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TT Vol. 31
Gift Guide Clockwise from Top.
Last week, we put together a Kids & Baby Gift guide. This week, we wanted to highlight a few small Men’s items that look interesting to us. We’ve been ogling this Bottega Veneta accordion card case since it came out. As a noted fingerless glove wearer, I appreciate this Margaret Howell shetland wool option. I like this Western Hydrodynamic Research tote bag, an upgrade on the classic LL Bean version. Since meeting them both in Paris, I’ve been obsessed with the jewelry of Seb Brown and Bleue Burnham. Their signet rings are great, and Bleue Burnham in particular is really good about using recycled metals and lab grown stones. Given the times, we’ve been on the look out for luxury designers releasing their own cloth masks. This Marine Serre is the first one to really catch our eye. Finally, back in October, we wrote about our love for the low cut house shoe/mary jane look, and have a new addition to the list: this Lemaire loafer is a winner.
Last week saw a lot of senior fashion folks moving around. On the design side, Natacha Ramsay-Levi is leaving Chloé after 4 years as Creative Director. It is rumored that Gabriela Hearst will be taking over the Richemont-owned brand, once rival LVMH, which through its venture capital arm owns a portion of Hearst’s namesake business, gives its blessing. Vanessa Seward, the lead designer of A.P.C., has also been mentioned. We agree with Vanessa Friedman and hope that the search for a new chief designer expands beyond the usual group of white European creative directors, and that Chloé might find a person of color capable of reinvigorating the brand.
Ian Rogers, LVMH’s Chief Digital Officer and in charge of their struggling multi brand site 24 Sèvres, has left the luxury conglomerate to join a fintech venture. Reading between the lines, we think this means that LVMH is now serious about upgrading its e-commerce functions. While each of their fashion brands operate their own direct sites, with built in omnichannel, there isn’t a seamless solution to connect this data on LVMH’s back end. For example, customers can’t easily purchase a Louis Vuitton bag and Dior shoes in one place, other than going to a LVMH competitor. We’d expect Michael David, LVMH’s new Chief Omnichannel Officer, to begin consolidating data from fashion brands like Dior and LVMH into one place to better facilitate creating a LVMH-owned multi brand competitor to Farfetch and YNAP.
SSENSE, a leading e-commerce fashion retailer, just launched a new vertical they are calling Everything Else. It’s essentially a home/objects curation for products that don’t fit into the apparel/footwear/accessories world. There is a really wide range of items available, from Hasami tableware to some surf fins (which in turn led me to this really great bag being called a “beach Birkin”). While the fashion e-commerce world seems to be consolidating around a few large players, the online marketplace for luxury home goods is still fractured. We still shop at places like Amazon and Target, more curated sites like March and other similar boutiques, as well as buying directly from vendors. There aren’t really any great sites aggregating the best candles, furniture and decorative objects in one place, and it will be interesting to see how successful Everything Else will be. From a buying perspective, a large portion of running a home/object business is re-ordering top styles as inventory begins to sell down, and for a tech savvy outfit like SSENSE, I imagine they have a nice backend solution to automate this. If so, buyers would be freed up to spend time identifying new products and vendors without being handcuffed to writing replenishment orders all day long.
We started watching Jenna Lyons’ new HBO Max show called Stylish this week. Raquel, a fellow J.Crew veteran, got to work with Jenna during her 6+ year tenure, and we were excited to see how her show turned out. It follows the former creative director as she launches her lifestyle brand and consulting business, and auditions creatives for her future team. The concept is engaging, and it’s always interesting to hear the feedback Jenna gives to the young designers on the projects they are submitting in competition to join her team. Jenna obviously takes her role very seriously, as she is under pressure to create her new business while the cameras are running. Both Raquel and I felt like the real star was Kyle. He has a really raunchy sense of humor but compliments Jenna well, in addition to managing the constant drama of the young associates. There are definitely some really good argument scenes among the designers as they jockey for positions on Jenna’s new team. There is plenty of fighting and tears being shed. We also like that they tried to audition a diverse group of candidates (we’re a fan of Justin). We’re rooting for Jenna to launch a successful business, and excited to see how the show develops.
Google’s DeepMind artificial intelligence has solved a 50 year old protein folding problem which has enormous implications for life sciences, and could result in advances in treatments for cancer and dementia.
Raquel & Chris