Famous Brands Runway
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|COUTURE Valentino||Alberta Ferretti|
A quarter-century into a celebrated pro surfing career that has carried him to exotic locales across the globe, Kelly Slater is still stepping into uncharted waters. This past summer, the record-setting 11-time World Surf League champion realized a long-held aspiration to helm a designer surfwear startup with the launch of Outerknown, which joins a growing wave of apparel brands and retailers embracing sustainable philosophies. Founded after the dissolution of Slater’s 24-year sponsorship deal with extreme-sports apparel giant Quiksilver, Outerknown stands apart from other surf labels by eschewing the category’s signature bright colors and in-your-face designs in favor of understated, decidedly adult attire. But Outerknown’s ethics are just as important as its aesthetics. The Los Angeles-based brand’s Evolution Series jackets and board shorts are produced from Econyl, a fiber manufactured from 100 percent regenerated nylon waste materials, including so-called “ghost nets” — lost or abandoned fishing nets that jeopardize dolphins, sea turtles and other marine life. After years of research, textile manufacturer Aquafil introduced Econyl in 2011, and the fiber is now integrated into a range of products from carpeting to Speedo swimwear. Outerknown also is partnering with Swiss startup Bluesign Technologies, whose proprietary system evaluates and reduces resource consumption across the textile supply chain and helps manufacturers manage their use of chemicals, dyes and finishes. In addition, Outerknown gear is produced in adherence with the Fair Labor Association’s code of conduct. “Being a pro athlete, it’s so much easier to have a sponsor, have their support, get paid and just do your job,” says Slater, 43. “But I wanted more involvement in the creative process and a deeper understanding of what goes into a company.”
Slater began formulating plans for an apparel line in his early 20s, but the idea gained momentum in 2012 when he teamed with design guru John Moore on VSTR, a collection of modern travel essentials marketed under the Quiksilver aegis. Moore now serves as Outerknown’s creative director. “There are so many options for clothing in today’s market, but nothing that addresses that modern nomadic lifestyle that Kelly leads and we all aspire to,” says Moore, a lifelong surfer. “[Outerknown] is an opportunity to do things our way. We can build it sustainably, with a sense of style.” Outerknown isn’t the only brand marrying style and sustainability. Nike, Adidas, Levi Strauss and Patagonia are all develop- ing apparel from recycled materials, and retailers like The North Face, American Eagle Outfitters, Forever 21 and Skunkfunk have aligned with I:CO, a Swiss company that transforms used and unsold clothing into textiles for manufacturing apparel and industrial materials. Another I:CO retail partner, H&M, weathered controversy in 2010 after a Manhattan outlet was discovered destroying and discarding unsold clothing. The company responded by rolling out the Garment Collecting Initiative, awarding vouchers to customers for bringing unwanted clothing to H&M stores. Earlier this year, H&M unveiled Close the Loop, a denim line produced in part from recycled cotton gathered via the Garment Collecting Initiative. An H&M spokesperson says the initiative has collected more than 17,000 tons of textiles globally since its launch in spring 2013. “This year our target is to increase the number of pieces made with at least 20 percent recycled fabric from collected garments by more than 300 percent compared to 2014,” the rep adds.
Look for other established brands to enter the recycled apparel segment in the years ahead, making it more difficult for fledgling labels like Outerknown to compete. But Slater says surfing has taught him how to keep his head above water. “I’m used to having pressure put on me. I’m used to being in situations that test me,” he says. “I see everything in my life as cohesive, and affecting all the other things. I try to learn from all of it and bring that to the table.”
|COUTURE Chanel||COUTURE Fendi|
|dkny||Fall Haute Couture Shows|
The Sexes Battle on Wall Street for DKNY
NEW YORK, United States — “Men think of victory, women think of love,” the female voice throatily intoned. “Me, I love victory.” That snippet of soundtrack from the DKNY show on Wednesday was the essence of Donna Karan herself — and there, printed on a coat to reinforce the impression, was an image of Rosemary McGrotha, Karan’s commercial alter ego from the 1980’s — but now that her legacy has been entrusted to nom-du-jour Public School’s Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, the words couldn’t help but assume a different resonance. Love is a battlefield, after all, though the battle of the sexes that Chow and Osborne offered up was juicier in theory than in practice.
Karan’s aesthetic was always hot-wired into New York itself. Her new standard-bearers share the same parochial sentiment. For their show venue, they chose a new mall under the World Trade Centre, a symbol of renewal for the city. Its proximity to the Financial District also provided the inspiration for the clothes themselves: charcoal pinstripes, grey flannel, white cotton shirt and boxer shorts, sheer silk ankle socks and solid black shoes. Wall Street staples, deconstructed and reassembled in ways that sometimes beguiled, sometimes bemused. There was the Hollywood-sanctioned, sexy subtext of the morning-after woman wearing a man’s shirt and boxers, but there was also a whole lot of lugubrious and slightly lumpen tailoring. It kind of made you wonder what Chow and Osborne would do with these codes of sartorial convention if it was a men’s line they were working on. That is, after all, where their real strengths lie.
LONDON, United Kingdom — If Burberry Group Plc’s third-quarter update were part of its catwalk collection, it would be a decorative interlude rather than the flamboyant finale. An acceleration of revenue growth — with same-store retail sales rising 3 percent — is pleasing. It was driven by Brexit Britain, where same-store sales rose 40 percent. But there were improvements too in France, mainland China, and even Hong Kong, reinforcing the nascent recovery in luxury goods that lifted Compagnie Financiere Richemont SA last week. But that is not the main show here. For once, factors other than having the hottest handbag will be more central to Burberry’s destiny. That isn’t necessarily a good thing though. New chief executive officer Marco Gobbetti arrives next week. He will assume the role of executive chairman, Asia Pacific and Middle East, before taking the top job in July. He can not do so earlier because of contractual commitments. Gobbetti is charged with boosting Burberry’s retail operations and continuing to cut its bloated cost base. But, as I have argued before, this mainstay of Brit fashion needs more than better run shops. It needs an overhaul of its clothes and handbags, which are looking tired. It is hard to see that happening with Christopher Bailey hanging on as creative director. So, even when Gobbetti takes the helm, more management upheaval can not be ruled out. Arguably the biggest question about Burberry’s future is whether it will become a takeover target again. The company has rejected several approaches from US rival Coach Inc., according to the Financial Times. Burberry remains one of the few luxury houses unencumbered by a family stake-holder. And it is expected to end its financial year to March with net cash of about £665 million ($819 million). The shares rose 25 percent in 2016, much better than the Bloomberg Intelligence luxury peer group’s 7 percent increase. It has been doubly flattered by the slump in sterling, with many of its sales made overseas and rich foreigners flocking to London for Brexit bargain luxury goods. The impact is expected to lift full-year pretax profit by £115 million. Yet despite all this, it still trades on a price-to-earnings ratio that’s in line with the BI luxury peer group, unlike the chunky premiums of the past. What is more, global rivals have plenty of firepower for M&A. Net debt for the BI basket of luxury peers is less than a third of Ebitda, the lowest in four years, according to BI analyst Deborah Aitken. With the luxury market looking like it’s past its nadir, that could encourage more of the consolidation that propelled Luxottica Group SpA and Essilor International SA into a $54 billion merger. Burberry is a prime takeover target. Now that would be a showstopper.
|Hits and Misses||VIVIENNE TAM FALL|
|COUTURE Armani Prive||Max Mara RTW 2016|
LONDON, United Kingdom — Gucci has been named one of the “hottest” luxury brands, while Prada and Giorgio Armani are “cooling” fast, according to a new report by Exane BNP Paribas. The financial services firm assessed the “brand temperature” of luxury companies, based on the ratio between the editorial coverage they receive in print magazines, and their print advertising spend. Brands are ranked as “hot” if magazines give them more editorial space than their advertising spend should warrant, meaning they have more editorial coverage than print magazine advertisements — reflecting a “hot” level of appeal and desirability — whereas brands that fall below this ratio are “cold.” Gucci’s editorial value was up more than 15 percent for the first six months of the year, compared to the same period last year. Louis Vuitton and Chanel both also ranked as “hot,” but their editorial value grew at a lower rate of between 0 and 15 percent, despite a high print advertising spend. Meanwhile, Prada and Giorgio Armani both saw a decline in editorial print coverage, lowering their editorial value by double digits, which meant their brand temperature had cooled compared to last year. The findings are further proof that Gucci’s turnaround under creative director Alessandro Michele and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri is gathering pace. Since his appointment as creative director in January 2015, Michele’s idiosyncratic designs have generated significant buzz. Sales of his women’s ready-to-wear have risen 66 percent in 2016 and the Italian house is on course to top €4 billion ($4.5 billion) in revenue for the first time this year, Bizzarri said in June.
Meanwhile, Prada is battling weakening demand in Greater China, slowing global tourism and changing consumer behaviour. The Italian company has failed to meet its own earnings forecasts in 11 of the past 12 quarters, according to Bloomberg. According to Exane BNP Paribas, a rising brand temperature can be expected to translate into higher full-price sell-through in wholesale retailers and greater space productivity in a brand’s directly-owned stores. This, in turn, could increase brand profitability and support sales. Conversely, a “cooling” brand would see all of these metrics deteriorate.Other brands ranked as “getting hotter” — meaning spontaneous editorial coverage is growing faster than their marketing spend — were Hugo Boss, DKNY and Ferragamo, which were rated as “cold” in Exane BNP Paribas’ “brand temperature” report last year. Burberry, Valentino and Saint Laurent were “hot but getting colder,” which can be explained in part by the brands’ decisions to shift their advertising spend to the digital sphere. Most of the 38 luxury brands analysed by Exane BNP Paribas reduced their print advertising spend, with the exceptions of Gucci and Saint Laurent, who were among the top ten spenders, followed by Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana.
|Antonio Beradi||Maison Margiela|