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After the Recession: The Look of Luxury

A smaller, stronger core of luxury — and fashion-forward — firms is likely to emerge from the recession, according to a new survey. New York-based Abrams Research polled more than 100 luxury-industry experts — executives, designers, buyers, editors and bloggers, among others — and 36.8 percent said the luxury sector would evolve to a more streamlined but strengthened model, with 34.9 percent expressing confidence that aspirational consumers would be a key component. Additional results and data from the study are available exclusively on WWD.com. Also, WWD asked executives to engage in a little wishful thinking and answer the question, “What’s the first thing you’ll do at your company once the recession ends?”

U.N. Predicts Global Economic Decline This Year

Rising global unemployment levels and shrinking economies are expected to persist through 2009, according to reports from the United Nations and the International Labor Organization. Meanwhile in the United States, May offered little relief for high-end merchandisers and another endorsement of retailers offering strong value propositions. Those dynamics are expected to remain in place this month, as will nostalgia for the government rebates of 2008. Also in May, the rate of job losses slowed as department stores added 4,500 positions and specialty apparel stores cut 3,300. Overall, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.4 percent, a 26-year high.

Retail Concepts Look to Grow at ReCon Convention

Even as the recession has some developers’ backs against the financial wall and is forcing many projects to be delayed, a slew of new retail concepts are emerging and developers are starting to talk about building new shopping centers again. Much of the expansion activity is coming from the hottest sector in retail right now — value retailers — including Dollar General, which is opening 450 stores this year and renovating or relocating 400 units. Dress Barn plans to roll out 40 namesake units and 50 Maurices stores in 2010, and new prototype concepts will bow in the next six months. Contemporary denim makers, too, are seeing the tough economy as an opportunity to get creative.

Miley Cyrus, Max Azria Sign Deal With Wal-Mart

Miley Cyrus, the teen sensation whose alter ego, Hannah Montana, stars in her own TV show and concerts, is teaming up with Max Azria, chairman, designer and chief executive officer of BCBG Max Azria Group, to create a junior line for Wal-Mart called Miley Cyrus and Max Azria, sources said. The trend-right collection will bow in all Wal-Mart stores and on walmart.com in early August, the sources said, adding the line will include tops, pants, graphic T-shirts and shoes, priced under $20.

Gucci Opens Shanghai Flagship

Gucci opened a major flagship in Shanghai on Sunday, marking the debut of creative director Frida Giannini’s latest retail concept in Mainland China. The store, covering more than 17,000 square feet, is Gucci’s 28th directly operated store in Mainland China. Also, Japan fast-fashion giant Uniqlo continues its global push with plans to open a sprawling Paris flagship this fall. Located at Rue Scribe in the city’s bustling Opéra shopping district and spanning some 23,000 square feet, the store’s glass-filled interior will be designed by Wonderwall Inc.’s Masamichi Katayama.

Marc Jacobs Resort Collection 2010

A little bit Rio and a whole lot of over-the-top fashion. That’s Marc Jacobs’ approach to resort, which he renders in an elaborate collection vibrating with color, prints and endless embellishment — embroideries, bead fringe, macramé and more. What girl wouldn’t love a cardigan glammed up with big 3-D paillette blossoms? As for the nylon carryall flashing a perky sequined parrot, Polly definitely wants a handbag. And for all the girly, giddy excess, there’s plenty to wear: terrific pants, both baggy and slim; versatile leathers; flounced party dresses; snappy striped sailor tops, and exquisitely decorated tweed jackets of the collectable sort. (See all the Marc Jacobs looks.) Also, all resort 2010 collections are available online.

Jean-Paul Agon at L’Oreal’s Helm

Even as the recession holds its grip, L’Oréal, the company that helped define the modern beauty era, is about to celebrate its centenary. However, tts 52-year-old ceo, Jean-Paul Agon, is thinking ahead to the next 100 years and what it will take to sustain the company’s preeminent leadership position. Also featured in WWD’s special section on L’Oréal is Lindsay Owen-Jones, the firm’s charismatic, 63-year-old master architect of its rise to dominance as chief executive officer from 1988 to 2006 and now the company’s nonexecutive chairman. A WWD blog also reveals an inkling Owen-Jones had about the emerging global recession.

Wu and Jacobs Strike a Pose

For this year’s CFDA Journal, Diane von Furstenberg’s only marching orders for creative director Trey Laird were “Capture fashion — do something fabulous.” So instead of using models to showcase the designers’ work, he decided it would be best to have the nominees shot sporting their own creations, which had not been done before. Marc Jacobs donned the floppy rabbit ears he created. Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez wore their handbags as if they were boxing gloves. More daring is the image of Swarovski women’s wear designer contender Jason Wu standing proudly in an emerald green evening gown over a gray suit. Inspired by Wu’s understated graceful dresses, Laird envisioned him as a bit like Fred Astaire, “but his Ginger Rogers is his creation.”

Playing Polo With Prince Harry

Prince Harry of Wales led a team in honor of his charity, Sentebale, in a polo match against Argentine pro Nacho Figueras and his squad, Black Watch. But even the royal was rusty. “I’ve only played polo once this year, so I’ll probably fall off [the horse],” he joked. Among the celebrities attending were Madonna, Chloe Sevigny and Donna Karan. (Click to see all the event photos.)

WWD Back in Time: John Waters, Sartorially Speaking

When John Waters sat down with WWD in April 1990 to promote his new flick “Cry-Baby” (starring Johnny Depp, then referred to as a “current teen idol” by WWD), the outré director had fashion on the brain. “I always wanted to cover a crime completely by fashion,” Waters told WWD. “What they wore when they committed the crime, what they wore to the trial, how they dealt with fashion on death row….I wanted the press card so I could butt in front of police cars and yell, ‘What were they wearing?’” Here, outtakes from Waters’ WWD portrait session, as well as some of our favorite photographs of his muse, the inimitable drag queen Divine.

See last week’s WWD Week in Review 5/29/09

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