Luxury & Fashion Biz News: Everything (and Alexander Wang, too)

Because who doesn’t want a little bit of Everything?

“Everything is a perfume by (Dutch artists) Lernert & Sander consisting of all fragrances launched in 2012. Over the last year, Lernert & Sander collected almost 1400 samples of newly launched fragrances. By mixing the content of all of these bottles, they created 1.5 litre of Everything. This unique perfume comes in a specially designed and hand blown bottle, an enlargement of a classic sample bottle.”

The Everything perfume will be on display from March 1-9 (2013) at the Paris high-end clothing and accessories shop, Colette. There’s no word yet on whether the bottle will travel to other cities or countries, but it certainly sounds tailor-made for inclusion in the new Art of Scent exhibit at the Museum of Arts & Design in Manhattan.

Fashion’s Night Out, a shopping and brand-awareness initiative spearheaded in 2009 by Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, goes on indefinite hiatus in the US, but there are conflicting reports as to why.

The official statement is that the US economy is improving and brands can better use the time and resources spent on FNO to design their own in-store events to serve their core clients, while other writers have pointed to the mob chaos that was FNO 2012 and surmise that the resulting backlash from New York residents, politicians and police chiefs put the kibosh on future events.

From, Fashion’s Night Out ‘Mobs’ Need to Be Reined in After ‘Riot,’ SoHo Pol Says“Days after Fashion’s Night Out crowds flooded the streets of SoHo and smashed the windshield of a car while its driver sat inside, City Councilwoman Margaret Chin is pushing the city to crack down on next year’s running of the Anna Wintour-backed style extravaganza . . . ‘We will not stand idly by while our access to our homes is blocked and mobs take over our streets,’ Chin said in a statement. ‘There has to be a better way to make Fashion’s Night Out a safe and profitable event for New York City and the Soho community.'”

New York’s FNO goers turn the event into a stripper-wannabe street party

Tricia Carr writes for Luxury Daily that the event may have become too mass-market and mainstream, resulting in a street-party atmosphere that wasn’t consistent with the luxury image of the brands the event was created to support and promote: “Meant to spark interest in shopping after the United States’ economic downturn, Fashion’s Night Out ultimately took the exclusivity out of the luxury shopping experience . . . ‘I don’t think FNO was a natural fit for luxury brands to begin with,’ said Yuli Ziv, founder/CEO of Style Coalition, New York. ‘In fact, the masses participating in it created less than a luxurious experience a typical sophisticated customer would expect.'”

As fashion journalist Cathy Horyn wrote back in 2011: “F.N.O. was a good idea when it began, back in the depths of the recession when stores were virtually empty. But now it’s become a party, an institutionalised kickoff to Fashion Week, and though it apparently raises money for some causes, I have to believe that the costs of security, crowd control and entertainment, not to mention the traffic headaches, outweigh the actual benefits.”

Apparently, the city of New York agreed.

*NOTE: And yes, there were some actual benefits.

*Alternative Explanation: Maybe they cancelled FNO in the US because the US retail scene is turning increasingly dire and nothing can be done about it: JCPenney Reports Horrific Results, Stock Plunges and Wal-Mart struggles to restock shelves as sales slump — if spending at mass-market chains like Wal-Mart and JC Penney is crumbling, then that means aspirational shopping, which global luxury brands and high-end department stores rely on, really is dead.

Which helps explain why we’re seeing once ultra edgy and achingly spendy designers like Giles Deacon show up on the decidedly less exclusive QVC channel: “On March 10 (2013), the bespectacled Brit designer will appear on the brand’s TV channel, not as its latest recruit but to shill his first jewellery collection for the shopping giant . . . Two years in development, it features Pop pieces in brightly coloured enamel based on Giles’ illustrations, Edwardian-punk beetles and claws and some necklaces inspired by a certain 1970s disco group.”

Deacon’s belle-of-the-ball status somewhat diminished after his personal brand of playful pop-art cool failed to revive the struggling Ungaro label and he was dismissed as head designer in late 2011 after slightly more than a year on the job, but he did manage to snag the Designer of the Year award for 2012 at the World Fashion Awards in Moscow, so all is not lost.

*Speaking of Designer of the Year: 29-year old New York designer Alexander Wang’s debut at the helm of legendary French brand Balenciaga was among the most hotly anticipated of the Fall/Winter 2013 runway shows that are winding down in Paris (after hop-skipping-and-jumping from New York to London to Milan).

Wang is mostly known for slouchy-cool t-shirts and edgy urban sportswear, so there was some small amount of nervous alarm when he was announced back in November of 2012 to replace the abruptly departed Nicolas Ghesquière as creative head of the once haute-couture level label: “No critic wants to pan Balenciaga’s choice, but everyone agrees that it signals a new and surprising direction for the house. There’s also been tactfully worded concern about whether Wang has the technical skill to design clothes at Balenciaga’s level, which is decidedly more upmarket than his eponymous label.”

Wang’s relatively subdued Balenciaga debut (“subdued” in comparison to other designers who’ve taken the reins of famed labels recently) for Autumn 2013 appears to have mollified his critics:

“The ideas of Balenciaga … without being super precious about it”

From, Reactions to Alexander Wang’s Debut Balenciaga Collection: “‘It was nice to see these sculptural volumes that were still very reasonable and done in a way that was appealing’ (said Linda Fargo, the fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman) . . . ‘It was quite refined,’ said Tomoko Ogura, the senior fashion director of Barneys New York (and) Ken Downing, the fashion director of Neiman Marcus, also described the collection as ‘the perfect balance between edge and elegance.'”

So the collection appears to be a hit with the retailers, which should make PPR chief Francois Henri-Pinault happy. Pinault hand-selected Wang as Ghesquière’s successor in a bid to nudge the somewhat stiff heritage of Balenciaga into new, more retail-friendly directions; while previous designer Ghesquière successfully revived critical and commercial interest in the languishing brand during his 15-year tenure, he reportedly battled with PPR executives over establishing an even more commercial tone.

If you look at Ghesquière’s last collection for Balenciaga and compare it to the new Wang designed collection that just debuted, it’s easy to see why Pinault favoured Wang for the job:

Balenciaga Spring 2013 — Ghesquière’s last ruffled stand

Both are conceptual, yet one is far more wearable.

*As long as we’re on the subject of designers leaving labels: Umit Benan, who’s been acting as creative chief for the Italian leather-goods brand Trussardi for the past two years, took to Twitter to announce his departure. Maybe it’s just me, but the split doesn’t sound like it was particularly amicable:

In a statement to the Business of Fashion, Benan said: “My goal was to bring back the Trussardi soul at the company that Nicola Trussardi had established and, in a short time, I believe I did that. I’m happy for that, but along the way we started to have different visions with the company, so I thought it was time to move on. I thank everyone working with me along the way. In the end, there were just too many visions in one company.”

Benan has his own namesake label where he produces both menswear and womenswear, so it’s not like he’ll be lacking for things to do.

*And even more designer news: Italian leather brand Tod’s announced that it hired former Gucci and Valentino designer Alessandra Facchinetti as creative director to replace the recently departed Derek Lam.

There was some grumbling back in 2008 when the talented Facchinetti was rudely dumped from Valentino via press release after the label’s cranky and recently retired founder, Valentino Garavani, insisted she had not sufficiently respected his legacy (his exact words).

I loved the injection of wearable feminine fluidity she brought to the previously stuffy Valentino brand during her brief stay, and here’s hoping she gets better treatment at the hands of Tod’s.

*Bonus Extra: Fashionista posted a short interview with Facchinetti after the news broke about her appointment at Tod’s — Tod’s Creative Director Alessandra Facchinetti On Her New Job


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