All the news having a fit in print.
This is the front page of today’s WWD. Just kidding. It kicks off a four-page (yes!) story on the anodyne reality of today’s fashion advertising, which has eschewed the controversial imagery it was once known for—think Benneton, things getting between Brooke and her Calvins, and Tom Ford—in favor of bland messaging and an emphasis on digital strategy for brand awareness.
Those interviewed point to the growing (if not singular) importance of digital media—it’s hard to be provocative when everything’s already been done, people are too afraid to be controversial, etc. But it’s more than that. Digital strategy is now the required way of communicating with your audience, and so difficult to get right. And most notably, it is about exerting control over your story. If someone says something negative about your brand on Twitter, it’s time to bring in the crisis management team, not celebrate the fact that you’re owning the news cycle. Consider Kenneth Cole, whose (seemingly?) misguided tweets that improbably attempt to tie international crises into his products. He’s always met with groans that he should get off Twitter, though he admitted to Details in 2013 that it’s all on purpose.
Nonetheless, his messages are always met with groans to get off Twitter. It’s still seen bad social media. For a brand, it seems, enthusiasm now means a round-up of links with commentary amounting to “Loved this.” (WWD)
- Harrods to open 42,000 sq.-ft. nail polish department. I mean shoe department. That’s smaller than Saks, which has its own zip code, 10022-SHOE. (WWD)
Dior Couture sales are slightly down. No wait, they’re way up. A “miscalculation” (FASHION MATH!) means the print edition of WWD reported a 1.5% dip in sales for Dior Couture, when in fact they’re up 13.4%: “Due to a miscalculation by WWD, the percentage changes are incorrect in the print edition of the paper dated July 28.” I am pretty bad at math. But that is quite the, ah, disparity. (WWD)
- Move over, Supreme. There’s a new…Supreme Leader. (BoF)
All the news that’s in the news!
“White Birkenstocks are Taking Over.” Walk outside your apartment: lurking to your left, behind a building, you see the massive, looming shadow of a menacingly stark white comfort shoe. To your right, a 50-foot-tall white Birkenstock crushes a crowd of Ohio tourists on the TMZ Bus Tour, who scream but cannot be saved from the sole of this decidedly ungentle giant. White Birkenstocks are Taking Over. (Fashionista)
Enrique Iglesias has 44 million fans on Facebook. Enrique Iglesias, who I forgot about until I finished writing the previous sentence, is releasing a fragrance. Why? Who is putzing around our big beautiful world thinking, “What scent is me? Am I musky scent? Or am I more floral? Do I prefer notes of maple jasmine? This would all be solved if I could just smell like Enrique.” The joke is on me, because Enrique Iglesias has 44 million Facebook fans who are ready and willing and now, able, to smell like Enrique Iglesias—even if it means risking death. Except for that last part, that’s all true. What does it mean to smell like Enrique Iglesias in 2014? Per WWD, “Top notes are of Italian mandarin, cedrat and violet leaves; its heart is of black pepper, saffron and pomarose, and the drydown features Texas cedarwood, roasted tonka beans and suede.” In other words. (WWD)
- CFDA buys the fashion calendar. And it was 50% off because it’s almost August. Nonagenarian Ruth Finley is handing over the keys to the CFDA, who are hoping to make the entirety of NYFW less of a fustercluck of hopping from the reaches of West Chelsea to the blahly corporate tents of Lincoln Center for 15 minute stretches. Historically, NYFW is the least streamlined of the big four, particularly because IMG and Made have hosted shows as separate entities, often in competition. Fashionista reports that both entities are in, which should do much to simplify the schedule. Finley will stay on as a consultant and she is a force of nature; picture a woman with old school chic and a mean collection of brooches tellingStyle.com in 2010, “If we don’t like a time—if you book four o’clock on Monday—I’ll tell you you’re not going to get the top models because Marc Jacobs booked from three to nine.” (WWD)
All the news that’s fit to Dior!
- Don’t close your store. And open an internet store. A new study from A.T. Kearney finds that customers prefer to shop in a physical store. Not on the web. Not on their phone. Not through a beeper. But in a real place, with a real person there to help, as long as that person doesn’t stand really close to you and keep asking if you need help when honestly you’re just browsing, but doesn’t just totally ignore you, either. “Shoppers find physical stores appealing,” says the study, authored by three people, one of whom has an incredible mustache. This means we’ll probably see more web-based start-ups opening brick-and-mortars, following in the steps of the Warby Parker store, the Birchbox store, the Bonobos store. A physical space has an ability to convert browsing into a sale that an online store just can’t compete with. The study acknowledges that the actual sale may happen online, meaning you try on the dress in Bergdorf’s, but make the purchase online. Whether the transaction happens at a digital competitor, instead of the physical store’s online counterpart, is unclear. Do brick-and-mortars actually breed loyalty, or are they just Amazon’s dressing rooms? (A.T. Kearney)
- Hey white boy, what you doing uptown? In a gesture of spirited redundancy, Vineyard Vines will open a store on the Upper East Side, a neighborhood already pimpled with be-croakied bros sporting the preppy line’s signature whale wear. While most brands pluck a shiny spot on Madison for their first uptown flagship, VV is wisely opening on Third Avenue, a street as convenient to the consultants of Yorkville as the Hamptons-bound Trinity seniors of Park Avenue. The checkout counter will be a fishing boat, because duh, so it’s like your cash is sailing away. (WWD)
Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski named artistic director at Hermès. Vanhee-Cybulski, who was previously women’s design director at The Row, will present her first collection next year. Lemaire and Hermès announced they were parting ways on Monday; Lemaire will focus on his eponymous line, which tbh is beyond wavy and sort of blowing up. His recent menswear collection, for example, had the kind of pared-back geometry you find in the deceptively simple primary colored blocks that in Germany pass for children’s toys. Vanhee-Cybulski has already proven she can nail the gargantuan simple sweater=too luxe for words look that has defined Hermès under Lemaire’s eye (The Row has always looked like less pricey Hermès to my demented luxury bubble of a mind). And the fact that her attention will be on one line, whereas Lemaire juggled Hermès with his brand, makes her the perfect torchbearer for a line that’s really starting to click with consumers (RTW and accessories were up 16% this year, even more than leather and silk, their iconic products). (BoF)