24 November 2009

Cycle Wear -- Get On Your Bikes And Ride

Motorcycle USA

Ho, ho, ho… I’m not a Grinch, really, but there’s stuff about X-mas I can do without. Like for instance shopping, running the mall parking lot gauntlet, standing in line while listening to Mannheim Steamroller. Oh, man, once those synthesizers start up with the Little Drummer Boy… Shoot me now.

Fortunately, I, like the real Santa, have long since abandoned brick-and-mortar retail for the convenience of online shopping. Maybe you see where I’m going with this. Yes, my friends, it’s time for my top editorial picks from the motorcycle holiday gear bag.

Motorcycle Helmets
Forget those sickening Zales commercials, it’s a motorcycle helmet, not jewelry, that truly says I love you. A helmet is love, surrounded by energy-absorbing EPS foam and a resilient polymer shell. But what lids top my Christmas List this year? I got two of them:

Shoei RF-1100
MSRP: $400-450 Solid, $499 Graphics

My favorite this year is the Shoei RF-1100 helmet. A 2010 replacement for the RF-1000, the RF-1100 delivers high quality fit and finish, is incredibly quiet and conforms to the new Snell M2010 standard. For full-face protection it has been my go-to helmet since I scored a test unit this summer. How much do I like it? I keep it locked in my car so my boss, Kenny, won’t steal it! The only downside, and it’s a big one, is the sheik MSRP.

HJC IS-MAX Modular
MSRP: $200-215

I’ve sample three flip-up helmets this riding season, but feel the HJC IS-MAX delivers the best value, which at $200-215 is one of the more affordable entries into the modular market. It feels quite light and features an extremely easy opening face shield design. Wearing earplugs, it’s quiet enough for prolonged stints in the saddle and we found the venting more than effective, the top venting being particularly good. A retractable integrated sun visor is a nice touch, all but eliminating the need for swapping out shields or wearing sunglasses, though we wouldn’t want to crash with it down as it scuffed the bridge of our nose more than once… DOT certified with a comfortable and washable liner, the IS-MAX is my default helmet when headed out on a long-distance ride or crave the convenience of a modular.

Motorcycle Jackets
Joe Rocket Alter Ego
Why get more than one jacket, when a versatile jacket like the Alter Ego delivers warm and cold weather protection?

Joe Rocket Alter Ego Jacket
MSRP: $260-275
I’ve been fortunate to sample some great jackets in 2009, but the Joe Rocket Alter Ego I reviewed last year is still my top recommendation. The reason? Versatility. With its numerous removable panels the Alter Ego can transform from fully ventilated mesh design to waterproof rain jacket. At the moment it is my favorite warm weather jacket, and I’ve found it performs admirably in colder weather too. While it lacks the wind/rain uber protection of a purpose-built touring jacket, by wearing a couple extra layers underneath with the wind/waterproof liner I’ve made plenty of chilly rides in the Alter Ego without any complaint. Like most riding jackets, the Joe Rocket Jacket MSRP is more expensive than I think necessary, but it really can be used year round. Look, you can specialize and buy various jackets that do one thing exceptional, but I prefer the one jacket that does everything well enough – the Alter Ego.

Motorcycle Boots
TCX Airtech XCR Boots
MSRP: $250

There’s two major reasons why I love my TCX Airtech XCR Boots. First, the TXC Airtechs are lightweight. Sure, protection is paramount but I like boots that feel light enough to wear comfortably off the bike too. Second, the TCX are waterproof. I ride in the rain quite often, so I can tell you that dry feet and warm hands are the difference between utter misery and sheer indifference to the cold. I prefer the latter and have had warm feet after every ride using the Airtechs. The boots deliver a comfy fit and sure-footed sole on wet ground. The Velcro sidestrap and zipper opening is simple to use. I can’t profess to being much of a fashionista but the TCX aren’t too flashy, with a low-key style that I prefer (and I imagine a lot of touring riders would agree). But there is the matter of their $250 MSRP. Yes, it stings, I know, but you will have purchased a quality pair of boots for many, many riding seasons.

20 November 2009

Singer Snags Six Easy Pieces At Madoff Auction

National Jeweler Network

The Singer Collection, an expert in antique and 20th-century jewelry, has acquired six pieces that once belonged to infamous Wall Street swindler Bernie Madoff.

Madoff, who is serving a 150-year sentence after pleading guilty to a multi-billion fraud that burned thousands of investors, and his wife, Ruth, had a number of their possessions put up for auction on Nov. 14 in New York City.

The Singer Collection entered winning bids for six items, according to a press release from the New York-based company.

They include Art Deco-style platinum, diamond and onyx link bracelets, ebony and gold loop earrings by designer David Webb, Chaumet Paris bangles and a Victorian tassel lariat chain.

"Oftentimes, a notorious provenance will create a greater buzz than other celebrity pieces," Singer Collection President Stuart Singer said in the release. "So I am very excited to have purchased pieces that will certainly add 'spice' to our estate jewelry collections!"

The Singer Collection wasn't the only company to walk away from the auction with a few of Bernie's baubles.

According to The Associated Press, two pairs of Ruth Madoff's diamond dangle earrings sold for $70,000 each at the auction, well exceeding pre-sale estimates of $9,800 and $21,400.

Another buyer paid $65,000 for Madoff's Rolex, which was below estimates of $80,000.

In addition, the AP reports that Madoff's blue satin New York Mets baseball jacket with his surname stitched on the back was valued at only $720 but snagged a whopping $14,500 at auction.

All proceeds from the auction will benefit Madoff's victims, according to the AP.

Brangelina-Designed Snake Jewelry

National Jeweler Network

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are famous for juggling their film schedules with philanthropic efforts that take them around the globe, all while playing parents to six kids, but the Hollywood power couple has lately gotten even busier: They've dipped into jewelry design.

British jewelry brand Asprey recently announced the launch of the "Protector Collection," featuring limited-edition fine jewels and silver objects designed in collaboration with Jolie and Pitt.

Each piece in the collection features a snake motif, one that Asprey said Jolie chose for its symbolism as an iconic guardian, particularly over family protection and fertility.

According to Asprey, during Jolie's first pregnancy, she was given a snake ring, intended to guard her and her unborn child. The snake symbol - not sea turtle jewelry -  has become a family guardian to the Jolie-Pitts, and in the Protector Collection, it appears in everything from fine jeweled bracelets to rings, earrings and pendants available for both children and adults.

The motif can also be found in three sterling silver objects: a tooth box featuring an animated snake that stands above the circular box; an eggcup replete with a coiled snake wrapped around the cup's base; and a spoon whose handle takes serpentine form.

Each piece in the collection was handcrafted at Asprey's London flagship store, and the designs are available now.

Given that this is a Jolie-Pitt venture, the collection also has a philanthropic bent. All net proceeds will be donated to the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, a nonprofit organization that seeks out donors and identifies new and innovative projects to provide education for children affected by conflict, violence, war or natural disaster.

19 November 2009

Vionnet Label To Be Revived (Again)

Wall Street Journal

As "Rocky VII" proves, it's hard to live up to the original but harder yet to abandon an established brand. This is true of fashion houses, too, which is why we're essentially up to "Dior V," "Givenchy V" and "Halston VI: The Designer Strikes Back."

Now another former haute couture house is seeking ready-to-wear immortality with new backers and a fresh designer. Testing the limits of the strategy, the brand in question is Vionnet, a masterful label that you probably have never heard of.

Its founding designer, Madeleine Vionnet shuttered her business in 1939, and it stayed shut for six decades. So while the name is venerated in fashion circles, it's not as if every high-school girl is dying to own a Vionnet bag.

Yet earlier this year, Matteo Marzotto bought the rights to the Vionnet brand with his friend Gianni Castiglioni, chief executive of Marni. Mr. Marzotto is the sixth-generation scion of an Italian textile family and the former chief executive of Valentino (now "Valentino III"). "We have to re-interpret a bright past, but not reproduce it," he says.

The reintroduction of Vionnet comes just in time to take advantage of the first-ever Vionnet retrospective at the Louvre's Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. The exhibit of 130 dresses, with interactive explanations of Vionnet's techniques, runs through Jan. 31. The show also may remind the public that Coco Chanel was not the only designer who pioneered today's modern, comfortable clothing.

Madeleine Vionnet popularized the forgiving bias cut and dispensed with buttons, zippers and hooks in favor of draping and wrapping fabric in comfortable forms; she dressed both Garbo and Dietrich. She created packable clothing for women who traveled, and her designs were so modern and so influential that you can find bits of them—wrap looks and drop-waist dresses, for instance—in almost any store today. Her work is studied in fashion schools with a reverence akin to aviation's regard for Charles Lindbergh.

Ms. Vionnet was paranoid when it came to copies—she pioneered dress-design copyrighting methods, cutting down on knock-offs. And in 1952, she donated her entire archive of dress samples, patterns and photographs to what is now the Musée des Arts Decoratifs.

Curator Pamela Golbin grins at her museum's fortune. "We've got the goods," she says. "She gave us the entire memory of her house."

The donation meant something different for Vionnet's new designer, Rodolfo Paglialunga: He lacked the benefit of an archive, bringing a whole new meaning to "inspired by." He worked from textbooks, photographs and anything else he could get his hands on.

Ms. Golbin says she toured Mr. Marzotto, Mr. Castiglioni and his wife (Marni designer Consuelo Castiglioni), and even Mr. Marzotto's mother through the exhibit. But Mr. Paglialunga says he was too shy to request a special tour. "I just went very quietly myself," he says.

"After I saw that, I was very scared … she's influenced everything," the designer says of Ms. Vionnet's work.

Thirteen years of designing women's wear for Miuccia Prada have given him a background in independent women, though. The resort/spring collection he created for Vionnet will arrive at Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Net-a-porter.com, Holt Renfrew and other stores later this month.

The spring 2010 collection shown in Paris last month walks a fine line between homage and modern life. Largely created from squares of fabric (right out of Vionnet textbooks), long tunics can also be worn as short dresses and can even be worn backward or thrown over gaucho-type slacks. Sleeves are tied like scarves at shoulders, and the scarf becomes a motif in shoes.

These are intriguing, attractive clothes that could be tossed in a suitcase. But because they're labeled Vionnet, they must be compared with the originals. The new Vionnet is heavier and less elegant, without the cutting-edge magic of the original.

Of course, the current dark Givenchy under Riccardo Tisci bears no resemblance to the former label of Hubert de Givenchy. It's just a brand—and a successful one. Brands like Nina Ricci, Halston and Rochas have recently been revolving doors for designers who set aside their artistic druthers to channel someone else's. Sometimes, as in the case of Balenciaga with designer Nicolas Ghesquière, investors hit gold.

This isn't the first attempt to revive Vionnet. Previous investors tried it in 2006 and 2007. So we're really talking here about "Vionnet IV." Mr. Marzotto, too, worries about missteps; as he details his plans, he adds, "I'm still crossing fingers every morning for Vionnet—crossing fingers with both hands."

Women Bent Out Of Shape By Shapewear

Wall Street Journal

Before Jessica Kraus put on a tight-fitting frock one recent evening, she wriggled into a $76 piece of flesh-toned underwear that extended from the bottom of her bra to mid-thigh. She felt confident and svelte as she left her apartment to meet friends for cocktails.

Then a few hours later, the 25-year-old Boston event planner was faced with what she says was a "horrific situation." As she was embracing a man she had met that night, Ms. Kraus got to thinking about what lurked beneath her sleek exterior.

"There's no graceful way of taking the thing off," she says.

Sales of "shapewear"—undergarments for women who want a flawless, bulge-free silhouette while wearing tight clothes—have taken off since 2000. That's when Oprah Winfrey declared a brand called Spanx, with its bright packaging and product names like Bod-a-Bing! and Hide & Sleek, one of her "favorite things." The size of the market has tripled over that time, to $750 million in annual sales through the end of 2008, according to market-research firm NPD Group.

As one of the stars of the TV drama series "Melrose Place" said in a recent episode: "Perfection is as easy as a good pushup bra and some Spanx."

But the practicalities of actually wearing the undergarments are somewhat more complicated.

Brittany Bohn, 27, a lawyer in Chicago, locked herself in the bathroom at a local bar to wriggle out of what she calls a "girdle/long-underwear contraption" that was rolling down her rib cage and making her bulges look bigger than they actually are.

So what's driving sales of these garments? "It's like this competitive thing we have with other women," says Mary Pantier, a 40-year-old yoga instructor in Erie, Colo., who accidentally flashed her Spanx, worn under her workout ensemble, while in a downward-dog pose in class.

Ms. Pantier's husband, Hank, 35, doesn't get it. "If you stuff five pounds into a two-pound container, it doesn't make the five pounds smaller. It just makes it stranger-looking and uncomfortable," says Mr. Pantier, who has told his wife she feels "like a tire" in Spanx.

Then there's the bathroom issue. The garments, which can be difficult to remove, often come with a "double gusset" opening that wearers say can be hard to negotiate. Last summer, in response to a deluge of emails citing mortifying experiences, a shapewear maker called Yummie Tummie decided to sponsor a "tell us your shapewear nightmares" competition.

"It's like this competitive thing we have with other women,"

The winner, who received a style consultation and $500 to spend on clothes, was 31-year-old New York college student Amanda Davis, whose story involved a bodysuit so tight that it pressed on her bladder. As she ran to the bathroom at her school, she debated, "Do I squeeze out of the Spanx or do I try to pee through the crotchless thingy?" After soaking herself, she had to skip class and go home to change.

Body-shapers have long played a supporting role in fashion trends. The great-grandmother of shapewear, the corset, was "the most controversial garment in the history of fashion," says Valerie Steele, director and chief curator at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, who wrote a book about the rigid, uncomfortable garment. The more-flexible girdle grew popular in the early 20th century, eventually becoming a key component of Christian Dior's nipped-waist "New Look," unveiled in 1947. Control-top pantyhose replaced girdles when women began heading to the gym en masse in the 1970s.

Then, in 1998, an office copy-machine saleswoman named Sara Blakely cut the feet off a pair of sheer control-top pantyhose so she could wear cream-colored pants to a party. Two years later, she founded Spanx, which became a staple red-carpet undergarment for already-slim celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Jessica Alba.

"What's the point of spending £500 on a dress if you don't have a straight tummy?" asks 26-year-old Frances Kinloch, who works at an investment bank in London and wears Spanx with everything except jeans. The problem is "you do look a bit like a granny in them," admits Ms. Kinloch, who removes her Spanx in the bathroom and spirits it away into her handbag when she's on a hot date.

High-end designer Roland Mouret has railed against Spanx, calling the process of secretly slipping out of the undergarments "sad."

Shapewear manufacturers are responding to consumers' concerns by trying to boost the aesthetic appeal of their utilitarian undergarments. This year, Spanx introduced an upscale collection called Haute Contour, with items like a lace thong with waist reinforcements that comes in colors like pink. "I said, 'Let's make it beautiful ... like shapewear in disguise,' " Ms. Blakely says.

Lingerie designer Bruno Schiavi launched a line in 2007 called Dr. Rey's Shapewear in collaboration with Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Rey. Sold at Sears and on the HSN cable network, it features bodysuits and waist cinchers in bold prints like leopard and—arriving in stores later this season—snakeskin. "I always thought shapewear was so boring," says Mr. Schiavi.

Other companies are developing apparel with built-in body shapewear. A brand called Not Your Daughter's Jeans features a patented "Lift & Tuck" technology that the company says will make wearers drop a size, and is also introducing shaper tops in V- and cowl-neck styles in bright colors that are intended to be worn as a regular shirt. Yummie Tummie (tagline: "Show it off") has become known for its shapewear-camisole hybrids, which can be worn alone or peeking out from a blazer.

"I wanted to break down these barriers, so that you don't have to be confined to a sea of embarrassing bottoms," says Heather Thomson, founder of Yummie Tummie. It plans to begin selling a line of shapewear dresses early next year.

17 November 2009

New Dana Davis Shop Attracting Foot Traffic

LA Times

Stores may be closing all over town, but last night Melrose Place got a little love with the opening of Dana Davis’ pop-up store.  The store, which took over the old Lambertson Truex spot, right next to Frederic Fekkai’s new salon, will be open until Dec. 3, selling shoes from Davis’ fall-winter collection.

Celebrities and socialites, including Anjelica Huston, Paris Hilton, Crystal Lourd, Jerry Bruckheimer, Liane Weintraub and Jamie Tisch, came to support their designer pal and fellow social fixture.  Davis’ mother Barbara was also in attendance before dashing out to attend a concert.

Davis was inspired to create her line of ultra-comfortable shoes when she was having trouble standing for long periods of time due to foot pain caused by her diabetes.  She and  her family  have raised over $75 million for diabetes research, with the Carousel of Hope ball fund-raiser being founded in her honor. She developed a shoe with custom orthotics that’s as cushion-y as any Easy Spirit, but far more fashionable.  In fact, Davis has figured out how to increase the heels on pumps to almost 6 inches, while still maintaining the comfort of the built-in orthotic.  Those heels will be offered for spring and are sure to be seen on any celebrity who cares about comfort while walking the red carpet.

The Dana Davis pop-up store is open now until Dec. 3 at 8459 Melrose Place, L.A.
Hours: 11am – 5pm. Closed Sundays and Thanksgiving, Nov. 25 – 29.

12 November 2009

H&M Stores Ready to Launch JImmy Choo Shoes

from The Star

They have drawn up battle plans with military precision, enlisted friends and family as shopping comrades and plan to come armed with communication devices for the battlefield.

No, it's not Boxing Day shopping. But for those with a fetish for designer shoes stuck on a shoestring budget, it will feel like it.

This Saturday marks the global launch of the highly anticipated Jimmy Choo for H&M collection. Here in Toronto, the limited- edition designer collaboration between the luxury shoe brand and the cheap and chic retailer will be available only at the Bloor St. W. and Eaton Centre locations.

"It's going to be chaos. Five times the pandemonium!" says fashion stylist Ryan Weaving. He and four friends will take shifts beginning at 5 a.m. in the lineup at the Eaton Centre store.

Anticipation has been building for months. All those Choo signatures – sexy stilettos, thigh-high leather boots and animal print bags – will be available, along with the first Jimmy Choo men's shoes and the first Jimmy Choo clothing line.

Weaving has done his research, poring over the H&M website, figuring out the sizing charts and questioning the store's staff. It's paid off: He got the inside track on details. For example, at the Eaton Centre store, the footwear – the hot-ticket items – is on the basement level while the clothing will be on the street level. He also knows that the first 160 people in line will be given wristbands with a specific time to shop just in the shoe department. And each customer will not be allowed to buy more than one of the same item.

The strategizing is necessary, given the popularity of H&M's past designer collaborations with Karl Lagerfeld, Roberto Cavalli, Viktor & Rolf, Stella McCartney and, this year, Matthew Williamson. No matter what the city, people lined up, some camping out overnight, waiting for stores to open. In Toronto, the racks were picked bare in minutes. Some of the stuff appeared on eBay within hours, selling for triple, or more, the original price.

A veteran of the high-low designer game, H&M threw fashionistas into a frenzy when it announced a few months ago that the next collaboration would be with Jimmy Choo.

The shoe label exploded after being featured on the television series Sex and the City, becoming an overnight sensation for ultra-sexy stilettos. The cobbler Jimmy Choo sold his name and company years ago to Tamara Mellon, a glamorous, jet-setting businesswoman based in London who instinctively understood women would love the kind of shoes she favoured – vampy, sexy and with a hint of rock chic.

Which is why woman-about-town Natalie Gee will be there at dawn. "I'm a big fan of Tamara Mellon. I think she is an incredible and powerful businesswoman and she has been raving about the clothes and the bags especially," says Gee.

She has this piece of advice for shoppers on Saturday: "Don't go for everything. Do your research and find one or two things you really love and then grab those. The thing about great style is having one fabulous item and making it work a million different ways."

Another avid shopper with a plan is communications student and Holt Renfrew intern Amina Said. She is sending her sister to the Eaton Centre location while she tackles the crowd at Bloor St.

They plan on communicating via BlackBerry, sending pictures back and forth on what they are able to get their hands on.

Sure there are folks who can't fathom getting up at dawn to line up outside a clothing store. But for people like Said, it isn't optional.

"Yes, there are a lot of things we can live without. But it's about what you're a connoisseur of – what each person appreciates. I happen to love fashion. I would never line up for Jay-Z tickets, but other people might. But this is what I'll line up for."

09 November 2009

Madonna To Model For Dolce and Gabbana

from Digital Spy

Madonna is to front Dolce & Gabbana's spring/summer 2010 campaign, reports People.

The 51-year-old popstar has moved on from modelling for Louis Vuitton in order to work for the popular Italian fashion duo, D&G announced in its online magazine Swide.

"To have Madonna in our campaign is a dream come true," Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana said.

D&G designed the costumes for the singer's 1993 'The Girlie Show' tour and last year's 'Sticky & Sweet' jaunt.

Photographer Steven Klein reportedly shot Madonna's first ads for the label last week in New York.

Aussies Remain Big Spenders For Luxury Fashions

WA Today

Bucking a worldwide trend, Melbourne is bracing for a boom in luxury stores, writes Rachel Wells.

When 23-year-old student Nicola Wood returned from a recent trip to New York with a $3400 Chanel handbag dangling from her arm, her mother was not amused.

"She wasn't too happy about it," laughs Wood, pictured. "But I was always going to buy it. I just adore it. I'd been eyeing it off for years. I had put some money aside for it. I was in New York on holidays. It was cheaper than what I could buy it for at home. So I just got it. And I love it."

Wood, it seems, is like many Australian consumers who are bucking the global trend and continuing to pay a small fortune for luxury handbags and shoes despite the economic climate.

While much has been written about the death of luxury in recent months - the latest forecast from consultancy firm Bain & Company predicts global sales of luxury goods will be down 8 per cent this year - Australia seems to be experiencing something of a luxury boom. According to IBIS world, there are expected to be 4917 luxury goods boutiques in Australia, a 2.8 per cent increase from 2008-9.

Melbourne's luxury retail offering is set to almost double when Chadstone officially opens its new luxury retail precinct on November 18. It will have 12 high-end stores including Chanel, Burberry, Coach, Hugo Boss, Louis Vuitton, Omega, Prada, Ralph Lauren and Tiffany, as well as Miu Miu's first Australian store, and the first stand-alone Jimmy Choo store in Victoria.

Crown is also expanding its luxury fashion offering with a new two-storey Versace outlet to be launched later this month. Versace will join existing luxury tenants Prada, Burberry and Louis Vuitton, the latter of which is also undergoing an expansion. Crown management is expected to announce a handful of new luxury retail tenants in the new year.

And if the foot traffic along the Paris end of Collins Street last week was any indication, then luxury, in Melbourne anyway, is far from dead. At Chanel, a security guard turned me away because they were "too busy at the moment". One woman left the crowded boutique with three Chanel shopping bags swinging from her arm. While other shoppers walked along the luxury strip carrying logo-emblazoned shopping bags from Gucci, Prada, Max Mara and Georg Jensen.

All this bodes well for the Australian heads of the world's leading luxury labels who are pinning their hopes on a resilient Australian economy and a growing luxury market to keep the tills ticking over at their new Melbourne stores.

While luxury sales in the US and Europe are predicted to contract 16 and 10 per cent respectively this year, Asia Pacific, excluding Japan (which is expected to slump 10 per cent), is forecast to grow by 10 per cent, boosted by China, which Bain & Co. predicts will grow by 12 per cent.

Many experts believe Australia's proximity to China will also make it a popular hub for brand-conscious Chinese tourists.

"I think Australia is going to be a very important country for Asian tourism and since our presence in China is very strong, we see a lot of potential from not only China but all over Asia to visit Australia," Italian fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna told The Australian Financial Review in July.

Both Chadstone and Crown are confident the Australian luxury market will only strengthen as the economy continues to recover.

"Our (luxury) stores' figures are actually up on last year," says Ann Peacock, Crown's general manager, public relations. "So it's fair to say that they are all trading exceptionally well . . . The fact that Versace has committed to a brand new store and that Louis Vuitton is undergoing a major redevelopment are great signs of things to come."

Chadstone shopping centre manager Stephen DeWaele says the launch of 12 luxury retailers in a suburban shopping centre, which is a first for many of the luxury brands in Australia, will only expand their customer reach. It is a move many believe is part of a global strategy for luxury brands to target "masstige" customers - aspirational shoppers who are keen on luxury items but without the disposable income to match - with "masstige lines", which offer prestige products at affordable prices.

"Certainly the sense is that the shopping centre environment does make it (luxury) a little bit more accessible," DeWaele says. "There are two types of customer. You know there are one-off luxury purchases that people make, whether it's for a 21st, 30th or 40th birthday, or someone who has saved up to buy that one piece that's a real aspirational piece for them. At the same time there's absolutely going to be that core luxury customer."

Philip Corne, chief executive of Louis Vuitton Oceania, agrees. "We're opening at Chadstone for two reasons. One, of course, is to be closer to where our existing customers live. And the other opportunity is to introduce the brand to a new customer."

Wood will be among the tens of thousands expected to visit the new luxury precinct when it opens at Chadstone.

"I will definitely go and check it out, though I'm a bit scared of the crowds. I'm not sure quite what to expect," she says.

If current trends are any indication, she can expect a lot of eager shoppers looking for that little piece of luxury.

03 November 2009

Industry Leaders Honored For Philanthropic Efforts


Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S.) a twenty-four year old global charity partnering with Fashion Delivers, a four year old not-for-profit organization, will honor four fashion industry leaders for outstanding philanthropic commitment at this year`s annual fund raising gala on Wednesday, November 4, 2009, at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York. Proceeds of the event will be donated to children and families in need through K.I.D.S. and Fashion Delivers. Over $1.3 million was raised from the 2008 gala event for both organizations.

Gary Simmons, CEO, Gerber Childrenswear, will be 
honored with the K.I.D.S. Lifetime Achievement Award.

This year`s honorees include: John Daly, President of Trade Finance CIT Group who will receive the Fashion Has Heat Award; Andrew Hall, President and CEO of Stage Stores who will receive the Retailer Award; Gary Simmons, President and CEO of Gerber Childrenswear, LLC who will be honored with the K.I.D.S. LifetimeAchievement Award; and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, which will receive the Humanitarian Award.

"Under normal circumstances, assistance to families and children challenged by homelessness or natural disasters is astounding, however, add to this the current state of the economy where far greater numbers are in need, and these humanitarians are the heroes of our times," said Peter Rosenthal, President of Rosenthal & Rosenthal and Chairman of K.I.D.S.

Since the devastation of Katrina, Fashion Delivers and K.I.D.S. has provided several million dollars of new product in relief and daily enhances the quality of life of those less fortunate. "This could never have been accomplished without the generosity of our fashion community," added Allan E. Ellinger, Chairman of Fashion Delivers Charitable Foundation, Inc.

K.I.D.S. is a twenty-four year old global charity of leading retailers, manufacturers, and licensors of children`s and youth products committed to helping improve the lives of children and their families who are ill, living in poverty, or are the victims of natural disasters. Fashion Delivers is a four year old not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide products from all parts of the fashion and related industries to victims of natural disasters and those in need. Fashion Delivers and K.I.D.S. work with a network of 1,000 K.I.D.S. local agencies to distribute products quickly and directly to recipients.

For more information on the event and K.I.D.S., visit www.kidsdonations.org.

For more information about Fashion Delivers, visit www.fashiondelivers.org.

Stage Stores, Inc. brings nationally recognized brand name apparel, accessories, cosmetics and footwear for the entire family to small and mid-size towns and communities through 758 stores located in 39 states. The company operates its stores under the five names of Bealls, Goody`s, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage.