Tag Archives: Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton’s ‘Volez, Voguez, Voyagez’ Exhibition Opens in New York

Opened to the public last week in New York City’s former American Stock Exchange building, ‘Volez, Voguez, Voyagez’ exhibition reviews the history of Louis Vuitton from 1854 until the modern day. The same exhibition first made an entrance at the Grand Palais, Paris in December 2015 and has since enjoyed successful stints in Tokyo and Seoul.

Curated by Olivier Saillard, French’s star fashion curator, historian, and performer, ‘Volez, Voguez, Voyagez’ in New York explores the archives of the House’s founding family members.

And opening up like a book, the exhibition takes visitors on a journey through the various chapters and discover from 1854, through depictions of the Maison’s founding members and how they have brought the brand’s journey to global success.

And continuing from the creators of Louis Vuitton of tomorrow – Nicolas Ghesquière, who is the current creative director, at the helm of the house of Louis Vuitton’s womenswear collections, breathes life into the brand with cutting-edge fashion offering for forward-thinking fashion designers and fashionistas in the world.

The journey continues…

Divided into ten chapters, the first chapter opens to an antique trunk fashioned with contemporary flair, signifying a symbol of the House’s signature luxury luggage options. The final room shares the story of the brand’s history in New York City and the US.

Louis Vuitton also created pop-up boutique to kick-start its exhibition at the city’s Brookfield Place. View a curated assortment of leather accessories to fragrances in the lovely boutique, which will run for a limited time only.

The ‘Volez, Voguez, Voyagez’ exhibition will run till Jan 7, 2018.

For more information, please visit http://eu.louisvuitton.com/eng-e1/heritage-savoir-faire/nycvvv#

Louis Vuittion opens ‘Time Capsule’ exhibition at ION, Singapore

Facade of ‘Time Capsule’ exhibition. Image courtesy Louis Vuitton

In an exhibition traversing the highlights of its 163-year history, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton presents ‘Time Capsule’, showing in Singapore at ION Orchard until 5 November.

Revisiting landmark innovations in technology and design, ‘Time Capsule’ makes use of a visual timeline featuring interactive digital experiences and rare objects from the Louis Vuitton archive.

‘Magic Malle’ at Time Capsule. Image courtesy Louis Vuittion

Demonstrating how the brand has adapted to the demands of a changing world, the exhibition traces the fashion house’s history back to its roots in 1854. It focuses on key aspects of the brand: from its distinctive design features on Louis Vuitton’s very first trunks, to its forays  into the world of architecture, fashion and art.

‘Journeys around the world’ at Time Capsule. Image courtesy Louis Vuitton

‘Time Capsule’ will open in Dubai on November 7, and Shanghai on November 18.

‘Journeys around the world’ at Time Capsule. Image courtesy Louis Vuitton

From Hatebeast to Hypebeast: Lawsuits and 30 years later, Streetwear has overtaken Louis Vuitton and Gucci

Tailor Daniel Day aka Dapper Dan was a streetwear pioneer when he incorporated luxury brand motifs by creating "bootleg" fur jackets by adapting branded garment bags, sparking a commercially successful trend. He was eventually sued, his store closed and today, we have come full circle with Gucci paying homage to his original 80s creation. He appears in NYT as a result.

Tailor Daniel Day aka Dapper Dan was a streetwear pioneer when he incorporated luxury brand motifs by creating “bootleg” fur jackets by adapting branded garment bags, sparking a commercially successful trend. He was eventually sued, his store closed and today, we have come full circle with Gucci paying homage to his original 80s creation. He appears in NYT as a result.

It’s official, the luxury industry is at a cross-roads – from big watch conglomerates struggling to find their footing to big fashion brands collaborating with small counter-culture brands for survival and relevance, luxury brand Chief Executives are going to find themselves asking one crucial question – in an industry steeped in heritage, tradition and classicism, how does one look forward without betraying these very values? More importantly, how do brands ensure commercial survival by appealing to a younger generation of shoppers without alienating the old guards?

But first, we need to understand the definition of the phenomenon we’re are about to explore. What is a hypebeast? According to the Urban Dictionary, It is a person who follows a trend to be cool or in style. A person who wears what is hyped up, collecting clothing and accessories for the sole purpose of impressing others.

Born from East-Coast (that is to say Californian) Skate and Surf culture, Streetwear began its roots with basics tees and denims eventually dressed with graphic logos and motifs pioneered by brands like Japanese A Bathing Ape and Supreme. Thus, with the now obvious synergy between prestige branding and prominent (if satirical) labelling, one can start to understand why the blending of cultures between streetwear and high fashion was inevitable.

From Hatebeast to Hypebeast: Lawsuits and 30 years later, Streetwear culture has overtaken Louis Vuitton and Gucci

On 19 January 2017, Guy Trebay opined in the New York Times that “Maybe Louis Vuitton Should Have Stayed Enemies with Supreme” – He recalled a lawsuit in 2000 when Louis Vuitton sued Supreme with a cease-and-desist order when the streetwear label spoofed the Louis Vuitton monogram on their skateboard deck. Little would they know that slightly under 20 years later, Louis Vuitton would be willingly surrendering their precious brand DNA and voluntarily joining prestige wear with devil-may-care streetwear in their latest Louis Vuitton men’s Fall Winter 2017 collection.

Cultural appropriation? Culture War? Or Just plain Culture? A Brief History on Streetwear’s influence on Fashion

In the 1980s, a designer from the streets of Harlem became notorious for his streetwear looks – Daniel Day, better known as Dapper Dan, was a legendary tailor who would make bespoke pieces for his rapper and athlete clientele with logos from many of the big fashion brands. His designs were of such popularity with the likes of Olympic sprinter Diane Dixon (and other notable entertainment celebrities) that his boutique was eventually sued out of existence in 1992.

Gucci Cruise 2018 collection. Image: Gucci instagram

Gucci Cruise 2018 collection. Image: Gucci instagram

26 years later, Gucci dropped a look in their Cruise 2018 collection which appeared to have been ripped off a design by the Harlem tailor and many on the internet were quick to pounce on the fashion house including sprinter Dixon for whom Dapper Dan had famously created the puffy sleeved fur jacket with Louis Vuitton monogram (rather than the interlocking Gucci Gs).

“Give credit to @dapperdanharlem He did it FIRST in 1989!” – Diane Dixon on Instagram

 

In response to the internet ire, Gucci released a statement – “Gucci’s ‘new Renaissance’ cruise 2018 fashion show included references to periods of revitalization spanning many different eras, in particular the European Renaissance, the ’70s and the ’80s. The collection also saw a continuation of Alessandro Michele’s exploration of faux-real culture with a series of pieces playing on the Gucci logo and monogram, including a puff-sleeved bomber jacket from the 1980s in an homage to the work of the renowned Harlem tailor Daniel ‘Dapper Dan’ Day and in celebration of the culture of that era in Harlem.”

Indeed, the Alessandro Michele had tagged him on Instagram after failing to get in touch with Dan in an instagram caption saying: Inside the #GucciCruise18 collection by #AlessandroMichele, a look that celebrates an iconic style of hip-hop fashion culture from the 80s—a plush jacket featuring puffy sleeves monogrammed in GG motif. Legendary tailor Dapper Dan @dapperdanharlem influenced the trend by making such custom pieces for his rapper and athlete clients out of logos from famous fashion houses, including #Gucci. In a homage to Dapper Dan, this jacket worn with jeans and a lurex headpiece is flanked with a striped knit with cross-stitch embroidery, cotton shorts and a georgette gown with trompe l’oeil details.

As THE original “influencer” (today, a derogatory term describing wannabe instagram “bloggers”), so powerful was Dan’s vision that in the 10 years he operated Dapper Dan’s Boutique, he turned a tidy profit upcycling garment bags from Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Fendi which he then cut and tailored into bespoke fur coats and sharp suits. At the height of its popularity, Dan started to offer his custom skills to auto-detailing with services to brand cars with the monograms and logos of upscale fashion brands. It was a look which travelled by word of mouth and walking advertisements (his customers) which caught the attention from rappers to the most unsavory of characters – in an act of true counter-culture, Dapper Dan had appropriated luxurious symbols of wealth for the consumers who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it (NYT has an excellent profile piece on Daniel Day, do check it out). That said, while it appears that his “pirated” style of art would eventually be adopted by the likes of Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Gucci, the truth is, the fashion world has often been finding inspiration in the street.

 

To Gucci’s benefit, the lessons of history are not lost upon them (as befitting a bonafide heritage brand), rather than sue New York Artist Trevor “Trouble” Andrew into oblivion for selling fake GucciGhost items, Alessandro Michele co-opted the artist into the brand, launching GucciGhost as a capsule collection in 2016. For Cruise 2018, Gucci’s Michele also out-pirated the pirates with dodgy-misspellings on their faux Gucci products by adopting the “GUCCY” label on genuine Gucci products – what are the pirates going to do? Sue? It was a move that was incredibly meta and undeniably street; 10 years ago, no one would ever have thought that a fashion brand would ever be capable of winning a street-fight.

And yet, why should it surprise anyone that the fashion world has been finding inspiration and muse in everyday things? Largely cyclical, Louis Vuitton’s take on the “China” shopping Bag (so named for the Chinese immigrants who used them to carry wares around) in 2007 found a new interpretation in Balenciaga this time, trolling the fashion world with their Thai shopping bag (commonly seen in Bangkok were shoppers at the various Thai market would carry their.. you get the point).

Pictured left: Louis Vuitton shopping bag. Right; "Chinatown" shopping bag popularised by Chinese immigrants

Pictured left: Louis Vuitton shopping bag. Right; “Chinatown” shopping bag popularised by Chinese immigrants

2001: A collision course between Louis Vuitton and Streetwear

How does a heritage malletier that  is trunk-maker become a collaborator with a streetwear brand infused with the edgy rebellion of skateboard indie culture? Slowly. In 2001, then Creative Director Marc Jacobs presided over one of the most non-Louis Vuitton eras in the history of the maison. Jacobs started to work with designers like Stephen Sprouse, Murakami and Yayoi Kusama to re-interpret and get creative with the brand’s signature motifs. Right up till that point, any alteration or perceived “denigration” of the logo was a big no no in accordance with branding principles but Jacobs managed to convince his bosses and the result was a Louis Vuitton reborn for a younger audience, no longer the domain of wealthy white ladies of leisure; reportedly, Louis Vuitton made US$300 million from the collaboration and the maison realised: hey, if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

Marc Jacobs with Murakami at the launch of the Cherry World

Marc Jacobs with Murakami at the launch of the Cherry World

The Cherry World of Takashi Murakami, a collaboration with Louis Vuitton

The Cherry World of Takashi Murakami, a collaboration with Louis Vuitton

Kim Jones is likely the most influential designer you’ve never heard of. Handling high street and high fashion with equal panache is not a skillset that many designers are capable of. A streetwear enthusiast and collector, Jones, a MA graduate of Central Saint Martins, first unveiled his namesake label in 2003 with a collection inspired of 90s rave culture – the sort of underground counter-culture adjacent with the skateboarding, underground party attending crowd. The year after, Umbro by Kim Jones was his foray into sportswear where he pioneered the concept of “athleisure” – a major pillar of streetwear philosophy – garments meant for skateboarding and active living – designer sneakers and fashion pump paired with playful prints  added street flair to once unfashionable sporting attire. By 2006, he was awarded Menswear Designer of the Year Award by the British Fashion Council, with his various looks: suits with sneakers, athleisure tracksuits and puffer coats, he was telegraphic his passion for streetwear from high street to high fashion. When Kanye West was launching clothing line Pastelle in 2008, Jones too headed that project – neon colours and flair, signature of Kanye’s sartorial sensitives were capably demonstrated by Jones. Like Dapper Dan, having an A-list hip hop performer wearing you swag is 100 points on the street-cred-meter. Leaving his position as Creative Director at Dunhill, Kim Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011. There he parlayed his deft touch with punk, hype and culture by working with Kiro Hirata – adding an artisanal touch to streetwear through the Japanese craft of patching denim or boro. Jones’s international jetset outlook with childhood from Botswana to Tanzania allow him the advantage of a plethora of motifs which African-American cultures would find attractive. After Hirata, Jones worked with Hiroshi Fujiwara, incorporating more streetwear elements into Louis Vuitton.

“I take the DNA of the brand and infuse it with something else to create excitement, some critics say that I’m just jumping on the bandwagon, but actually I’m not, it’s always been part of my DNA.” – Kim Jones to South China Morning Post

mrkimjones instagram: Louis Vuitton X Fragment coming soon @fujiwarahiroshi photographed by #pieterhugo

mrkimjones instagram: Louis Vuitton X Fragment coming soon @fujiwarahiroshi photographed by #pieterhugo

The critical debate on the joining of streetwear label and luxury brand is heated; thus LUXUO decided to speak to Mark Sabotage, a prominent Singaporean sneaker artist and streetwear aficionado about the debate surrounding the blurring of lines between street and high fashion.

“There used to be a clear line between luxury and street which then became blur and now it’s almost non existent. With this collaboration, it’s now evident. To me, this is a real mark in the history books when street culture rose to power, much like how hip hop became the soundtrack of white america slowly in the early 2000s and especially when Eminem was created.” – Mark Sabotage aka SBTG

So you don’t think it’s selling out? Isn’t this culture about individuality and independence (if not rebellion)?

Supreme runs 20+ years deep and the people who where in the start of such cultures all grew up to be some one of power in whatever industry they are in. And i would think Kim Jones is part of this culture. So to me, its a natural progression.

The world is changing, batons are passed , and young people are more in power now vs 20 years back. So many ‘old’ brands wanna project a younger image now.

Gone is the brown Louis Vuitton signature colourway and in comes the distinct red Supreme colour scheme.

Gone is the brown Louis Vuitton signature colourway and in comes the distinct red Supreme colour scheme.

Doesn’t this benefit LV commercially and hurt Supreme in terms of street cred?

I personally don’t feel so. There used to be a clear line between luxury and street which then became blur and now it’s almost non existent. With this collaboration, it’s now evident. To me, this is a real mark in the history books when street culture rose to power, much like how hip hop became the soundtrack of white america slowly in the early 2000s and especially when Eminem was created.

So this isn’t about rich people branded labels vs. non-conformist street skateboarders – this is more like the natural evolution of two cultures joining together, there never was a “culture war” to begin with?

Yes, it’s my observation since I became a part of the culture since day 1. Some consumers may take it personally and feel betrayed but truly, history happens anyway with or without your consent. Kim Jones has deep street culture background and now he has risen to power and with it, the right to call the shots. Skateboarding has contributed to fashion more than everyone thinks. Streetwear mocked luxury in many ways in the 90s, made spoofs. Skateboarding is the genesis of so many things, Vans shoes has skate roots and now the world is wearing them.

Mr. Sabotage's own 'Charlie 101' cargo tote adapted from a vintage postal and a Birkin bag.

Mr. Sabotage’s own ‘Charlie 101’ cargo tote adapted from a vintage postal and a Birkin bag.

To get the perspective on the fashion side of things, LUXUO spoke to Jasmine Tuan, Creative Director at Brandmama Pte Ltd and Co-founder at FrüFrü & Tigerlily to hear what she thinks of the Louis Vuitton x Supreme collaboration.

Brands are playing strong to keep themselves relevant. – Jasmine Tuan, Brandmama Pte Ltd

Who do you feel it benefits more? Louis Vuitton or Supreme?

It is similar to H&M x Margiela, Marni, Balmain; Collaboration is another way to create hype, media buzz which in turn converts to hype and profit.

Jasmine Tuan, Creative Director at Brandmama Pte Ltd and Co-founder at FrüFrü & Tigerlily; She was also Managing Director of the now defunct but critically successful Blackmarket

Jasmine Tuan, Creative Director at Brandmama Pte Ltd and Co-founder at FrüFrü & Tigerlily; She was also Managing Director of the now defunct but critically successful Blackmarket

But if profit is the objective, what happens to street cred?

In order to sustain any brand, you need money and cash flow. When is the last time a Supreme fan bought a Supreme item? When is the last time an LV fan bought an LV item?

Although both brands have strong following, people might stop going in to a Supreme or LV boutique to shop for their usual range or follow their new collection, but would go visit the brands again for such collaboration since there is a new reason to buy something new and limited.

Some even see it as investment as they know prices will go up and they can fetch profit and returns. It’s a clever move to stir media buzz and sales. Limited editions have been proven to work – H&M collaborations Balmain, Marni, Margiela, Valentino are all snapped by Day one. Today, people are still selling them at a higher price whether it’s worn once or new., simply because you can’t get it in the market anymore.

So the whole point of “counter culture” street wear is irrelevant? There’s no more rebellion? The brands have won?

It still exists and is very much relevant. Just that a few of them who still have minds of their own and are not affected by social media hype. Brands are playing strong to keep themselves relevant.

Louis Vuitton sued Supreme to stop production and sale of the LV skateboard deck. It is noteworthy that instead of the brown colour palette, Louis Vuitton has now adopted Supreme's red colourway instead. Also, an original 2000 Supreme LV deck just sold on eBay for $10,000. Beat that with a stick.

Louis Vuitton sued Supreme to stop production and sale of the LV skateboard deck. It is noteworthy that instead of the brown colour palette, Louis Vuitton has now adopted Supreme’s red colourway instead. Also, an original 2000 Supreme LV deck just sold on eBay for $10,000. Beat that with a stick.

The need to Appeal to the Younger Generation is not Unique to Fashion, the Watch Industry is also undergoing upheaval and renewal

Indeed, targeting the next generation (if not a younger generation) of well-financed consumers is not a phenomenon unique to the fashion industry. The watch industry is also just finding its way out of one of the longest periods of market contraction in recent history.

In 2016, Patek Philippe set tongues wagging when they released the most “unlikely Patek Philippe watch” ever – the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Ref. 5524. According to CEO Thierry Stern, the new novelty was meant to draw attention from a generation of new watch consumers who were “not interested in their father’s watch”, though the brand drew some flak for its close similarity to another manufacture’s offering, the Calatrava Pilot Travel Time was a commercial success, so much so that this year, Patek Philippe launched the US only limited edition 5522A Pilot’s Calatrava as part of the celebrations for the Art of Watchmaking Grand Exhibition. And it’s not just Patek Philippe, brands like Corum are also starting to appeal to a younger audience with fun Bubble watches and collaborations with designers.

Truth is, whatever the commercial realities are in whichever industry, there will always be a clarion call for “honesty” and a rootedness in the brand. For now, in a highly cynical marketplace, there is no doubt that collaborations are commercial successes. But it remains to be seen if collaborations are the way forward, after all, there’s still a demand for authenticity. Sure, there will be demand for Supreme for Louis Vuitton items but there’s a good chance your purist streetwear aficionados who typically queue outside Supreme’s flagship in New York are not the same people who are in line at Vuitton stores. These rebels make an unhyped product “hype” by virtue of their power as trendsetters rather than trend-followers, they alone stand as templars to the concept of street credibility.

That said, we live in a very unique age where the big brands have stopped hating the hypebeast and embraced them; Yet, the hypebeast stands separate from a new creature – the Hautebeast; this Hautebeast is in all of us (at least lovers of luxury goods and prestige products).

 

 

Business of Luxury: Vertu is Dead and It was Never the “Rolex of Phones” and this casts doubt on Luxury Smartwatches

It’s official. Vertu is dead. According to BBC, the British-based luxury phone maker with Hampshire factory and headquarters and an army of craftsmen hand assembling each smartphone, each costing thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars will go into liquidation after plans to save the luxury phone maker from bankruptcy failed. In 2015, it was reported that Vertu sold 425,000 (more on that in a moment) luxury smartphones and in recent years, Vertu had fallen on hard times with the recent liquidation resulting in the loss of 200 jobs, no word yet on what would happen with its boutiques worldwide.

That said, it is somewhat miraculous that high-end, jewel-encrusted handsets have been a trend that has lasted close to 10 years. During the early 2000s, luxury phones or fashion phones with precious material trimmings were produced by everyone from Nokia to Tag Heuer. But the handsets never quite lived up to the promise of Vertu’s objective of being the “Rolex of phones”.

Business of Luxury: Vertu is Dead and It was Never (Nor could it be) the “Rolex of Phones”

In 2014, then Vertu CEO Massimiliano Pogliani told IBTimes UK, “No one needs one of these phones. [They buy our phones] because they like the object, it’s not about showing you are a wealthy person. It’s an emotional purchase, we don’t want to be the phone of everybody, we want to be the phone for people who appreciate details.”

For all the gold, ruby, diamond and exotic leather details, a Vertu never really became an emotional purchase (unless you count “the wank” factor as an emotion). For emotionality to develop, the seed of genesis is entirely different. A Rolex, or any other handcrafted mechanical watch is built on the foundation that the technology is by nature – everlasting. Hand finished springs, gears, wheels and pinions do not go out of date because they have already transcended that linearity of functionality and obsolescence. Where once it was (almost) obsolete thanks to quartz, they live on today beyond practical time-keeping. This is where emotionality lies, a fine watch exists on your wrist in a state of permanence whereas your smartphone is ever changing by the virtues of its quickly obsolete printed circuit boards and rapidly outdated microchips.

To wit, a $20,000 Rolex does not tell time better than a $20 Casio but dressing a Casio up with precious metals, gems and hand finished pushers does not make it a Rolex anymore than wearing a Ferrari leather jacket makes you an owner of a Ferrari.

 

A spin off from Nokia since 1998, the first Vertu phone made news for being the world’s most expensive cellphone in 2002. 10 years later, private equity firm EQT VI acquired the company. until 2015 when the business was sold to Hong Kong based Godin Holdings. While over 400,000 units of the ultra-luxurious smartphones averaging £5,000 have been sold, the company operated annually with losses of over £15 million in 2013. By 2014, the British company recorded a loss of £53 million on sales on £110 million. Earlier this year, the ailing luxury smartphone maker was sold the company to exiled Turk, Hakan Uzan, for £50 million. His offer of  £1.9 million to consolidate over  £100 million worth of debt fell through. While Vertu did not have any rivals in the space in recent years, there was a spate of close releases in 2008 meant to compete with Vertu in the sphere of well-constructed luxury oriented phones, chiefly, TAG Heuer, Prada and Armani. Even parent company Nokia attempted a more upmarket version of their symbian phone with the 7900 Crystal Prism phone, complete with a Sapphire crystal and engraved design by French graphic designer Frederique Daubal.

The biggest conundrum of operating a luxury smartphone maker with the objective of ‘selling on emotions is that the Vertu was making a big ask for consumers to get attached to a phone which would become outdated each year tech companies release a new iteration of hardware and software platforms. At time of publication, financial woes and liquidation notwithstanding, Vertu sold the Signature, Signature Touch, Aster and Constellation – with one glaring flaw – they were 2014 hardware specs operating 2014 Android OS in the year 2017. All the trappings of precious metals, diamonds and rubies were not going to engender the kind of deep set emotions art, a classic car or a fine mechanical watch was capable of.

Yet, despite its failings, Vertu did have a unique proposition – access to a concierge service which is open to all legal requests. In offering this “money can’t buy” service, Vertu set itself apart from its tech trappings with the minimum £2,000 per year service, upgraded for more bespoke service, but somehow was never able to leave behind its tech failings.

 

Vertu’s demise casts doubts on the genre of Luxury Smartwatches

Last October 2016, Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2017 presentation showed that this luxury maison was going to avoid what Prada and Armani had previously unleashed to lacklustre performance. Instead of focusing on tech, they focused on what Louis Vuitton does best – They made an accessory. Just as you dressed in their couture or toted their latest bag, Louis Vuitton unveiled the Eye-Trunk iPhone Case. While it is not this author’s cup of tea, the Eye-Trunk iPhone Case was an authentic emblem of the brand, Vuitton was neither entering an arena it was not familiar with, nor setting itself up for chasing an endless technology product cycle. If your iPhone became outdated, you merely slipped out the old version (and given Apple’s propensity to keeping the design fairly similar to older iterations), and placed the latest version with the Eye-Trunk iPhone Case – so named one assumes because Apple has registered all lowercase “i” prefixes as trademarks.

But then, recently, Louis Vuitton chose to enter the genre of the luxury smartwatch. While it is an undeniably beautiful piece of wrist instrumentation equipped with the maison’s own City Guides with proximity alerts, the Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon with airport concierge (in that never again will you have to look up terminal and gate details on Google, they’re all accessible from the watch the minute you email your flight booking to a Louis Vuitton address) is actually a polished (or brushed) piece of hardware. Queries to Louis Vuitton Singapore have confirmed that unlike the other LVMH smartwatch offering from TAG Heuer, there is no upgrade or trade in path for the Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon to be turned into a mechanical watch by ponying up a few thousand dollars more.

In essence, the permanence and raison d’etre of luxury (ironically, how Louis Vuitton became reputed for in the first place – their water resistant trunks were designed to endure repeated journeys about steamships while their competitor’s suitcases often deformed with water damage) runs contrary to the consistent obsolescence of technology. Recently failure of Jawbone, maker of bluetooth fitness devices and Fitbit, also bear out the idea that wearable tech is still largely experimental at best and to endow such “throwaway” gadgets with the eternity of diamonds and assorted gemstones, is to only fight against the natural product cycle. To sum up, a corded rotary phone has better luck becoming a permanent artistic/design fixture amongst your personal belongings than a smartphone which gets replaced at a fraction of the cost with the next slimmer model at double the processing power and twice the megapixel capture ability.

Luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton debuts Tambour Horizon smartwatch

Image courtesy Louis Vuitton

On Tuesday, luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton debuted its first-ever smartwatch, the Tambour Horizon.

Jumping onto the bandwagon of luxury fashion brands creating designer smartwatches, the Tambour Horizon is Louis Vuitton’s take on the increasingly popular connected watch. Developed in partnership with Google and Qualcomm, the Horizon uses the Android Wear 2.0 platform, as well as a number of other features that are distinctively Louis Vuitton.

True to its origins, the Tambour Horizon is marketed as a traveller’s watch right off the bat. Borrowing its sleek, elegant design from the Tambour — the iconic piece that launched Louis Vuitton into the world of watchmaking 15 years ago — the smartwatch blends timeless design with cutting-edge tech. Combining an interchangeable strap system and customisable watch faces with exclusive flight-tracking and city-mapping functions, it’s made for the dedicated and style-conscious traveller.

Image courtesy Louis Vuitton

The Tambour Horizon features a 42mm stainless steel case and a 1.2” AMOLED touchscreen, as well as a sapphire glass case back, printed with the Louis Vuitton logo. It uses the Qualcomm® Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform, and it’s compatible with smartphones running Android 4.3/iOS 9 or higher.

The Tambour Horizon retails both online and in Louis Vuitton stores. It’s available in three different designs: Black, Graphite, and Monogram.

For further information, visit Louis Vuitton.

ilyda chua

“Cabinet of Wonders: The Gaston-Louis Vuitton Collection” by Louis Vuitton

Image courtesy Louis Vuitton

Comprising over a thousand objects from far and wide, the personal collection of Gaston-Louis Vuitton, grandson of the founder of the House, will soon be made available to the public with the release of the new book by Louis Vuitton, ‘Cabinet of Wonders: The Gaston-Louis Vuitton Collection’.

Over the years of his travels, Gaston-Louis Vuitton — the ‘unrepentant collector’ — amassed hundreds of curiosities in his collection, including vintage trunks, antique travel articles and other typographical rarities. From rare antiques to exotic eccentricities, this collection of paraphernalia is a mélange of the strange and the wonderful.

Image courtesy Louis Vuitton

Featuring an assortment of items related to travel, invention, craftsmanship and bibliophilia, this fascinating assemblage offers an unprecedented insight into four key aspects in Gaston-Louis’s life as a traveller, an inventor, a craftsman and an erudite.

A testament to his extraordinary curiosity and imagination, Gaston-Louis’s cabinet of wonders is a must-have for anyone inspired by bizarre and eclectic curiosities, the quest for exceptional objects and the decorative arts.

Image courtesy Louis Vuitton

‘Cabinet of Wonders: The Gaston-Louis Vuitton Collection’ will be available from July 1 in Louis Vuitton stores, and in bookstores worldwide from September 21.

ilyda chua

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Louis Vuitton Cruise Collection 2018 by Nicolas Ghesquière in Kyoto, Japan

On May 14, luxury fashion magnate Louis Vuitton lifted the veil off their stunning 2018 Cruise Collection — at a venue that was just as breathtaking. Helmed by the brand’s creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, the collection was shown at the Miho Museum in Kyoto, Japan atop a metal bridge overlooking the Shingaraki Mountains. The shift to the I.M Pei designed venue comes after previous cruise collections being unveiled in Monaco, Palm Springs and Rio de Janeiro. Lauded as a venue that encapsulates the fusion of urban and natural, the beautiful scenery made the event truly one to not be missed. The star-studded event saw celebrities such as Michelle Williams, Sophie Turner, Fan Bing Bing and Jennifer Connelly in the front row.

The collaboration between Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto and Louis Vuitton saw pieces infused with classic Japanese art and Kabuki-inspired designs. Japanese actress Rila Fukushima opened the show dressed in a belted fur jacket, along with a striped cotton shirt. Models took to the long catwalk in sequined t-shirt dresses alongside bold Kabuki prints, as well as garments resembling samurai armour and Japanese traditional dress. Sheer evening dresses shimmering with gold and silver sequins dazzled in the sunlight.

Accessories included Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogrammed bags and mini-trunks, but with an added twist by Kansai Yamamoto. The designer created symbols and icons resembling Kabuki masks for the accessories line, injecting another splash of vibrancy.

Japanese influences were prevalent even in the models’ makeup. Bold colours were blended seamlessly into the face, highlighted with the use of eyeliner and dramatic brows; referencing the Kabuki. The look played perfectly into the theme of fusing modernity and the traditional, standing out in the largely minimalist backdrop of the museum.

“I visited the Miho Museum a few years ago and was fascinated by I.M. Pei’s concept of the harmony between architecture and nature. Japan is a country I know well. It was one of the first places I travelled to when I was seeking inspiration, some 20 years ago, and I’ve been a regular visitor ever since. This collection is the culmination of what Japan has given to me for a very long time,” said Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquière in a statement.

Since the end of the 19th century, Louis Vuitton has always maintained strong ties with Japan: the mon (family crest) inspirations of the Monogram canvas; the long list of renowned Japanese clients; Louis Vuitton’s first store in Tokyo in 1978; and the collaborations with Japanese contemporary artists such as Takashi Murakami, Yayoi Kusama, Rei Kawabuko and today Hiroshi Fujiwara.

For more information, visit Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton unveils “Masters” collaboration with pop-artist Jeff Koons in Paris

Ever look at a painting and think: That would look great on me? Well now’s your chance. French luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton isn’t stopping at its recent Supreme collaboration. The fashion house dropped its collaboration with esteemed Pop-Artist Jeff Koons at the Louvre museum in Paris recently.

The collection, entitled “Masters”, includes handbags, scarves, laptop cases and other accessories, all featuring prints of famous masterpieces, including Leonardo da Vinci‘s “Mona Lisa”, Vincent van Gogh‘s “Wheat Field with Cypresses”, Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s “Young Girl Playing with her Dog”, Titian’s “Mars, Venus and Cupid”, and “The Tiger Hunt” by Peter Paul Rubens.

The name of the artist is emblazoned across each bag in shiny metal letters, while Koons’ signature and the Louis Vuitton monogram are subtly located in each corner. A dangling leather charm is reminiscent of Koons’ famous “Rabbit” sculpture (1986), while inside each bag is a biography and sketch of the artist whose work adorns the outside, and the name of the museum where the painting can be viewed.

Koons, who is most famous for his huge sculptures of balloon animals cast in metal, often uses reproductions of famous paintings in his work. His 2015 series “Gazing Ball” featured pieces such as Édouard Manet’s “Le déjeuner sur l’Herbe,” Claude Monet‘s “Water Lilies” and Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss,” with shiny blue spheres attached to them to reflect the image of the viewer.

For Louis Vuitton, this is just the latest in a long line of successful collaborations with artists. The brand has previously worked with Yayoi Kusama, Takeshi Murakami and Stephen Sprouse, among others.

The collection will be available from 28 April, 2017, on the Louis Vuitton website and in stores. Forty pieces are available to view as of now at Louis Vuitton. with prices starting at €395 for a rabbit bag charm, and going up to to €3,000 for the larger bags.

Luxury furniture for the home: Louis Vuitton unveils the new Objets Nomades collection for 2017 in Milan

Luxury magnate Louis Vuitton gets ready to showcase its new Objets Nomades collection. The brand marries functionality with design, promising top designer products. The French luxury luggage-maker will unveil ten new pieces from its travel-inspired Objets Nomades collection at the Milan Furniture Fair, taking place from April 14 to 19.

Talisman Table by India Mahdavi

Mahdavi’s side table is inspired by the nomadic hospitality of the Middle East. It consists of a leather-bound portable base which closes like a book and a blue leather marquetry tray displaying an antidote to the evil eye.

Blossom Stool by Tokujin Yoshioka

Blossom Stool is a reference to the historic Louis Vuitton monogram. The stool is available in black and white. There is also a 24-carat gold-chromed version which is an exclusive 12 piece limited edition.

Bomboca Sofa by the Campana Brothers

These two designers sought inspiration from the candies served at marriages and children’s festivals in Brazil. The result is a collection of eight removable cushions laid out on a leather-covered rigid base. The cushions — made out of fabric or leather — can be used separately as poufs.

Palaver Chair by Patricia Urquiola

This remarkable chair is made from woven perforated leather.

Diamond Screen by Marcel Wanders

This leather screen can be suspended from its metal frame or a ceiling. Each piece, which is inspired by the diamond shape of the Louis Vuitton monogram, is held onto the others with brass clasps similar to those found on Louis Vuitton bags.

Lune Chairs by Marcel Wanders

The designer Marcel Wanders came up with this wooden rocking chair with a molded leather seat and back.

Twist Lamp by Atelier Oï

Above the base, this lamp is surrounded by twisted leather straps, each one with natural leather on one side and shiny leather on the other. The lamp is available in two different heights and three colors: beige and gold; red; and blue and silver. An anodized aluminum ring, which holds in the straps, can be moved to change the proportions of the lamp.

Swing Boat by Atelier Oï

The Swing Boat sofa was inspired by a vintage folding boat that the Atelier Oï designers use on Switzerland’s Lake Biel. Its “hull” is made of canvas reinforced by wooden circles, gilded brass hinges, and comfortable leather cushions. The sofa can swing gently on its leather straps. When it’s not being used, it can be folded away — just like the folding boat.

Belt Chair by Atelier Oï

This steel-framed chair is wrapped in eight leather straps which provide comfort, strength and durability, and give the seat and back an undulating surface, like a sand dune in 3D.

My Shelves by Raw Edges

Raw Edges’ foldable shelves in aluminum, leather and wood are shaped like an origami boat.

Nautical inspired accessories: Louis Vuitton America’s Cup collection celebrates the America’s Cup in Bermuda

The 35th America’s Cup is set to take place in Bermuda this June. As the yachting equivalent of the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the America’s Cup is setting sail with the top yacht teams, each competing for the title. In line with the event and the coming of spring, partner Louis Vuitton has unveiled a luxury lifestyle collection for men. Chock full of leather goods, eyewear, shoes and accessories— all inspired by and featuring nautical elements — the collection brings forth stellar options that fit like a glove for a day of boating.

1. Accessories

These charms are delightfully nautical themed, with designs ranging from cute to chic. Choose from either a swimming sea turtle as a companion or a more practical torchlight. The charms double as a key holder suitable for those who do not want the hassle of carrying a bag.

2. Dockside Bracelet

Dockside Bracelet

The collection also boasts a few wrist candy choices that continue to be influenced by nautical motifs. Reminiscent of boating ropes, the bracelet is helmed by a thick band in the ever elegant colour of white and navy. The bracelet is enamelled with V Gaston logos well as a Louis Vuitton signature on the clasp.  Closed with a brass clasp, the playful and easy to wear bracelet is sure to be a hit with sailing enthusiasts.

3. Leather Bags

A collection cannot be complete without Louis Vuitton’s signature leather goods. Sporty and sleek, the leather goods in this collection come in a variety of sizes. The bags sport a Damier Cobalt coated canvas along with cowhide leather trim. Not to mention, these pieces also come stamped with the iconic “V Gaston” Logo, a Louis Vuitton signature since 1901. Alongside the haversacks, there is also Keepall 45 Bandoulière. This collectible edition of the Keepall 45 is designed specially for the America’s Cup 2017, making it surely a must-have piece for collectors.

The collection will be available in selected Louis Vuitton stores worldwide from March 2017 onwards. In Singapore, the collection will be stocked at Louis Vuitton Island Maison at Marina Bay Sands, Ngee Ann City and ION Orchard.

For more information, do visit americascup.com and louisvuitton.com

Valentine’s day gift ideas: Accessories for him and her from Louis Vuitton, Dunhill and more

Valentine’s Day is one of the many days of the year that draws for jeers and cheers around the world. While there are those who believe that cupid simply aims his arrow to drum up sales of chocolates, flowers, romantic gifts and even luxurious getaways, there are others who embrace it with arms wide open. As hopeless romantics, we believe that the day can help those not used to wearing their heart on their sleeves show their true emotions. We help you pick out Valentine’s Day gifts for that special him or her in your life because, as a wise Ronan Keating once said, sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all.

For Her

Louis Vuitton Bracelets Idylle Twist

Forget about a bouquet of flowers or even a single rose this Valentine’s. Go with an everlasting floral dedication with the Idylle Twist bracelet from the luxury French brand. Featuring the iconic Louis Vuitton monogrammed flowers in three variations, it now joins our ever-growing wish list of accessories to have. The monogrammed flowers are seen free, enclosed in a circle or diamond and are available in pink, white or yellow gold. What makes it so special is that the Idylle Twist bracelet is highly flexible and is easy to slip on. We suggest wearing more than one of these to combine the varying shades of gold — why stop at one when these serve as a perfect substitute to a dozen roses?

Saint Laurent Opyum Shoes

If she happens to be a lover of fashion and shoes in particular, then this may be the perfect gift to have her head over heels (pun intended). Straight from Saint Laurent’s spring 2017 collection, the Opyum shoes are said to be a signature piece for the brand. Designed by Anthony Vaccarello, the 4.3-inch shoes in black patent leather are sure to make a statement with the YSL Cassandre logo incorporated into the heel.

For Him

Dunhill Sentryman Pen

Writing instruments have long been an accessory reserved for gentlemen and Dunhill has checked all the boxes with the new Sentryman Pen additions. Only 15 of these limited edition creations have been made so it would be wise to get your hands on them while you still can. Numbered and fitted with a London assay mark that can be found engraved at the base of the cap, the pen carries all the hallmarks of Dunhill’s refined style. The Guilloche top adds to the look of the pen along with the Grade 1, 0.06-carat crown cut diamond on the top of the lid. The pens come in Navy Resin and pink gold-plating and well as Barley Navy resin in Ballpoint or Rollerball.

Berluti Nino GM 

Straight from the brand’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection, the clutch is just the right accessory for the man who loves the leather creations by Berluti. The perfect balance of style and function, the clutch features Berluti’s Venezia leather with iconic Berluti Scritto design in Tobacco bis. The Nino Gm is available in meteorite and coral.

louis vuitton Ngee Ann City store

Louis Vuitton at Ngee Ann City, Singapore: A new shopping experience awaits at the revamped store on Orchard Road

After 20 years at Ngee Ann City, Louis Vuitton‘s Orchard Road boutique in Singapore gets a stunning makeover to celebrate two decades of residency in the iconic shopping mall – and just in time for the festive season.

Dressed in the Maison’s signature Monogram Flower pattern that has been reinterpreted in shiny copper with a fading effect, the exterior façade features a mixed use of stone, glass and metal – materials that signifies authenticity and tradition.

louis vuitton Ngee Ann City storeInside, the look is subdued yet stately, thanks to luxurious fittings such as cerused oak with gold leaf, natural stone floors, plush furniture by Paul Evans and Helene de Saint Lager, and splendid hand-knotted carpets from Nepal.

The most noticeable feature of the new space is, in our minds, the Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta’s installation. Made of glass, wire, LED and electronics, the art installation is equipped with a motion detector, interacting with visitors when they pass. Original art pieces by Farhad Moshiri, Michael Brunn and Lonneke Gordijn lends a warm, homely touch to the swish space.

louis vuitton Ngee Ann City store

Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta art installation

On the ground floor, you’ll first discover the uptown-chic leather goods, accessories and the new Les Parfums collection of the Louis Vuitton women’s universe, before entering the men’s universe and its collection of swanky travel luggages and accessories. Up the emblematic ribbon staircase – the centrepiece of the store – lie more women’s ready-to-wear, shoes, watches, jewellery, leather accessories and travel goods.

The renovated store is now open.

Louis Vuitton Ngee Ann City branch, 391 Orchard Rd, #01-20/24 & #02-12H/J/K/L Ngee Ann City, 238872 Singapore

Design Miami Features Major Brand Collaborations

Maison Kitsuné – John Alcorn capsule collection

The only collaboration listed here that’s not being shown as part of the Design Collaborations section of the show, this capsule collection with French fashion brand Maison Kitsuné will be featured in the Market program, which presents design-driven retail. This limited-edition mini capsule collection created in partnership with Design Miami features work by the late 1960s American illustrator John Alcorn, whose illustrations are used as the fair’s identity this year. The collection will also be available at The Webster Miami, online at Maison Kitsuné and in stores in Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo and New York.

Airbnb – ‘Sobremesa’

Emerging Mexico City-based design studio Pedro&Juana is behind this exploration of shared space, whose name refers to a Mexican tradition of lingering around the table in conversation after a meal. Inspired by iconic Mexican courtyard spaces, the installation will change throughout the week to represent how people live and participate in Airbnb homes them over time. The exhibition also features a program of meals, cocktails and music.

Dean & DeLuca – ‘Stage’

The New York gourmet market and fine food retailer has partnered with architect Ole Scheeren to create a prototype of his design for a food retail concept titled Stage. The prototype features a “glowing, pristine object in polished stainless steel with the undulating topography of a bespoke, high tech display system.” Stage will operate during the fair as Design Miami’s food partner.

Dean & DeLuca's "Stage" by Ole Scheeren © Buro-OS Design Miami 2016

Dean & DeLuca’s “Stage” by Ole Scheeren
© Buro-OS
Design Miami 2016

Fendi – ‘The Happy Room’

The luxury house is bringing an interpretation of a modular VIP room. With simple volumes and rounded shapes, the room by architect Cristina Celestino makes reference to the arch of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana in Rome and features a contrasting play of different types of marble.

Audi – ‘The extra hour’

Luxury car brand Audi will bring a collaboration with LEGO, which takes its inspiration from the Audi RS 7 piloted driving concept. Emphasizing the idea that this technology allows the user to control time, the installations features 13 numerals arranged around the vehicle to form a giant clock, with the number 25 included to symbolize the “extra hour” enabled by the driving technology.

Louis Vuitton – ‘Objets Nomades’

This installation will comprise iconic creations from the Objets Nomades furniture collection, including the
Stool by Atelier Oi, the Cocoon by the Campana Brothers, the Bell Lamp by Barber & Osgerby, the
Swing Chair by Patricia Urquiola and the Lounge Chair by Marcel Wanders. Louis Vuitton will also unveil  the Blossom Stool, designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, and the Fur Cocoon by the Campana Brothers.

Design Miami, which runs alongside Art Basel Miami Beach, bills itself as a “global forum for design,” with a focus on collectible design. This year’s fair runs from November 30 through December 4.

Creating Fashion that Sells Isn’t a Sin

What is the point of high fashion these days? Is there a reason that designers still get to sit on their high horses when the most talked about brand these days is Vetements, with all its nonstop talk about “clothing people actually wear”? It’s really an issue of the industry failing to catch up with the times, which is strangely ironic considering that fashion is supposed to represent and extol the times it lives in.

In the aughts of haute couture, and really since before the time of Charles Frederick Worth (considered the progenitor of high fashion) and Marie Antoinette, what fashion represented in the zeitgeist and times was desire. Plain and simple, it was about elevating and making clothing so beautiful, flattering, and jealousy-inducing that it was a means to a social end. Fashion is so strikingly bourgeois and hierarchical today precisely because it has, for so many years, represented a certain degree of sophistication and, indeed, wealth.

Selling isn't a sin: Chanel

Chanel

So what is high fashion for today, if Chanel is no longer haughtily pronouncing items of clothing démodé and instead, planting emojis onto accessories and clothing? If a brand as vaunted and intellectual as Prada is selling bags straight off the runway, can it still maintain a cachet of luxury and intelligence without the stink of shilling products (perhaps by making customers wait for the rest of its seasonal fashion direction)?

Selling isn't a sin: Balenciaga

Balenciaga

I posit that high fashion today is returning to its core, plain and simple, all over again. It is about beautiful clothing, wonderful things people feel an urge to wear, and representing the cultural values of the times. It is why Balenciaga under Demna Gvasalia feels so… right. With its post-modern melding of old-world techniques and new-age street-wise tricks, it has been vaulted right back into the fashion consciousness – and it is worth paying attention to again. With the advertising and PR money of fashion, it sometimes becomes difficult to differentiate what’s worth the time and what’s paid for. The purest reaction, then, is clothing that can convince customers to part with money to put on their back.

Selling isn't a sin: Vetements

Vetements

The ’90s were all at once the best and worst time for intellectual fashion, but that’s gone down the drain now. Conglomeration of brands and companies meant that fashion as an art and a means to an end was becoming monetized. Think of LVMH, Kering and Prada group’s expansions at the time.

Today, LVMH’s brands are represented in a good half of all fashion magazines’ front bumper of ads. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Céline, Loewe, Kenzo, Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Fendi – even jewelry and watch brands such as Bulgari, Chaumet, Hublot, TAG Heuer, etc. Kering rounds it up with Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, etc. Where did the mavericks like Helmut Lang and Martin Margiela go?

In an environment where people simply demanded more and more clothing, it became hard for such intellectually-driven and conceptual designers to continue – never mind that the clothes they designed and created were eminently wearable and beautiful. But it was tricky, because the old shows from Prada, for instance, were such subtle exercises in decryption. Meaning was layered and veiled, and it took a trained eye and mind to pick apart what exactly Mrs Prada was saying each season. Today, a collection like its FW16 vagabond girls-on-the-run one is, while beautiful, almost obvious to interpret. In recent seasons too: fast cars and sweaty glamour, stiff Stepford wives’ tailoring, duney desert travellers. They make big political and cultural statements, but they’re plain to see.

Selling isn't a sin: Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent

Therein lies the problem. When fashion becomes grounds for intellectual concepts, customers get frustrated. It was famously hard for people to grasp Craig Green’s debut SS15 collection with flowing judoka quilts and banners bound to the models. But it struck a chord with the industry collective viewing the show – inspiring some tears, even. Here was a collection set against an Enya soundtrack, resplendent in creative liberty and in the luxury of time it took to craft. It was beautiful and it sold. Next season, he did a similar thing – line and silhouette were only slightly different, but there was a complete reversal in the reaction of the press. Lambasts of similarity and repetition abounded, and it became clear that the industry was on the same page as its readers’ attention spans. Never mind giving designers time to develop an idea and letting it stew, mutate, evolve and be felt out. We wanted more and more of the new.

Selling isn't a sin: Prada

Prada

So where is intellectual fashion’s place in today’s fast-paced commercial churning environment? It is a conundrum that is hard to solve. Perhaps that is why Vetements is so successful – because it makes you feel like you’re thinking and being smart about things while contributing no effort at all. Perhaps it is why Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent was such a runaway commercial success – because you didn’t have to think while wearing his clothes, you just had to partake in his vacuous vein of L.A. grungy cool. Perhaps it is why Phoebe Philo’s Céline is so influential – women don’t have to think about what they’re representing to the world because Philo’s clothing whispers refinement for them. Perhaps it is why Alessandro Michele’s Gucci is so refreshing – they’re simply fun to wear (the same, season after season) and don’t offer much by way of a political or cultural message.

I am not against any of this.

Selling isn't a sin: Jacquemus

Jacquemus

On the contrary, it is the way fashion is today, and to whine about time gone by is to be astoundingly near-sighted – rather, rear-sighted. Karl Lagerfeld has been so good for Chanel exactly because he takes to the times he lives in like a cultural sponge. There’s a respect to the historical foundations of the brand, but even more surely a perspective of today.

Selling isn't a sin: Gucci

Gucci

What I’m saying is that “commercial” isn’t necessarily a bad word. We’ve been wary of the financial beast for long enough; it’s time to be smart about it and synthesize what we know with what we want. There’s a reason designers such as Christian Lacroix went out of business despite his reign in the ’80s and ’90s in Paris: extravagance and bonanza dresses stopped becoming relevant. After sobering financial crashes, actual plane crashes and a global worldview of uncertainty, the dream was over.

Selling isn't a sin: Dries Van Nolen

Dries Van Nolen

Today, the new dream is perhaps clothes that slide right into daily life. A note: I’m not saying poorly designed and poorly made clothes with nary a thought or smarts should get a pass for being easy to buy and wear. I’m talking about fashion that has a contextual place in contemporary culture and represents a designer’s point of view. Ultimately, that’s the place of fashion: on our backs.

This article was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.

Savoir Flair: 3 Brands Scoring High on Knowhow

The fast-paced world of fashion storms the world with a slew of designs each season, but what’s aesthetic ingenuity if it is not underscored by knowhow? With these words, L’Officiel Singapore won us over and we had to share the story. We are always banging on about craftsmanship and so are luxury brands, big and small, but there is a good reason for this. This article, first published in L’Officiel Singapore, looks at three luxury fashion brands whose accessories are creatively on-point and score high on craftsmanship.

Sole Searching

atelier-bureau-c%cc%a7tude-110

The sport-luxe statement boots that stalked Louis Vuitton’s Fall/Winter 2016 runways aren’t exactly what come to mind when one mentions handmade shoes, but that’s exactly the level of quality the house devotes to its footwear collection. In Venice, Italy, a town called Fiesso d’Artico is the stomping ground of shoe manufacturing, particularly for women’s shoes. It is no coincidence that in 2009, Louis Vuitton chose to set up its shoe plant in Fiesso d’Artico as a space solely for the development and production of footwear – not just bespoke orders and the classics that form the brand’s permanent collections, but the seasonal runway shoes as well.

Just as every pair of shoes from Fiesso d’Artico requires around 200 separate steps both by hand and machine to create, creative director Nicolas Ghesquière’s amplified ankle boots with sneaker influences sport a marriage of traditional shoemaking savoir faire and modern technology.

Timeless Treasure

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Every established luxury brand has a signature item with an appeal that withstands the test of time. For Bottega Veneta, it’s safe to say that the Cabat has been one of its most coveted bags since its debut (it was creative director Tomas Maier’s first design in 2001). An understated classic tote, it’s been reincarnated season after season, year after year, for 15 years – in nappa leather in seasonal colors and exotic skins including croco, karung and ostrich. Trendy editions included Memory (English Lamb with aluminum foil), Crystal Cabat made of polyurethane, and the Lana Cabat made of nappa with wool.

As Cabat fans know, the leather is woven such that the bag has no side seams. About 100 double-faced leather strips, each about 1.60m long, are handwoven in the diagonal pattern that made “intrecciato” synonymous with Bottega Veneta. This can only be done standing up as it requires a lot of strength to work those long strips into a perfect weave – one artisan handles the weaving, and another stitches the base and handles. The bag is always left unlined because it’s as beautiful inside as out, since two-sided leather strips are used.

Close-Knit

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Feel the softer side of leather as we know it with Ermengildo Zegna’s Pelle Tessuta, a luxe fabric-like woven nappa featured in the brand’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection of shoes and accessories. Instead of the traditional fabric yarns used in cloth weaving, lamb nappa leather strips are placed in a warp position and woven together to create an incredibly supple and light material that’s handsome too. While Zegna has always been known for its heritage of quality fabrics and weaving technique, the innovative Pelle Tessuta further cements the brand’s standing in leather-making savoir faire. To maintain high craftsmanship standards, quality control is essential in creating the Pelle Tessuta. Before the woven leather can be cut for sewing, an artisan inspects the leather fabric to ensure the strips are perfectly aligned at the right angles, with not a strand out of place.

This article was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.

MEN’S FOLIO: Ambitious October Issue

MEN’S FOLIO celebrates its 19th anniversary with its October issue with a theme that centers on ambition. The cover of the latest issue features none other than model and emerging actor, Godfrey Gao.

As the first Asian to front a Louis Vuitton campaign, we can look forward to seeing Godfrey Gao make his mark in Hollywood in the years to come. Donning Zegna Couture for this issue’s cover story, the Taiwanese-born Canadian shares that he can must always ensure that he is never complacent in order to achieve success in his field.

Staying on the chosen theme, the issue also brings us five rising local talents in various fields as well as 19 ambitious and aspirational creations ever made. Curated by the team behind MEN’S FOLIO, the items range from a 2,500-piece limited edition art box to a $100 million superyacht. Capturing the essence of dreams and desires is the Time section in the issue, which features dramatic gold watches.

Along with this feature, MEN’S FOLIO also brings us the hottest accessories of the season. From Paul Smith’s latest writing instruments to the luxurious totes from Dior that you will simply want to get your hands on and the hottest sneakers worn by Elvin Ng, MEN’S FOLIO ensures that readers are kept in the in the loop about the hottest trends.

“New talents are rising in Asia with heightened appeal to the local audience, and the appeal of MEN’S FOLIO has never been so great. MEN’S FOLIO has come a long way since its debut issue in 1997, and it is dedicated to staying true to its original DNA, in continuing to feature Asian men who are an inspiration to many,” says publisher and CEO of Heart Media, Olivier Burlot. He adds that “The magazine continues to thrive forward and its increasingly strong digital presence is a reflection of its strong connection to the fashion savvy male audience in South-East Asia.”

On a final note, the team behind MEN’S FOLIO, is proud to announce that they have received nearly 80 entries for the Men’s Folio Designer of the Year competition. To find out more details about the competition and further details about the contestants, visit MEN’S FOLIO.

Saint Laurent Paris Fashion Week

5 Runway Trends: Paris Fashion Week

As far as the news cycle goes, Paris Fashion Week was overshadowed by the robbery involving Kim Kardashian and millions worth of jewelry. But that does not mean that the catwalks in the city delivered anything but the finest designs for the upcoming season. We take a look at five of the best runway trends from Paris Fashion Week.

Glitter Gang

The designers have brought the glitter to the catwalks in numerous ways. From the shiny vinyl fabrics that were used in jackets and skirts to tight 1980s-inspired off shoulder tops, Mugler and Kenzo brought some sparkle to their collections. Like Dior and Lanvin, Nicolas Ghesquiere used gold and silver gleam to provide a little rock-lux to the Louis Vuitton collection.

Under Where?
Lanvin Paris Fashion Week

Lanvin

Transparency is the name of the game for many this season. Most designers included at least one or two see-through dresses or tops in their collections with a majority of the sheer black tops and “Belle de Jour” tulle dresses were worn without bras on the runway. However, Chanel was one brand that used underwear as outerwear through lingerie dresses that were seen through most of the collection. Over at Lanvin and Agnes b, their silky pajama suits proclaimed “It’s summer, why get dressed at all…”

In Bad Taste

Saint Laurent’s Vaccarello went flashy with stilettos that had the letters YSL forming the heels. The designer also went with mono-boob dresses for women who preferred to make an entrance — or maybe Lady Gaga. There was no shame at Dior with the brand showing off the slogan “J’adore Dior” on shoulder straps, straps of its sandals and belts. Chanel embraced some style secrets of rappers by pairing its baseball caps with chunky rapper bling diamond jewelry.

Return Of The Establishments
Dior Paris fashion Week

Dior

While the last few years have seen young rebel labels take over the runways, this fashion week has seen the likes of Dior, Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Leonard climb back to the top of the pile. While neither Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior nor Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent are revolutionaries, there is a edgy energy in their spring-summer collections that promises the old stagers could surprise us yet.

Tickled Pink

From Chanel to Valentino and Nina Ricci, pink hues proved to be another trend on the catwalks. Pale ivory pinks were dominant for lingerie dresses. Two toga dresses from Celine used the soft shade to cut the edgy oversized feel.

Game Changers: 5 Bags For All Seasons

This season’s most memorable bags are all about reform (nothing destructive, though). Whether it is newly introduced styles or impeccable updates of icons, our picks aren’t only attractive, they’ll also shift your perspective.

Holographic City Trunk PM by Louis Vuittonlouis-vuitton

We never thought Nicolas Ghesquière could be so… Zen. This little piece of hardware proves that. Yes, there’s a dent in it, and that’s the beautiful reason why we’re rethinking the entire sphere of Ghesquière’s spirituality. Despite its overtly contemporary form, the City trunk emanates wabi-sabi (the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection), which is enlightening, considering how every other brand strives, instead, for perfection.

Tweed Amazona by Loeweloewe

As far as tweed bags go, most of them have been chichi. Thank god for Jonathan Anderson, the holy mastermind of the Amazona reinvention. Now he’s bringing a chic, fringy update that masks the bag’s actual silhouette. With plenty of texture, it’s the one-of-a-kind bag you’ll sport to death. Every inch of it will end up frayed and we reckon that’s the look Anderson wants you to achieve.

MIUlady by Miu Miumiu-miu

Miuccia Prada knows how to spoil her girls: this is the bag for 2k16 aristocracy. Coming from a designer who consistently plays with ostentation in an ironic fashion, you have the license to have every kind of fun with it. Even if you’re not born a Jenner or a Hadid (who are both atypical of a Miu Miu runway), make sure your purchases convince everyone of your royal lineage.

Runway by Diordior

For Fall/Winter 2016, the Runway proved that studio heads Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux are going strong, even without a creative director. Pictured here is a version embroidered entirely with sequinned flowers and fringes – it’s intense. The bag comes in such delicate versions, you’re likely to be engulfed with the fear of getting tangled in everything – but fret not, the workmanship is fantastic.

La Pionnière by Pradaprada

We understand the thrill and prestige of being the first (hence the name) in any field — who wouldn’t want to be associated with innovators and groundbreakers? In today’s world of chaos, we rely on what’s inventive to move us forward. The hunting-inspired cross-body was the first bag Prada offered at the dawn of the “see now, buy now” game, which begs the question: if our lady Miuccia is doing it, will the rest of the industry follow suit?

This article was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.

5 Must-Read Design Books 2016

The London Design Festival is bringing the art of design to the heart of the British capital, from now until September 25. Here is a look at some useful reading material to bring you up to speed with the world of design this fall.

Hadid by Philip Jodido, published by Taschen

After her sudden and unexpected death this year, this book celebrates one of the leading figures of world architecture. Known for her large, bold structures with audacious curves, Zaha Hadid was the first female recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize. This Taschen monograph looks back over the renowned architect’s extraordinary career.

Arita / Table of Contents: Studies in Japanese Porcelain by Anniina Koivu, published by Phaidon

The art of Japanese porcelain manufacturing began in Arita, some 400 years ago. This book, published by Phaidon, celebrates traditional Japanese ceramic culture through the ages.

Volez Voguez Voyagez (Louis Vuitton) published by Assouline

Based on the recent Louis Vuitton exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, this book from Assouline is ideal for anyone who couldn’t catch the show. It is also a great way to discover the world of the famous French luggage maker, intent on making traveling effortless and fashionable.

Empire Style: The Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris by Jörg Ebeling and Ulrich Leben, published by Flammarion

In 1803, Joséphine Bonaparte – wife of the future Emperor of France – acquired the Hôtel de Beauharnais in Paris, which she renovated for her son, Eugène de Beauharnais. Becoming an embassy during the 19th century, the Hôtel is a visible incarnation of Consulate and Empire décor styles. This first monograph dedicated to the building is due for release in November.

Cartier Dazzling: High Jewelry and Precious Objects by François Chaille, published by Flammarion

Although mere mortals can only dream of donning Cartier’s legendary jewelry creations, this book showcases a selection of the luxury label’s dazzling delights. The tome is written by the same French fashion writer behind The Book of Ties.

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Bottled Luxury: Les Parfums Louis Vuitton

You might know Louis Vuitton for its timeless leather accessories and sturdy travel trunks, but now, the French luxury brand is also delving into the world of fragrances. As the first series in almost a century, it’s safe to say that the Maison is going all out in achieving the perfect scents for the collection, entitled Les Parfums Louis Vuitton.

The seven scents – Rose des Vents, Turbulences, Dans la Peau, Apogee, Contre Moi, Matiere Noire and Mille Feux – were exclusively designed by master perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud using special extraction techniques, so you can expect the purest of floral and leather – no surprises there – accents within.

The fragrances are set to be released in 100- and 200-ml sizes, and cost $240 and $350 respectively.

Find out more about Les Parfums Louis Vuitton at L’Officiel.com now.