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The Gorgeous and the Sinister at Gucci

MILAN, Italy — “There is something creepy in beauty,” Alessandro Michele mused after the latest instalment of his Gucci revamp. “Every time I see something beautiful, I feel bad.” Which means his stomach must have been in agonising knots after a show which featured so much that was rich and strange and gorgeous. And yet, you kind of know what he means. Beauty is transient. Even in its more enduring forms — in architecture or oil paintings or marble sculptures — beauty will inevitably feel the cold touch of time. And all that does is remind us we are born to die. The mere fact that Michele’s collections…

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Ugg Boots, Fashion’s Most Mocked Shoes, Are Back

After a decade languishing in fashion purgatory, it appears the Ugg boot is making a comeback. The Australia-born sheepskin surfer shoe might be as early-2000s, aesthetically, as Paris Hilton wearing a velour Juicy Couture tracksuit. But both sales figures and new market research show the brand is enjoying something of a resurgence. YouGov BrandIndex has tracked the public perception of Ugg boots over the past two years, interviewing 45,000 consumers for this particular report. At the end of June 2013, 4% of American adults said they’d consider buying Uggs on their next shopping trip for apparel and shoes. Now, that…

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Top 10 Fashion Films of the Season

LONDON, United Kingdom — In today’s digitally driven world, good video content can spread like wild fire, as consumers share it through social media and pass videos to friends and followers. Youtube receives more than 1 billion unique visitors every month, with daily video views growing 60 percent year-on-year. By 2019, video will account for 80 percent all consumer Internet traffic, according to research by US technology company Cisco. But for years, the fashion industry has failed to fulfil the potential of fashion films, prioritising print campaigns and leaving video content as an afterthought; from montages of edited, behind-the-scenes footage…

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The ‘Made In’ Dilemma: To Label, or Not to Label

LONDON, United Kingdom — Consumers care about the origin of their products. The Chinese — the largest nation of luxury consumers in the world — want their watches to be Swiss, their perfumes and cosmetics to be French, their cars to be German and their bags and shoes to be either Italian or French. But luxury brands are all over the place when it comes to disclosing where their products are made. All recognise the potential advantages of full disclosure but few — even those boasting a manufacturing heritage — exploit it. The majority go for partial disclosure, depending on their positioning and…

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Why Is Silicon Valley Pouring Millions of Dollars Into Old Clothes?

James Reinhart spent months trying to get somebody, anybody, to invest in his idea: an online clothing exchange for women and kids. He would rent a Zipcar and drive out to Boston's Route 128, a venture capital hot spot, with his pitch deck in hand. Then he'd fly to San Francisco to navigate Sand Hill's labyrinth of venture firms. The VCs shot him down 27 times, some of them laughing in his face. At one meeting, one of the firm's partners asked if the idea was to have women swap their panties. Reinhart, then a 30-year-old recent Harvard Business School graduate, shrugged…

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Why Raf Simons Is Leaving Christian Dior

Raf Simons is leaving Christian Dior. Sidney Toledano, the chief executive officer of the Paris fashion house, made the announcement today in a statement. The decision by Simons, 47, not to renew his contract is surprising. Since he took over in April 2012, Dior has prospered under his creative control. And Simons seemed to thrive, too: For once in the gossipy world of fashion, there were no rumors of a rift or whispers that Simons would leave. Quite the contrary, in fact. After Dior’s spring show in Paris on October 2 — Simons’s last, as it turns out — Bernard…

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Why Isn’t There an Italian LVMH?

LONDON, United Kingdom — Gucci, Pucci, Armani, Versace — list a few of the world-famous brands that Italy has produced and, while sounding like a Kanye West song, you are reminded just how much the country contributes to global fashion and luxury. The southern European state has nine brands that report over €1 billion in revenue. That figure is set to jump to 12 when Valentino, Versace and Salvatore Ferragamo cross that revenue threshold, as expected. Despite this high density of billion-euro brands, Italy is yet to produce a conglomerate of the scale of LVMH, which reported revenues of €30.6 billion…

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Bits & Bytes | Luxury E-Commerce Tipping Point, Apple-Met Collaboration, Virtual Reality

"Is Luxury E-Commerce Nearing Its Tipping Point?" (McKinsey & Company) "Online sales of luxury goods could triple to €70 billion by 2025." "Unpacking the Apple-Met Museum Fashion Collaboration" (The Wall Street Journal) "Apple Inc. is helping the fashion industry deconstruct the tension between handmade and machine-made fashion, as it sponsors the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s next big exhibit at its Costume Institute." "Tommy Hilfiger Introduces Virtual Reality Headsets for Shoppers" (The New York Times) "Tommy Hilfiger became the first major retailer to make virtual reality a fixture in its stores this week, offering its shoppers a virtual trip, via a Samsung GearVR…

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