MOSCOW — The news from Russia hasn’t gotten any better.
Until last year a key potential growth engine for luxury brands, the market has imploded as rapidly as the price of the oil that fueled the country’s wealth. In Moscow, an Alexander McQueen and a Stella McCartney boutique, both of which are franchises run by the same Russian firm, are to close less than 18 months after opening as a result of the crisis, while department stores report plummeting sales. And the prospects for Russian brands, many of which previously had international expansion in their plans, are less certain.
The McCartney and McQueen stores “were both opened practically at the beginning of the financial crisis,” said Lidia Alexandrova, the manager of luxury stores for Russian franchisers Arts Group. “They need an extremely large investment to operate successfully. The owners decided that it makes more commercial sense to rent out the space for other uses.”
The McQueen store opened in September 2007, and the McCartney store in March 2008.
A Manolo Blahnik franchise also recently shut down, although a company spokesman declined to comment on the reason.
Russia’s stock markets and currency have taken a battering as a result of the financial crisis, which has exacerbated the effects of slumping oil and metals prices and a pullout of foreign investment. The government is facing hard realities: Its 2009 budget was based around an estimated oil price of $95 a barrel, though last week Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered that the budget assume an oil price of $41 a barrel. Oil prices on Wednesday averaged $42 to $44 a barrel on global exchanges.
The country is not officially in a recession, though GDP forecasts have been slashed. And the government has spent around $200 billion, a third of its reserves, to prevent the ruble from collapsing.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion