Monthly Archives: September 2007

Armani and Samsung Sing

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Remember the Prada-LG mobile phone? Or the special edition Dolce Gabana-Motorola mobile phone? Now, Armani and Samsung have collaborated on the launch of a new luxury mobile phone. The 10.5-millimeter thick phone is equipped with a 3-megapixel camera, MP3 music and MPEG-4 video player and a microSD memory chip slot. RIM may rest assured, the team is targeting a”fashion consumer”. The mobile phone will be available in Samsung stores and Giorgio Armani boutiques in major European countries from November 2007, with expansion to other markets planned for 2008. Samsung is the second largest mobile phone provider and Armani is the world’s richest fashion designer with an empire worth over $3 billion dollars, a dangerous duo indeed. Samsung and Armani will not stop at mobile phones. In 2008, they will champion television and other household appliances. It remains to be seen if the match up will amount to real business or just another press splash. NATALIA


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The Business of Beautiful Bags

While keeping pace with the hectic schedule of London Fashion Week and The London Design Festival, I hurried into a myriad of shops. Compelled by the sharp window displays, warm atmosphere and level of taste, one shop left a keen impression. As a creative and professional, it is very difficult to find laptop bags that marry grace and functionality. For me, a level of protection, sophistication and cool factor is required. While Tumi is producing interesting technical bags, they are a bit bulky and lack a sex appeal. Alternatively, most women’s designer handbags do not have sufficient protection or the appropriate sizing. As the workingwomen whisks from site-to-site, what can she use to carry her documents, computer and necessities? I vote Bill Amberg. NATALIA

Luxury Retailer, Ebay?

EBay, currently the world’s largest online retailer according to Nielsen/Net Ratings, sells and auctions everything from German lawn tools to signature Hermes bags. The online auctioneer has become a household name with few signs of slowing. Along the way high-end designers believed EBay was no competition for their lavish brick-and-mortars. Billions of dollars later, there is reason for concern. In one month, EBay generated 3 million in sales that included designer handbags from Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, also new high-end shoes, jewelry, apparel and footwear at a deep discount. Increasingly, customers are looking to EBay for designer deals. Luxury brands thrive on a balance of exclusivity and sales. In addition to counterfeit and knock-offs, luxury brands now need to navigate the tempting lure of addictive online auctions. NATALIA

E-Commerce Elitist

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Luxury French jeweler, Boucheron announced that it would embrace e-commerce. While other high-end jewelers were earlier adopters of e-commerce, most used the Internet to sell less pricey lines. Boucheron has an innovative approach. The entire collection, not just a diffusion line, will be sold through their website. Also available, is a unique feature that allows customers to customize their designs, mixing and matching diamonds from vintage and new collections to create personal pieces. The website is being designed to be an extension of the service Boucheron currently provides to its big spenders. The goal is to reach customers intimidated by the in-store experience, while providing the same class of service to current customers on-line. Couture cyber-jewels, who will be next? NATALIA


Internet, the Future of Luxury?

By it’s very nature, the Internet is egalitarian. Increasingly, more people are shopping, learning, communicating, playing and exploring life via the Internet. What does this mean for fashion? The future of fashion will be heavily influenced by the Internet. If luxury is defined by exclusivity the robust openness of Internet is counter intuitive. It remains that luxury brands are businesses and need to move product. Since potential customers are spending less time in-store and more time on-line, a clever solution may be on the horizon. NATALIA