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21/03/2014

Mulberry CEO Bruno Guillon resigns

Mulberry CEO Bruno Guillon resigns

British luxury label Mulberry is without a CEO and a creative director as of today, following the news that Frenchman Bruno Guillon has resigned

WWD report that Guillon is stepping down as chief creative officer immediately, after exactly two years in the role.

Guillon joined Mulberry from Hermès in France - where he was managing director - and his long-term strategy was to re-emphasise the luxury nature of the Mulberry brand and to drive overseas expansion.

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But in essence that has meant hefty price hikes, falling share values and profit warnings. In September last year Emma Hill, the brand's creative director and creator of the bestselling Alexa satchel, resigned after six years over 'disagreements with management over creative and operational strategy'.

A replacement still hasn't been appointed and in February Mulberry cancelled its London Fashion Week show, instead unveiling a design collaboration with 21-year-old British model Cara Delevingne.

Guillon told The Telegraph last year that the Somerset-founded brand was suffering from: "lack of brand awareness in Asia and the US and this is something that you cannot turn around from one day to another."

In January the brand announced that its pre-tax profits for the fiscal year ending March 31 will be "substantially below" market expectations, sending its share value down by 22 per cent. A cancelled wholesale order in South Korea was cited as part of the issue, but international retail sales were reported to be up by 40 per cent.

Godfrey Davis, Mulberry's non-executive chairman and former CEO will take over in the interim. He thanked Guillon for his: "hard work over the past two years. He has helped improve the quality of the Mulberry offering and enabled the company to increase its international appeal and [he has] grown international retail sales. I am confident that Mulberry has the heritage, brand appeal and products to build on what has been achieved."

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05:36 Publié dans News | Tags : news | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

13/03/2014

At Sass & Bide, Gallery Girls of the World Unite

Art made with found materials is all very well, but you don’t necessarily want to find it in your living room. Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 “Fountain” was, in the end, a urinal. Damien Hirst’s tanks of the 1990s leaked, the animal corpses within rotting.

Last year, I took the children to a workshop at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens, that promised to turn our recyclables into couture, eerily presaging Karl Lagerfeld’s recent Stepford-Wives-in-the-grocery-aisles show for Chanel. (Also recalling that much-mocked scene from “American Beauty” during which the teenage neighbor of Kevin Spacey’s character is entranced by a wind-borne plastic bag.) Anyway, I’m still crossly prying the bottle caps out of their little pockets.

But the massive twisted white piece that dominates the architecture of the new Sass & Bide boutique in SoHo, the Australian label’s first American outpost, is undeniably impressive, even more so when I learned it was made from thousands of old T-shirts by Guild, a “design and build collective” based in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, Miami and Portland, Ore., that has also worked on displays for Opening Ceremony and Proenza Schouler.

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Credit Tina Fineberg for The New York Times

“Yup, it’s gotten a lot of attention,” said a saleswoman with bobbed hair, standing like a W. Somerset Maugham character a bit forlornly in the store where no one but I was browsing last Friday afternoon. Not so much the clothes, was her implication.

Now mostly owned by Meyer, an Australian department-store chain, Sass & Bide sprung from the fevered brain of two blondes from Brisbane, Sarah-Jane Clarke (“Sass”) and Heidi Middleton (“Bide”), whose major public-relations coup in America has been winning the favor of the actress and shoe entrepreneur Sarah Jessica Parker. I can’t think it’s a coincidence that they have set up shop directly across from another pair of gal pals, Sarah Easley (“Kirna”) and Beth Buccini (“Zabête”), but they cater to a younger, kickier clientele whose primary objective is to flash some flesh. Minidresses have emphatic triangular cutouts right over the solar plexus, there are at least a dozen styles of shorts, and $300 jeans are distressed to a condition that probably wouldn’t be accepted by the Salvation Army. As a nearby sweatshirt proclaimed in metallic yarn and sequins, this is “Totes Boges.”

The Sass & Bidettes are also bidding for authenticity and sincerity, though: collaborating with tribeswomen in Kenya to sell a line of beaded handbags in a program sponsored by the United Nations. Totes Nobles, in other words — though let’s remain mindful that buying such a purse does not make one Abebech Gobena, or even Angelina Jolie.

As in the art scene, practically everything for sale here bears a title, some mysterious, some perhaps ill chosen. “Think Twice,” a long silk dress with a mustard print ($550), seemed inevitably destined for the markdown rack. “The Way of the World” was drearily embodied by elastic-waist, saggy-rumped rayon “slouchy” pants ($190). “Leave It Alone” suggested a sleeveless top in that same sad mustard shade ($320). And so I did.

Continue reading the main story The dressing chambers have transparent doors, and I wondered if they had been salvaged from the famous unisex bathrooms of the defunct Bar 89 around the corner (now Vince, another clothing store that charges for distress, though slightly less). Those become opaque only when locked, but no — here, down came a white cotton curtain. Inside, before a vitrine containing smaller-scale sculpture, a Tweety Bird with discreetly downcast eyes, I tried and quite admired “The Testimony,” a faded-denim, Liberty-print lined number ($390) with a Stella McCartney feeling.

Christy, a more cheerful, Australian clerk wearing Converse high-tops under her maxidress, helped wrestle me into “Mister Blue,” a white woolen capelet with gold buttons that not unpleasantly brought to mind a spirited tussle with Fred Grandy on the deck of “The Love Boat.” “Look, it matches your beanie!” she said.

Like the Royal Princess, Sass & Bide has a first-class cabin. Its so-called gallery section contains items like “The Bank Roll” jacket: a slicker, ridged version of “Who’s Asking” for the artlike $1,200.

“Too space-cadety,” said a young woman who appeared to be browsing with her stylist. Along with its compatriots, Outback Steakhouse and Kylie Minogue, Sass & Bide can seem beamed from a strange other universe, but they come, piece by piece, in peace.

Aussie Having chugged away quietly but successfully since the late 1990s, a label from Down Under is now parked in downtown Manhattan.

Glossy Though its motto is “dedicated to the strong, the obscure and the beautiful,” the brand is featured regularly in magazines like Marie Claire and has been worn by the not-exactly-unknown Beyoncé, Madonna and Rihanna.

Gather-No-Mossy With flashbulb-courting metallic trim and racy cuts, the clothes seem designed for the footloose clubgoer who doesn’t know where she’ll wake up the next morning.

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10:17 Publié dans News | Tags : news, fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

11/03/2014

Pakistan vs Paul Smith

Sandal-wearers bemused by famed British designer's attempts to sell traditional Peshawari chappal-style shoes for the distinctly untraditional sum of £300

Pakistan's Dawn newspaper called it the “chappal of two cities”. How, the paper wanted to know, could a simple leather sandal, commonly available in Pakistan for just a few pounds, sell for £300 in a London designer store?

Admittedly, the sandals, or "chappal", found in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, are not exactly the same as the ones being offered by the British designer Sir Paul Smith. The pair being sold by Sir Paul, for instance, feature a pink neon trim rarely, if ever, found in those picked up in the bazaars of Peshawar.

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They were also being sold under the model name “Robert”.

But to many on social media, the shoes otherwise looked pretty much the same. How could, people cried, Sir Paul have the nerve to ask £300 for the shoes and moreover, how could he not be acknowledging their Pakistani inspiration and origin?

Such was the outrage over the footwear, that people were encouraged to sign a petition at change.org addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron and Sir Paul. “If some company wants to sell these footwear, [it must] show some moral obligation and courtesy and must use its original name,” said the petition, which by Monday evening had been signed by more than 250 people.

Beyond the jokes, some believed there was a serious point to be made.

“Extraction of surplus, of labour and of ideas is an age old issue in North-South relations,” Mosharraf Zaidi, an education activist and former diplomat, told The Independent. “However, we should also never shy from owning what is ours, especially on the rare occasions when the associations are entirely positive and aesthetically universal in appeal.”

He added: “These are Peshawari chappals. Paul Smith can make all the money he wants, but he should afford us the small courtesy of calling them what they are.”

Paul Smith failed to respond to questions today. However, it appeared that the virtual show throwing that broke over over Sir Paul’s shiny black leather sandals had made its point.

By Monday evening, the website PaulSmith was still advertising the shoes and was still charging £300. The pink trim also remained in place. However, an all-important sentence had been added which read: “Men’s high-shine black leather sandals with neon pink trims inspired by the Peshawari chappal.”

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07:13 Publié dans News | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)