Sir Martin Sorrell of the WPP Group gave us an insight into the world’s global markets where a number of large issues were having an effect on global consumers. This is alongside other worries such as the forthcoming British election hovering on the horizon. A recent report in the Financial Times comments on the effect the student protests in Hong Kong plus sanctions against wealthy Russians and the Chinese pulling back after anti-corruption laws had on their falling property markets. WPP’s Chairman endorsed all of this. Even at Prada where profits slid 30% in the first half of this year, the Co-Chief Executive Officer and Director Patrizio Bertelli warned that ‘difficult economic and geopolitical conditions are negatively influencing consumer attitude’.
If this was not enough, luxury brands are facing a change in taste with a shift from ostentatious and mainstream brands into understated, creative new niche and premium brands. The brands are fighting back. Not only this, but there is another trend emerging: brand collaboration.
The latest Louis Vuitton campaign uses six iconoclasts to re-image the Louis Vuitton logo in order to celebrate their 160th anniversary and it is just brilliant: the architect Frank Gehry designed a sculptural curved bag, whilst Louboutin designed a classic Paris bag and Lagerfeld a punch bag Trunk. Frank Gehry was commissioned to create the amazing single storey ‘Fondation Louis Vuitton’ on the Bois de Boulogne designed to display the wealth and taste of the LVMH organisation. This radical architecture, using aviation technology, creates the most breathtaking single storey building, which dominates the site of the former lion enclosure. Apart from wonderful art, there is an auditorium that will be a perfect setting for catwalk shows.
Jace Tyrrell Deputy Chief Executive of the New West End company, which represents the golden triangle of luxury London is collaborating with restaurants, art galleries, hotels and developers to create an area full of attractions for even the most jaded palette.
A collaboration that is the first of its kind, is the Berkeley Club, which links the customers of all the companies in the Berkeley Group to high end specialist British brands including Aston Martin, Asprey, Gieves & Hawkes and Phillips the auctioneers to events, lectures and openings. It enables customers of all members of the Berkeley Club to share the appreciation of quintessential British brands.
Another unlikely collaboration is between Beetles + Huxley and Joanna Hardy. The Beetles + Huxley gallery is just off Piccadilly and specialises in photography. However, it uses the centre space in the gallery to display modern craftsmanship jewellery. Their collaboration with Joanna Hardy, the jewellery expert, is paying dividends and maximises gallery space. Beetles + Huxley’s exhibition, ‘Masters of Modern Jewellery’ runs until the 13th December with a selection that appeals to everyone’s tastes. Tom Rucker’s GEO.SPHERE necklace endorses the new style of luxury and craftsmanship, which seems to be the new direction for the luxury market.