Monday, June 18, 2012

preview Carven Pre Collection S/S 2013

Buying session: See By Chloe in Antwerp

The little-sister line to Chloé took its first (virtual) steps onto the runway today. See by Chloé became the second label, after the relaunched ICB by Prabal Gurung, to strut into the online ether as part of, which allows an invite-only crowd to screen prerecorded shows. It's hard to imagine Chloé ever making such a move—especially as it gears up to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year—but little sisters are often more adventurous than their elders. Especially when they've got parents in high places pushing them along. "It felt right to support this strong and directional collection and to promote See by Chloé via an innovative and new digital platform which allows optimum visibility to the label," Chloé CEO Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye said.

The See aesthetic riffs on that of the Chloé main line, especially in its emphasis on long, fluid lines, soft volumes, and a pretty, feminine bent. For Fall, the femme got flirty with an emphasis on sheer mesh tops and dresses in silk georgette, viscose, and silk, fineness that played off the roughness and slouch of oversize outerwear and,  in denim and wide-wale corduroy. Piece by piece, you could see items that should energize customers on the sales floor, but overall, the message wasn't as distinctive as the medium.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Martin Margiela for H&M

So, looks like that Maison Martin Margiela for H&M collaboration is happening after all. Only a day after the rumors broke, H&M has sent out a press release and posted two promotional videos on Youtube confirming the new partnership. Maison Martin Margiela for H&M will launch November 15, and will feature clothing and accessories for both men and women. It’ll be available in 230 stores worldwide and online (cross your fingers their US ecommerce site has launched by then). While we’re excited to see what the new collection will turn out (hair shirts, please!), we have to say, at first glance, the collaboration seems like an unlikely pairing. A very discerning set of fashion people (Kanye West included) live and die for Maison Martin Margiela, but the label doesn’t have the easy name recognition as say, Versace. The label’s avant garde aesthetic, too, seems like a gamble for the mass retailer. For Maison Martin Margiela’s part, a mass-produced collection for a retail giant like H&M seems antithetical to the house’s niche, fashion cult status. In fact, the two collaborators couldn’t be more different–something the press release sought to highlight, with side-by-side comparisons of their C.V.s: However, there is one thing H&M and Maison Martin Margiela have in common: They both believe fashion should be a democracy. “The democracy of our fashion has always been at the centre of our creativity, and the collaboration with H&M allows us to push this instinct further,” Maison Martin Margiela said in the press release. “We will bring together the contrasting universes of the two houses in ways that will surprise all.” It’s worth noting that mass market retail may not be so far off for the brand, considering it was bought by Diesel in 2002, and that Martin Margiela himself left the house in 2009. Still, die-hard Margiela fans will probably feel a little conflicted about the collaboration. Whether MMM fans queue up or not, the collaboration is one of the most ambitious we’ve ever heard of, and H&M deserves kudos for that. The Swedish retailer is clearly devoted to pushing the envelope with these collaborations, and as the pioneers of designer collabs (they kicked off this crazy trend with Karl Lagerfeld in 2004), they know what they’re doing, and they do it better than anyone else. “This collaboration will be a great and memorable fashion moment,” H&M’s creative advisor, Margareta van den Bosch, said. We don’t doubt it for a second. Will you line up? Videos: Youtube



Wednesday, June 6, 2012

To Pay or Not to Pay: A Closer Look at the Business of 


Photo By Courtesy Photo

There’s been some backlash from designers and brands as they question having to pay bloggers from $5,000 up to $50,000 to work with them. Skeptics question whether paying bloggers results in significant return on investment, especially in comparison to a magazine or television ad. Besides, some brands contend, if bloggers are journalists, journalists aren’t paid for writing about a company.

Bloggers argue back that their fees have substantial ROI because blogs can drive millions of page views a month both on their sites and the brand’s Web site. So why shouldn’t they be paid? And while some bloggers are journalists in the true sense, most of them don’t consider themselves journalists on par with those at The New York Times or the The Wall Street Journal. They are more like columnists, expressing opinions about what they see.

“When you want to work with a blogger in a way that you would with any influencer — whether it’s a photographer, a stylist, a designer for your windows, a public endorser of your brand, advertising or a design collaboration — that’s where you have to compensate because you would compensate anyone for those things,” said Karen Robinovitz, co-founder and chief creative officer of Digital Brand Architects, who considers herself the pioneer of “blogger agents.”

She pointed out that if a brand sends a blogger a box of clothes with the intent of having them create four dedicated full looks that they need shot for posts, the talent has to location scout — and is responsible for styling, hair, makeup, photography, art direction, retouching, copywriting and posting.

“That takes a magazine sometimes 20 people to pull off,” Robinovitz said.

The tension between brands and bloggers is resulting from the ever-evolving world of the Web. As brands increase their involvement with bloggers in terms of coverage and projects, the line between what they should be paid for and what they shouldn’t is growing increasingly blurry.

For between $5,000 and $20,000, a brand can work with an influential blogger to host an event (plus airfare, hotel and entertainment, of course) — one that gets upward of a few million page views a month and will cross-promote the brand on the blogger’s site (although the jury is still out on proving ROI from page views, with sales being the only concrete measure). Starting from $20,000 to $25,000 (and up), a company can book a blogger for various weeklong projects during Fashion Week — with some bloggers fetching nearly $50,000 for even longer-term partnerships. In 2010, Bryanboy’s Bryan Grey Yambao boasted that he made more than $100,000 a year from blogging (and got a lot of flack for it) — which by today’s standards seems quite low for a top-tier blogger, especially when one factors in the partnerships with advertising and other heavily integrated projects.

But how can brands know the money is well spent? Neiman Marcus measures the effectiveness of a campaign by tracking page views, uniques, impressions, referral traffic, as well as engagement through “likes,” comments, retweets, replies, brand mentions, shares and increases in in-bound and out-bound links, according to vice president of corporate public relations Gabrielle de Papp.

She recently voiced a complaint about the going rates for bloggers at a panel with Song of Style’s Aimee Song at the Lucky Blogger Conference in Santa Monica, Calif., where she said, “editorially sized budgets” sometimes hinder the ability to work with bloggers.

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