By SUZANNE KAPNER and CHRISTINA PASSARIELLO for The WALL STREET JOURNAL
By Fani Kelesidou, for The Motley Fool
"The best things in life are free. The second best things are very, very expensive," the queen of elegance Coco Chanel once stated. And she was right. In the world of "true" luxury, the relentless effort to create something that's in a class by itself was always rewarded with a sky-high price, which only an exclusive group could afford.
During the last half decade, however, an emerging "luxury for less" or "affordable luxury" industry thrives on emulating what once was considered exclusive and making it accessible to the masses. But, "true" luxury was never meant to be accessible. And this massification is causing an identity crisis, one that could have severe implications for high-end luxury brands down the line.
By Margaret Bogenrief for WSJ Market Watch
CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — In 2013, many retailers, particularly those in the luxury space, are finding themselves in a difficult position, caught between pricing and profitability.
While higher prices may automatically trigger dreams of high revenues and higher profitability, there are, interestingly, some luxury brands that, lured in by the seemingly promising formula of “lower prices equal more consumers,” now find themselves with less revenue, lower profits, and fewer shoppers.
Here are three luxury brands that, in trying to be all things to all customers, risk losing even more market share in 2013.
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Excerpt by Horacio Fabiano, The Huffington Post:
What does luxury really mean? How do you create a luxury brand? What does time tell us about luxury? Ketty Pucci-Sisti Maisonrouge's latest book, The Luxury Alchemist, is sure to appeal those who want to find the answers to these questions and take an insider's look at the premium market.
Among the many tools described by Maisonrouge there is one that is the most basic of them all: passion. Passion is the fundamental pre-requisite to starting a luxury brand. "It's all about passion" Maisonrouge explains. "When you have true passion, you only want to create perfection". She recognizes that passion is a requisite for every industry, but "in the luxury field this passion cannot disappear because you don't sell a product to your clients -- you sell a dream. Without passion, it's difficult to share that dream".
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It is the flagship store of the Sembikiya fruit emporium. Run by the same Samurai-descendant family since 1834, Sembikiya began as a discount fruit store. But the wife of the second-generation owner decided they could make more money the other way around. READ ARTICLE HERE
When a 21 year-old Yves St Laurent took the helm at Christian Dior after the couturier’s death in 1957, he gained critical acclaim for his first collection and firmly established a template for luxury goods businesses thereon in. So, the concept of a creative director evolved, with a remit to deliver sustainability and growth, built on the heritage of the brand while moving it forward for new audiences. And today, it is a crucial role in the world of selling luxury goods. READ ARTICLE HERERead More
VIENNA, Austria – The CEO of Hugo Boss at the FT Business of Luxury Summit 2013 said that the quality of a brand and its name are more appealing to luxury consumers than the location in which the products are made.Read More
“IT WAS an amazing golden age,” reflects Guillaume Brochard of Qeelin, a Chinese jeweller. From 2007 to 2011 many luxury-goods firms enjoyed double-digit annual growth in China, which became their most important market. The first blows came last year, with an economic slowdown and jitters about the political transition. Now, a crackdown on corrupt gift-giving and a populist backlash against ostentation have added to the woes.
The outlook for luxury-goods firms appears to have dimmed. Internet users have posted incriminating pictures, for example of poorly paid bureaucrats wearing suspiciously pricey watches, which have caused heads to roll. Mobs have also disrupted banquets deemed to be too lavish, on occasions forcing officials to their knees to beg for forgiveness.
Luxury spending in the United States collapsed after the 2008 financial crisis but roared back to pre-crisis levels by 2012. Last year, the world's No.1 and No.3 luxury groups LVMH and PPR saw higher growth rates in the United States than in China for the first time in years.
To capture those buyers, brands are now expanding beyond New York, which accounts for a third of U.S. luxury sales, and the next two main cities of Los Angeles and Miami.
Last month, Hermes opened in Greenwich, Connecticut - an area popular with financial professionals and their families - and plans to expand in cities like LA, Miami, Houston, Dallas and Boston over the next two years.
PPR's brands, which include Balenciaga, Gucci and Stella McCartney, are looking at Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Orlando and Philadelphia.
Very good cinematography
Here's the Backstage Video of the photo shooting appeared on Vogue Italia February 2013 issue.
One of the finest achievements of European furniture making, this cabinet is the most important product from Abraham (1711--1793) and David Roentgen's (1743--1807) workshop. A writing cabinet crowned with a chiming clock, it features finely designed marquetry panels and elaborate mechanisms that allow for doors and drawers to be opened automatically at the touch of a button. Owned by King Frederick William II, the Berlin cabinet is uniquely remarkable for its ornate decoration, mechanical complexity, and sheer size.