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CIAO, NAPLES: Two weeks ago in Naples, Louis Vuitton inaugurated its newest boutique in the city’s prestigious shopping area at 2 Via dei Mille. The 4,305-square-foot space is spread over two floors and replaces the brand’s historic Via Calabritto location as well as the temporary store that was opened last year. For the occasion, the French luxury brand also unveiled a partnership with the dance school of Italy’s oldest theater, the Teatro San Carlo, also in Naples. For the next three years, Louis Vuitton will offer a number of scholarships to students from low-income families and, in collaboration with the school, sponsor cultural talks with renowned figures from the dance and theater industry at least twice a year.
DATA FEED: Who’s in and who’s out of fashion? Polyvore plans to answer that question in lavish detail today, when it unveils Style Analytics, a tool for seeing how brands rank on its site that will be free for anyone to use.
Polyvore already ranks the most popular brands, sites, trends and celebrities on its front page. Site Analytics will go deeper, with info on how quickly brands are rising and falling in popularity, how much activity happens around a brand on any given day, a brand’s top products and what other brands Polyvore’s collage makers like to pair it with.
“Our goal is to give brands and retailers insight into how customers perceive their brand and, in particular, how they’re perceived through the eyes of Polyvore’s tastemakers,” said Jess Lee, Polyvore co-founder and head of product management. “It’s free and public, it’s experimental and anyone will be able to look up any brand.”
Polyvore has more than 7 million unique visitors a month, who create and share collages of fashion and beauty images. Along with fashion search engines, it is one of the largest drivers of traffic to online retailers. Companies such as Yves Saint Laurent, Coach and Net-a-porter hold frequent contests on the site, and Victoria’s Secret recently used its product data to create a holiday gift guide of “most wished for” Pink products.
OPENING MARGIELA: It was only a matter of time before Opening Ceremony and Maison Martin Margiela decided to mutually bask in each other’s insidery glow. The downtown New York store, which is in the midst of a year devoted to all things French, has revealed its latest collaboration, a capsule collection of women’s clothes and accessories called MM6 Maison Martin Margiela x Opening Ceremony for fall 2011. Opening Ceremony’s Humberto Leon says he’s been a charter member of MM6 since day one, and is “excited to see these two worlds collide.
MARKS AND SAVINGS: Marks & Spencer is said to be mulling a move into retail banking. According to an unsourced report by Bloomberg this week, the U.K.’s largest clothing retailer is considering opening banks inside 55 stores, in conjunction with the bank HSBC. Those stores would offer selected banking services by 2012, if all goes to plan, Bloomberg said. Spokesmen for M&S and HSBC declined to comment. M&S currently offers customers foreign exchange services, insurance, loans and credit cards. Its financial services division has been a subsidiary of HSBC since 2006.
EAU DE MONIQUE: Consumers soon will be able to make their homes smell like Monique Lhuillier’s, even if their cramped apartments don’t otherwise match up to the bridal gown designer’s elegant and roomy Bel-Air, Calif., abode. Lhuillier has signed her sixth licensing deal, with candle specialist D.L. & Co., for a home fragrance collection launching in April of next year. The collection will make its debut with a total of around seven stockkeeping units of candles, diffusers and gift sets, priced from $35 to $80, at Monique Lhuillier’s flagship salons, bridal boutiques and department stores. There will be a white flower scent, a citrus scent and a red rose and blackberry scent, and a color palette of whites, grays and pinks for the products.
Lhuillier isn’t the only partnership D.L. & Co. has up its sleeve. Arcade Boutique, the West Hollywood destination for women’s designer brands, is collaborating with D.L. & Co. on a candle in a rose gold scalloped-edge glass holder.
HELPING HAND: This year, Agnona is celebrating Christmas by teaming up with nonprofit organization Care&Share to raise money for needy children in India. Thirty-five women created colorful handmade Christmas ornaments with cashmere materials provided by Agnona in the atelier built by Care&Share in collaboration with Fondazione Zegna. The goal of the project is to improve the quality of life of children living in the Andhra Pradesh and Krishna regions of India by helping to alleviate social, economic and health problems.
The cashmere ornaments are limited edition and were presented on Dec. 2 in Milan at the Agnona boutique on Via Montenapoleone, where they are on sale for 20 euros, or $26.20 at current exchange.