their home, live in a lap of luxury. Units such as those in Singapore’s St Regis Residences offer butler services.

For those looking to keep an eye on their supercars, a pad in Reignwood Hamilton Scotts comes with a private garage that lifts cars to a resident’s living room. This does not come cheap. Renting costs $11,000 a month, while buyers can expect to pay $1,640 – $2,625/sq. ft.

Developing on profits

The benefits on tying up with an established brand extends to developers too. A report by C9 Hotelworks, a Phuket-based hospitality and property consultancy forecasted in October 2015 that more developers will strive for international hotel group affiliations.

This is “given the demonstrated brand premium in selling prices between 20% – 30% and the connection with associated hospitality assets,” the report added.

Four Seasons Private Residences, Bangkok

Four Seasons Private Residences, Bangkok

The hotel residences market in Southeast Asia is valued at $16 billion. This consists of 28,000 branded units spread over 120 projects. According to the same report, the number of developments could be influenced by land sale prices. Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam were at the top of the table.

Land prices in Singapore averaged more than $25,000/sq. ft. – the highest in the region. Even so, demand for units in the South Beach Residences condominium, eclectically conceptualized by reputed French designer Philippe Stark, has not wavered. The 190 luxury apartments are expected to be completed in the first half of 2016.

Story Credits
Text by Tina Chopra

This article was originally published in PALACE 15

Beauty Trend: The Bleached Brow

For a while now, we have seen the bold brow bask in its moment under the sun and while this writer is a fan, it seems that its reign is now over. If the runways during the month of Fashion Week (Yes, we are still talking about it) have been any indication, then I guess it is time to put those eyebrow pencils down and embrace the bleached brow. While Rihanna and Cara Delevigne were some of the more prominent names in the bold, tapered brow brigade, the former has now switched camps from the looks of her cover of Vogue’s April issue.

As seen on the runway, there are several advantages to rocking a lighter, or even bleached, brow. For one thing, it makes makeup look more dramatic, as illustrated by Giamba in Milan and Givenchy in Paris, where the model’s brows were bleached so much that they appeared invisible, contrasting with heavy kohl eye makeup for an ethereal effect. At Giorgio Armani in Milan the look was more ‘scuffed out’, lending a softness to the face that exposed the models’ beautiful bone structure. It can also be a useful trick for making hair dye jobs look more natural.

An alternative to bleaching your brows is the use of make-up. Using “Eye & Brow Maestro” in shades 8 “Greige” or 13 “Platinum” from its upcoming Runway Fall/Winter 2016 Make-up Collection, Armani lightened the models’ brows to lessen its impact. Another option to temporarily lighten your brows, is a root cover up such as Space NK’s “Colour Wow” in a hue lighter that your natural hair color.

To maintain the look for a longer period, you could turn to bleach but do so with great caution. If we were in your shoes, then we would probably spend some time watching beauty vloggers such as Ellebangs who suggests using a facial hair bleach product such as ‘Jolen‘, and online lifestyle guru Kandee Johnson agrees, opting for Sally Hansen’s ‘Creme Hair Bleach‘. Johnson advises that the cream should be mixed to the consistency of ‘whipped butter’ before using the supplied spatula to apply the product to the brow, staying as close to the hair as possible to avoid irritating the skin. She recommends leaving the product on for two minutes and checking the progress every minute after that, until the hair is the desired tone. Once you are happy with the hue she advocates, use a face wipe to clean off the mixture, before washing the face thoroughly (being careful not to get bleach anywhere near the eyes) and moisturizing to soothe.

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani: Fur No More

The next time you see fur in Armani’s collections, it will not be the fur of an animal subjected to cruel and inhumane practices. Instead, the design house is opting to use machine-made synthetic fur in a move that is likely to impact not only the fashion world but animals as well.

This historic move by the designer comes after his announcement in 2007 to steer the fashion house away from its use of animal fur. Speaking of this decision, Armani, 81 said that the advancement of new technologies allows designers to find cruelty free ways to use fur in their collections without supporting animal cruelty and the trade of animal fur.

Working together with the Fur Free Alliance, the brand will see its luxury and ready-to-wear brands, join other fashion houses such as Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Stella McCartney. Fur has long been under scrutiny with several animal rights groups educating the public on what it takes to produce the luxury item that was once a staple of every fashionista. With fur now slowly making its way back into the world of fashion, this could just convince other designers to move in a similar direction.

Milan Fashion Week: 4 Memorable Looks

The curtain came down on Milan Fashion Week earlier this week, giving us no breathing room before the scene shifted to Paris. Nevertheless, we must revisit the runways of Italy and that is exactly what we managed to do, while piecing together our Academy Awards coverage. Here then are four labels who caught everyone’s attention in Milan. They certainly caught our eye here, against the backdrop of the Italian city known for its style.

FendiFendi-Milan-Fall-Winter-2016

All sorts of funky and chic, Karl Lagerfeld injected lots of color into the fur filled collection for Fall/Winter. With Kendall Jenner opening the show for the brand, we were treated to some thigh-high boots not only in numerous shades but also in materials so supple that they looked more like wrinkled woolly tights.

 

Dolce & GabbanaD-G-Milan-Fall-Winter-2016

The duo upped the ante and the glitter for the fairy tale themed collection. From the invites to the décor (witness Cinderella’s bed on stage), they would have made any fairy godmother jealous. Closing their princess parade was a shimmering squadron of models who sashayed out in mini-dresses.

ArmaniArmani-Milan-Fall-Winter-2016

While D&G were all sunshine and roses, Armani went in the opposite direction. Both Emporio and Giorgio Armani collections saw black dominating the show. The suit-based collection saw the Milanese maestro incorporate his favorite material, velvet.

PradaPrada-Handbag-Milan-2016

With news of dwindling fortunes and no revival in sight, the brand needed this collection to be a hit. The show saw models walk down the runway with bundles of over-sized gold keys, intending to signify that these were women with responsibilities.

8 Winning Jewelry Looks at Oscars 2016

Unlike the parade of off-whites and reds, this year’s Academy Awards Red Carpet proved to be a revolving door of varying styles, silhouettes and colors. As with previous years, the outfits were not complete without some of the finest jewelry and the stars did not disappoint. It was truly difficult to select just a few of our favorites but we did it. Luxuo brings you eight of our favorite accessories from the 2016 Oscars Red Carpet.

Saoirse Ronan with ChopardSaoirse-Ronan-Full-Length-Article

Hoping to bring the luck of the Irish with her, the young actress walked the red carpet in a green Calvin Klein gown. It was a case of less is more as she paired her outfit with mismatched earrings by the jeweler Chopard. Taken from the Maison’s High Jewelry Collection, the Best Actress nominee was a hot topic of discussion with her red carpet choice. Her earrings featured pearls, 18.28 carats of emeralds, 5.74 carats of jadeites and 3.25 carats of diamonds in white gold. She also chose an emerald and diamond ring in white gold to complete her look.

Brie Larson with NiwakaBrie-Larson-Oscars-article

The newly minted Oscar winner went with Gucci for her big night. She chose a half-updo that was held in place by a beautiful diamond brooch, worn as a barrette, that lent a fairy-tale like feel to her flowing periwinkle gown. She kept it fairly simple with elegant Niwaka diamond and pearl earrings while a pearl encrusted belt has helped seal her status as the breakout style star this award season, coming close to Jennifer Lawrence and Lupita Nyango.

Charlize Theron with Harry WinstonCharlize-Theron-Article

One of our favorites on the list is Charlize Theron, who starred in Mad Max: Fury Road. While the movie swept up numerous awards that night, Theron stunned on the red-carpet in a red number from Dior. It’s not a color that she has worn on the carpet and it certainly is refreshing. What caught our attention though were her accessories. No better way to complement the deep neckline than with Harry Winston diamonds. Worth nearly $3.7 million, she selected a 48.8 carat Secret Cluster diamond necklace, 15.49-carat Winston Diamond Cluster earrings. She completed it with an 8.78-carat cushion-cut diamond ring with micropave setting and a 7.44 carat Queen diamond ring, all of which were set in platinum.

Jennifer Garner with Neil LaneJennifer-Garner-article

This may just be the new “revenge dress” that was previously made famous by Princess Diana. The black asymmetrical custom-made Atelier Versace number, was the perfect balance of sultry and sweet and made the newly single-star one of the favorites for every best-dressed list. Rather than going with plain diamonds, the actress selected one that featured 10 carats worth of diamonds and a hint of color. Her wrists sparkled with four bracelets weighing in at 150 carats. The diamond and platinum bracelets amount to a whooping $2.5 million dollars. To bring it all together, she also wore an emerald-cut diamond ring worth $250,000.

Naomi Watts with BulgariNaomi-Watts-Oscars-article

Talk about classic Hollywood glamour. The Australian beauty arrived in a custom-made Armani Privé number that left many guessing its exact color. The metallic sequins changed from a deep blue to a bright purple under the spotlight as she made her way down the carpet. There to support her husband Leiv Schriber for his nomination, she selected an elaborate statement necklace from Bulgari to complete her glamorous ensemble.

Cate Blanchett with Tiffany & Co.Cate-Blanchett-Oscars-article

We expected her to show up with something from the Tiffany Blue Book collection and she did. What shocked many however was the dress itself by Armani Privé. On anyone else this pastel blue with feather flowers would have looked all wrong but on the Oscar winner, it looked elegant and appropriate. She paired her gown with platinum drop earrings set with marquise and round cut diamonds. For some arm-candy, she chose a starfish cuff with round diamonds and a ring with a 2.3 carat round diamond and round diamond border, all in platinum.

Tina Fey with BulgariTina-Fey-Oscars-article

Not bad Liz Lemon, not bad at all. Not a shade you see the actress in very often, and also not one that would flatter many. Yet the former Oscar host made a statement in a custom Atelier Versace gown. One critic compared her look for the night to Liz Taylor and we agree. Her strapless silhouette was accompanied by a diamond and sapphire necklace from Bulgari’s High Jewelry collection. It is purely coincidental that Taylor is strongly associated with Bulgari.

Alicia Vikander with Louis VuittonAlicia-Vikander-Oscars-article

The Swedish actress has showcased some interesting looks on the red carpets this season. Many expected her to arrive in a edgy metallic number from Louis Vuitton, like what we saw at the Baftas and Golden Globes. Instead Vikander channelled Belle from Beauty and the Beast — her Prince Charming a.k.a Michael Fassbender was not far on the carpet. She accessorised it with Louis Vuitton chandelier earrings that featured the brand’s floral emblem. A fairy-tale ending for a whirlwind year that has seen the actress go from relative unknown to Oscar winner.

Blanchett Giorgio Armani Si 2015

Cate Blanchett launches Armani’s new ‘Sì’ campaign

Blanchett Giorgio Armani Si 2015

Cate Blanchett stars in the video for Giorgio Armani fragrance “Sì.”

The 30-second promo encourages viewers to associate the bottle with life, freedom, lightheartedness, love, togetherness and themselves. Blanchett appears in a variety of Armani clothing, accessories and footwear.

The Australian actress, well known for films like “The Aviator,” “The Lord of the Rings,” and “Blue Jasmine,” was first associated with the Giorgio Armani Parfums fragrance since its launch in 2013.

Armani Casa project Beijing

Armani to design luxury residences in Beijing

Armani Casa project Beijing

Armani Casa has signed a deal with the Smart Hero Group to develop a residential project in Beijing, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) reports.

Architect Ma Yansong has been signed up to design an eco building comprising several apartments, with Armani creating the amenities and common areas.

Armani Casa project Beijing China

“I’m very happy to collaborate on the development of this complex in Beijing, one of the most charming cities in the world,” Giorgio Armani told the publication. “The Chinese concept of ‘Union of Nature and Man’ perfectly fits the aesthetic I developed for Armani/Casa, which constantly aspires at creating a sense of harmony inside the indoor spaces while respecting their natural context.”

The brand has previously worked on projects including the Century Spire complex in Makati, Philippines and the World Towers in Mumbai.

Matt Bomer Chen Kun and Dan Stevens

Giorgio Armani Made to Measure F/W 2015 Campaign

Matt Bomer Chen Kun and Dan Stevens

The Italian luxury brand has turned to three famous international actors, photographed by John Balsom in New York, to bring to life its Made to Measure luxury division.

The “Made to Measure” campaign highlights the link between the Girorgio Armani brand and show business, specifically the world of television.

It’s not surprising then to see three film actors who all got their big breaks on the small screen starring in this new advertising campaign.

Matt Bomer

American Matt Bomer saw his career take off after starring on USA’s “White Collar,” while Chinese actor Chen Kun rose to fame thanks to shows such as “Love Story in Shanghai” and “Pink Ladies.” For his part, Dan Stevens is best known as a star of “Downton Abbey.”

The black and white photos depict the trio of spokesmodels rehearsing on stage or conversing with one another, all the while of course dressed in the bespoke suits of the Italian luxury brand.

Chen Kun

“Made to Measure is a unique service designed for the most demanding customers: a tailored suit that follows the customer’s own body-lines, customized to suit individual tastes,” says Giorgio Armani.

“I think of it as a tool for everyday use, suitable for all ages, all professions, in every part of the world. The three young actors represent so many modern men, natural and informal, with different cultures and backgrounds, with fast-paced, contemporary lifestyles that know what they want and make a smart choice in what they want to wear.”

Dan Stevens

Vespa Emporio Armani

Emporio Armani to Launch Customized Vespa

Vespa Emporio Armani

 has teamed up with Italian manufacturer Piaggio to launch the Vespa 946 Emporio Armani.

The new Vespa 946 Emporio Armani is the result of a collaboration which came about to mark the 130th anniversary of Vespa’s parent, the Piaggio Group, and the 40th anniversary of the Giorgio Armani label.

Meanwhile the number 946 refers to 1946, the year the Vespa, the world’s first moped scooter, was unveiled.

Like the clothing lines associated with the Emporio Armani label, the bike’s external appearance is chic and subtle. The color palette is a mix of grey and green earth tones and thanks to a clever galvanizing treatment the body panels take on a satin yet solid color finish that allows the green to shine through the darker grey tones.

Other external touches that mark the bike out as a special edition include the Emporio Armani Eagle logo above the headlight and subtle Armani branding on the sides.

The scooter itself is based externally on the classic Vespa, but its internal components are bang up to date. The engine is four-stroke, not two-stroke, and has aluminum cylinder heads. The front wheel has a double disc brake, the vehicle is smartphone compatible via Bluetooth, it’s got a digital dash panel and it comes with ABS as standard.

The saddle is premium stitched brown leather and Armani has a range of compatible clothing planned, news about which will be made public at a later date. Likewise, Piaggio has confirmed that when it officially launches, the bike will be offered with a choice of tie-ins such as panniers.

As for the scooter itself, it is being produced in ‘strictly limited numbers’, each of which will be individually numbered and will be going on sale later this month. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but expect the Vespa 946 Emporio Armani to retail for €13,000 without accessories.

Giorgio Armani and Michele Colannino

Giorgio Armani boutique Milan

Giorgio Armani reopens its flagship store in Milan

Giorgio Armani boutique Milan

Following up on the heels of its 40th anniversary this year, the Armani group opens its new flagship Giorgio Armani boutique in Milan.

Located in the historic Palazzo Taverna, the flagship store has been redesigned by Giorgio Armani and his team of architects who wanted to bring out the original geometry of the building, not only inside but out.

DON’T MISS: ARMANI HOTEL MILANO NOW OPEN

Giorgio Armani store Milan

All the rooms have been customized and furnished with the latest designs from the new Armani/Casa collection.

The boutique spans three floors, with a sales area of over 1000 square metres. The ground floor is entirely dedicated to womenswear, while menswear is on the first.

Giorgio Armani flagship store Milan

On each floor, accessories and fragrances are presented in a dedicated area. In addition to the space reserved for the Made to Measure service, the second floor presents the Giorgio Armani’s pret-a-porter collection, with another room dedicated to the women’s New Normal collection.

The three floors are connected to each other by an elevator as well as by an elliptical staircase with a high-impact design in metal with platinum-finish steps in extra-white onyx.

Giorgio Armani boutique staircase Milan

The reopening of the boutique in Milan coincides with the brand’s 40th anniversary, which will be celebrated in conjunction with Expo 2015

Giorgio Armani

‘New Normal’ label in the pipeline for Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani

2015 is a big year for the 80-year old Italian designer who is celebrating the 40th anniversary of his luxury fashion empire.

On top of the launch, this month of Le Sac 11, a special edition handbag and the release of his memoirs later this year, the designer is launching a new womenswear range.

Tapping the normcore trend for more substance and less glitz, the “New Normal” line is set to offer Giorgio Armani fans ultimate satisfaction with a host of brand classics.

“It will show how I think today’s women should dress,” the 80-year-old Armani told Women’s Wear Daily.

The brand has not yet confirmed when the line will retail, and is yet to reveal details of the new project.

armani Le Sac 11 teaser

Giorgio Armani to unveil “Le Sac 11”

armani Le Sac 11 teaser

To mark the brand’s 40 years of fashion this year,  is launching a new bag for his most loyal followers.

The Italian designer will unveil the special 40th anniversary edition Le Sac 11 bag, next month during Milan and Paris Fashion Week.

Shoppers in Milan will be able to snap up the collector’s item at the Antonia boutique from March 1.

Armani fans in Paris will be able to purchase the exclusively designed top-handle limited editions, four days later at luxury concept store L’Eclaireur.

Customers will be spoilt for choice as the bag comes in various colors and finishes (including crocodile skin, tanned leather, and calfskin), and in three sizes: small, medium and large.

The design features precious metal fittings and covered rivets at the handles’ closure.

Le Sac 11 was named after the brand’s lucky number 11. 

Giorgio Armani was born on July11, 1934, and the double-digit is also the street number of the Armani headquarters in Milan.

The handbag will retail in Giorgio Armani boutiques starting from April.