Slammed by the global economic crisis, the high-flying luxury sector lostaltitude in 2009, shedding billions insales, forcing bankruptcy filings andlayoffs galore and ushering in a new set of rules with the word “value” inscribedat the top.
Roughly 14 billion euros, or $20.78 billion at current exchange rates, in luxury sales evaporated this year, according to Bain & Co. estimates, as high-end consumers kept their pocketbooks shut and the term “luxury shame” entered the popular lexicon. Any splurges likely took place at home in front of a computer — keeping online sales humming — or goods were toted home in plain brown bags.
A host of famous fashion and luxury players, including Escada, IT Holding, Viyella, Waterford Wedgwood, Yohji Yamamoto and Christian Lacroix, sought court protection from their creditors. Most of those companies found ways to continue. However, acclaimed couturier Lacroix saw a Paris court approve a plan to reduce his fashion house to a licensing operation, ending its high-fashion activity and leaving a gap in an increasingly threadbare couture calendar come January.
Several young labels also succumbed, with Belgian Veronique Branquinho liquidating her 11-year-old fashion house and Luella Bartley ceasing operations after her brand’s global licensee and distributor, Club 21, walked away from their six-year relationship.
A wide swath of companies was forced to renegotiate financing or reduce headcounts to meet a steep fall in demand in high-end products. In late October, Versace said it would cut 350 jobs, about 25 percent of its workforce, in the Italian firm’s bid to return to profitability in 2011.
Companies including Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Luxottica, Prada and Swarovski either laid off or temporarily idled workers due to the recession.
The Swiss watchmaking industry also spent the year licking its wounds amid massive destocking by retailers. Zenith, Franck Muller and Metalor were among firms that announced job cuts.
Exports of Swiss watches declined as much as 31.9 percent in June, dropping to 2006 levels. The most recent statistics released by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry have shown a small improvement in exports during October, as the decline appeared to stabilize.
Humbled by the harsh economic climate, especially in the U.S. and parts of Europe, luxury firms shifted their attention to emerging markets, including fast-growing Asia, and pursued consumer-focused events in a bid to encourage spending.
Leveraging their store networks and customer databases, brands plotted more frequent and varied in-store efforts to boost traffic and coax spending.
Tactics ranged from standard trunk shows and giveaways to temporary stores and limited edition products to break through what executives described as a psychological barrier to discretionary spending.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye