If anyone knows the meaning of face value, it’s a watchmaker — right now, Baume & Mercier in particular. Over the past year, the 180-year-old Swiss luxury brand, part of Compagnie Financière Richemont SA, has given itself a makeover, which will be revealed Jan. 17 at the SIHH watch fair in Geneva. There, the redesigned Linea, Capeland and Classima watches (23 styles in all) will compete with Baume & Mercier’s other new face: Gwyneth Paltrow, the newly minted brand ambassador, or “friend of the brand,” as the firm is calling her. Past ambassadors include Meg Ryan, Kim Basinger, Teri Hatcher and Evangeline Lilly. Although she won’t appear in the ad campaign, Paltrow, who’s also been busy rebranding herself, will be involved with “communication projects,” the first of which is attending Baume & Mercier’s seaside-themed cocktail party at SIHH. Despite its Swiss roots, the house has decided to anchor its new image to the Hamptons in New York, a place where Paltrow is known to spend time.
As for the label’s new strategy, it’s been implemented by Alain Zimmermann, Baume & Mercier’s chief executive officer since Sept. 2009, who previously worked at Cartier and IWC, which are also part of Richemont. His first two months on the job were spent personally meeting with all of Baume & Mercier’s major retailers and immersing himself in the firm’s Facebook community. He concluded that Baume & Mercier had “suffered in recent years from a lack of appeal and visibility,” so he made the executive decision to discontinue the entire collection aside from its bestseller, the Classima, and relaunch the Linea and Capeland collections; the Hampton will relaunch in October. Zimmermann also cut points of sale by 40 percent to 1,650 worldwide. In the U.S. market, that number will shift from 700 to 250. The average price of the core pieces ranges from $2,000 to $4,000, with more elaborate styles topping out at $17,890. “Our positioning,” Zimmermann added, “remains as a brand that offers high-quality products with a beautiful design.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast