11 posts tagged "Paul Smith"
As the men’s shows approach, the London Collections: Men (which will run from June 16 to 18) seems to be gaining more steam. Today, Dolce & Gabbana announced that it will open its fourth London boutique with a bash on June 15. Additionally, after being invited to kick off the season by London Collections: Men chair and British GQ editor in chief Dylan Jones, the brand will show its Spring ’14 tailoring collection during the event. Dolce & Gabbana, whose designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana noted in a statement that British tailoring is part of the house’s DNA, join high-profile names such as Burberry Prorsum, Rag & Bone, Paul Smith, and Jimmy Choo in presenting in London for the first time this season
Prada is reported to be in talks for an India entry. Alexander McQueen, Dolce & Gabbana, and Stella McCartney are exploring real estate for stand-alone stores. After opening his first boutique in New Delhi last year, Christian Louboutin is readying himself for a Mumbai launch. This year marks the tenth anniversary of Louis Vuitton’s presence in India—it was the first luxury brand to set foot in the country. Is India finally reawakening to luxury? Historically, it’s a country familiar with all things luxe. After all, in 1925, India’s Sir Bhupinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, granted Cartier its single largest commission: the remodeling of his crown jewels, a collection that included an exquisite 234.69-carat De Beers diamond. Vuitton’s gilded links with India go back well over a century, when the Maharajas of Jammu and Kashmir, Bikaner and Baroda, ordered customized trunks from the company.
Then came freedom. For almost forty-four years after Independence, socialist India snapped all ties with luxury. It’s only in the last decade that the romance has rekindled. And it has to do with math. With a population surpassing 1.22 billion, and 81 million households falling into the upper middle class and high-income bracket, India is a serious market for luxury players. In fact, statistics show that India is one of the fastest-growing and largest luxury markets, with sales expected to touch $15 billion by 2015—nearly double what they are today. In November last year, Gucci opened its fifth and largest India store, spanning 4,220 square feet across two floors in Gurgaon, Delhi’s satellite city. Patrizio di Marco, president and CEO, noted, “The flagship store underscores Gucci’s commitment to India. This is our fifth store in this unique country, where we have been operating directly since the end of 2009, and it is a testament to the importance that we are placing on this fast-growing and competitive market.”
But Kalyani Chawla, vice president of marketing and communications at Christian Dior, insists India is taking baby steps. And she is right. The Western notion of luxury hit Indian shores only ten years ago. It’s still a country of salwar kameezes and saris. But the Indian buyer has grown interested in fashion, investing small but precious sums in brands. “Dior has seen a steady and encouraging growth. As is the case globally with most brands, accessories are doing very well [and] clothing is picking up,” she says, noting that this is partly due to the fact that Western wear has finally slipped into a bride’s wedding trousseau. And for Indians, marriage is the occasion for which discerning buyers splurge. Dior launched in 2006, and has three stores across the country. Continue Reading “Is India The Next Big Player in Luxury Retail?” »
David Bowie’s new video, “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, has generated much buzz among the fashion set—and understandably so, considering the singer looks pretty slick in his Pringle sweaters, McQueen trench, and Saint Laurent jacket. But today it was announced that the rock star is embarking on a new style-centric venture: a series of collaborations with Paul Smith, the first of which is the official T-shirt for Bowie’s upcoming album, The Next Day (above). Looks like Justin Timberlake and Tom Ford (who announced their partnership in January) might have some competition.
Paul Smith’s The Next Day T-shirt will be available at paulsmith.co.uk from March 7.
Paul Smith has at least two things of which he can be very proud. One of them is his legs: “I’ve still got the legs of a teenager,” he boasted yesterday at London’s Princess Anne Theatre, standing up to show them off. The other is the remarkable fact that his company—which continues to grow, despite the tough economy—holds no debt.
It was not Smith but his interlocutor at the public Q&A, Suzy Menkes, who brought that topic up. But the designer confirmed it’s true, and only dodged a little bit when explaining how. “We always grew the business within our means,” he said, and “didn’t aspire to yachts and Rolls-Royces.” Since opening his first tiny shop, as a weekends-only affair, in 1970, Smith has subsidized his efforts when he’s needed to with other income: Early on, he drove vans and did odd jobs; later on, he consulted on fabric design.
Smith’s decision to build his namesake label sustainably and not promote it too hard as a “luxury” brand seems smarter by the minute—that’s becoming a dirty word these days, Menkes pointed out. His steady devotion to Asia (specifically, Japan) in the eighties, when other designers took the money and ran, has definitely paid off.
In some very distinct ways, Smith is a throwback; like Miuccia Prada, he doesn’t use a computer. But his shopkeeper instincts are anything but obsolete. In this economy, he noted cannily, accessories (“the sugar on the strawberry”) give the customer the impression you’ve refreshed the stock.
Unsurprisingly, his next frontier is China. One challenge with expanding at a rate of six stores a year (some of them in second-tier Chinese cities) is retaining—via constant travel, if necessary—the personal connection to the brand that has set it apart. “It might not work, and frankly I’m very scared about it,” Smith admitted.
As colorful and freewheeling as his reputation is, Smith didn’t get where he was by making rash decisions. When the proudly British businessman was (inevitably) asked whether he’d be showing at the new London Collections anytime soon, his answer was lukewarm. He’s had a showroom in Paris since 1977, after all, and employs about 100 people there. “Let’s monitor it,” he said. “Let’s wait and see.”
Tonight in London, the British Fashion Council hosted its annual British Fashion Awards, with Kate Moss, Samantha Cameron, Colin Firth, and Marc Jacobs all on hand. Check back tomorrow for our complete coverage of the party scene. In the meantime, this year’s winners are below. A new category, the New Establishment, was created this year to recognize, in the words of the BFC, “a particular movement in British fashion that is taking the industry by storm”; Christopher Kane received the inaugural award. And for the second year running, the British Style Award, voted on by the public, went to Alexa Chung.
Designer of the Year: Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen
Menswear Designer of the Year: Kim Jones
Accessory Designer of the Year: Charlotte Dellal for Charlotte Olympia
Designer Brand of the Year: Victoria Beckham
Model of the Year: Stella Tennant
Emerging Talent—Womenswear: Mary Katrantzou
Emerging Talent—Menswear: Christopher Raeburn
Emerging Talent—Accessories: Tabitha Simmons
New Establishment Award: Christopher Kane
Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator: Sam Gainsbury, Gainsbury and Whiting
Red Carpet Award: Stella McCartney
Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Award: Sir Paul Smith
British Style Award: Alexa Chung