A finals-induced haze loomed over Columbia University in New York on Tuesday night as bundled-up undergrads bustled around campus, overstuffed backpacks in tow. Tensions were particularly palpable — and understandably so — inside Uris Hall, where 39 students in The Design and Marketing of Luxury Goods Master Class gathered to present a semester’s worth of work to senior executives from five luxury brands: Chanel, Hermès, Loro Piana, Pomellato and Van Cleef & Arpels.
Introduced in 2005 by the Luxury Education Foundation, the Master Class interdisciplinary course places M.B.A. students from Columbia Business School and undergraduate students from Parsons The New School for Design into small teams (six to nine students on each) that are then presented with real-life case studies currently being conducted by the companies. Past participants have included Cartier, Gucci, Christian Dior, Miu Miu and Louis Vuitton.
Over the course of the semester, students engaged in quantitative and qualitative research to fully understand the brand and its customer. The project cumulates with concrete business plans that can be potentially implemented by the brand. “It was definitely left brain meets right brain,” said Danielle Cervelli, a graduate student at Columbia Business School and member of the Pomellato team. “You have the Parsons students saying, ‘Let’s go sketch in Central Park,’ and the Columbia students saying, ‘Let’s go survey people in Central Park.’”
Tuesday night’s presentations clocked in at exactly 10 minutes each — abridged versions of the hour-and-a-half-long ones given to the clients earlier in the week. Technology was the hot topic of the evening, as each team touched upon how to better electronically engage clients, both in-store and online. Touchscreen displays (Hermès), around-the-clock e-services (Chanel) and a Facebook-focused marketing strategy (Van Cleef & Arpels) were among the ideas presented. The Pomellato team, for one, made good use of its fashion design majors, going so far as to design a New York City-themed capsule collection for one the brand’s line of charms, called Dodo.
Following each presentation, representatives from the company were given a chance to provide feedback. Hermès president and chief executive officer Robert Chavez used the time to commend his team on their unwavering work ethic. “We’ve learned a lot from them. We gave them one direction, and they taught us things that we’ve never even heard of,” said Chavez. “We just want to thank you for your dedication. We actually had a conference call the day the hurricane hit New York City because they did not want to miss out on even one session.”
Barbara Cirkva, division president of fashion, watches and fine jewelry at Chanel, who also serves as the chairwoman of the Luxury Education Foundation, missed the house’s pre-fall runway show, held earlier that day in Edinburgh, so she could be there for her college team.
Afterward, clients and relieved students mingled over Champagne — courtesy of the LVMH Group, of course. Heading into the reception, Cirkva played coy when it came to revealing whether or not the ideas presented would actually be utilized in the future. “Parts will be implemented,” said Cirkva. “We’re all friendly in the luxury market, but we like to keep some secrets to ourselves.”
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@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
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For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)