Monday, March 31, 2014

FOR SALE: Hermes Kelly 35cm Sellier Black Box silver guilloche hdwe RARE SPECIAL ORDER





Madonna Has Always Been An Hermes Fan

Madonna wearing Hermès Peuple du Vent cashmere and silk shawl

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Inside (or Behind) Every Hermes Bag Lies a Story...

...and I can certainly attest to that, I wrote an entire book about it.  Recently I re-read Barbara Guggenheim's wonderful story about how she acquired her first Hermès bag and it got me to thinking that there must be a lot of other interesting stories out there not unlike Ms Guggenheim's. So, I'd like to invite my readers to share with me, share with all of us, any interesting stories you might have about your Hermès experiences. There are no rules, no guidelines and no one who will judge. You have the option of either posting your story in the Comment section of this post or you are welcome to email it to me and I'll post it as a new Blog Post. email to:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Do You Love Hermes, Louis Vuitton Capucines? Then You Wil Adore Peter Nitz

Portrait of Peter Nitz

Peter Nitz

Mr Nitz is the read deal. Hermès and Vuitton love to talk the talk about hand craftsmanship and saddle-stitching, but good luck finding much of that nowadays in Hermès or Vuitton bags. Trust me, those days are long gone. (Yes, bits and pieces of Hermès are saddle-stitched but a typical leather Birkin or Kelly bag now utilize plenty of machine stitching.) You will never, and I do mean never, get Hermès or Vuitton to state on the record that a leather Birkin or Kelly or Capucines is entirely saddle-stiched - because they aren't.

Peter Nitz painstakingly saddle-stitches each and every piece that he personally bench makes, from start to finish. No machine stitching. No glue. Mr Nitz is the real deal....Hermès and Vuitton are all smoke and mirrors. When it comes to craftsmanship, Peter makes Hermès look like Vuitton. In the new pecking order Peter Nitz is #1.

Peter Nitz was born in Greenville, South Carolina. He attended college in Indiana prior to moving to Chicago to join an auction house as Assistant Director of Acquisitions. During this time in Chicago, his eye for quiet luxury was nurtured through his focus on fine European antiques and understated modern design, laying the foundation for the strong attention to detail and quality that defines his work today.
In 1997, Europe, with its bountiful antiques and time-honored traditions of craftsmanship, beckoned and Peter Nitz made the move to Zurich, Switzerland. The continent’s fascinating flea markets and antiques fairs inspired him to concentrate on discovering the skills of artisans whose hand-made creations remained timeless. He spent his evenings crafting jewelry, clothing, ceramics and furniture, pursuing a desire to produce pieces of superb design and quality. A weekend trip to Paris marked what Peter Nitz refers to as his «kismet encounter»: in search of the perfect wallet, he had the good fortune of meeting a retired craftsperson from Hermes, the fabled French luxury leather goods house. For two and half years, under the highly-skilled tutelage of the craftsperson, he learned the complex art of leather crafting by hand, determined to master centuries-old techniques that demand precision and patience.
This learning process refined Peter Nitz’s vision: his own atelier where he would shape and stitch the finest available skins entirely by hand and accent them with beautiful jewelry to create unique and precious handbags. The passion for perfecting his craft took him to several continents in a quest for the best producers of exotic skins, linen thread, hardware and other materials vital to the art of leatherworking. This journey ultimately lead him to fulfilling his dream: the launch of his own eponymous label. Peter Nitz Zurich – exquisite creations that blend rare skins and gems with sophisticated design and exceptional hand-craftsmanship.

Photo: Icon bag in progress. this time not in metallic :-) #alligator #handbag #leather #saddlestitch #customorder

Photo: Lots of progress today! #leathercraft #leatherwork #saddlestitched #alligator #ostrich #madetoorder #peternitz #zurich #switzerland
Photo: custom order PN card wallet in dark blue alligator with contrasting lining and stitching in lime #wallet #alligator #saddlestitched #leathercraft #accessories #fashion #luxury

Catherine Zeta-Jones with Birkin and Michael Douglas in Tow at JFK Airport

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hermes Launches New Mens Fragrance: Bel Ami Vetiver

Final Day: Hermes at Waterside Shops Naples FL Closes Today

Today yet another Hermès franchise store bites the dust. This store will be sadly missed. Missed for its exemplary customer service, well edited selection, and its knowledgeable uber friendly sales staff. Missed as an excuse to have a glass of Champagne with deviled eggs and sugar bacon at Bricktop's. Au revoir mes amis...

What do Chanel, Thom Browne, Hermes, Dior and YSL all have in Common?

Barrie Knitwear

The grey sandstone architecture of the Borders town seemingly has little in common with the air kissing and chiffon swishing of the fashion world, but there's a little secret tucked away- a fashion fan's dream - filled with covetable cashmere creations and designer labels. That place is Barrie Knitwear.
Inside the factory the noise - a mid-toned whir accompanied by the metronomic clunk of machinery - is almost deafening. Our voices are raised, but I still can't quite hear everything. Something to do with the beautiful cashmere jumpers being created line by perfectly knitted line in front of our eyes, I presume, but I can't be sure.
"Everything here is fully fashioned," says Barrie Knitwear sales director Clive Brown, his Borders accent just audible over the sound of the click and clack of the giant Bentley Cotton knitting machine we're leaning over. "Instead of being cut to shape it's knitted to shape." I gesture towards three blue elastic straps attached to some red cashmere with fierce-looking metal hooks. What are these? Instruments of woollen torture, perhaps? No, something about garment tension, Brown says, though I didn't catch the rest of the explanation. It's the noise, you see. It's deafening.
We move away from the din of the apparatus and pause at a row of white tables. "That's some of the Chanel Paris-Dallas collection," says Brown about a pile of boldly patterned cashmere, as though spotting bundles of expensive Chanel clothing (potentially worth thousands of euros per item) was an everyday occurrence. But then here, at the sprawling Barrie Knitwear factory on the outskirts of the largest town in the region, it is. There's Chanel everywhere: Chanel cardigans on the tables, Chanel jumpers being bound together by skilled workwomen and Chanel skirts hanging on the prototype rails. All crafted out of the most exquisite cashmere. In short, this is sartorial heaven, and it's right here in the Scottish Borders.
Not that anyone in the factory has stars in their eyes. The company, established in 1903 by Walter Barrie and Robert Kersel, has been working with Chanel to manufacture cashmere garments for around 25 years. They also continue to produce cashmere clothing for designer brands such as Hermes, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent. In October 2012 the relationship between Barrie and Chanel blossomed into marriage, when Chanel agreed to buy Barrie for a sum reportedly running into seven figures, though nobody involved in the transaction has ever confirmed the price. Barrie's then owner, former textile giant Dawson, was in administration and the future of the Hawick knitwear factory remained uncertain.
Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel fashion president, said at the time: "The acquisition of Barrie by Chanel is all the more natural as the factory has worked with us for more than 25 years, producing cashmere knitwear including Chanel's iconic two-tone cashmere cardigans. Through this acquisition, we reaffirm our commitment to traditional expertise and craftsmanship."
Chanel celebrated the acquisition a few months later by holding its famous annual Metiers d'Art fashion show in Linlithgow Palace. The evening was described by those in the Barrie factory fortunate enough to have been invited as "incredible". In attendance were some of the most influential names in fashion such as British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman, who witnessed the showcase of garments including a series of cashmere pieces created by Barrie.
A year and a half on from the acquisition and I've come to Hawick to find out what - if any - difference the Chanel buyout has made. At the time of the deal commentators hailed it as great news for Barrie. It would, they said, secure the future of the company and ensure it would continue to produce top-quality cashmere.
Have those prophecies come true? Brown and the staff - those I meet, at least - think so. "In a very uncertain world it's given people stability," says Brown, who has worked in the Scottish knitwear industry for 30 years and been the sales director at Barrie for the past decade.
Since it was bought by Chanel the company has taken on 20 staff (it now employs around 190 people) and bought six new computerised knitting machines to bring the factory total to around 30. But, says Brown, "it's not just about financial stability to buy machines; it's about stability for the town and that people can see we're growing the business".
There certainly appears to be a steady flow of work. Barrie produces six collections a year for Chanel, besides lines for other clients such as Hermes and American label Thom Browne. The factory has also started producing Barrie's own label, a 20-piece collection of brightly patterned cashmere separates by Odile Massuger, who is also part of the Chanel knitwear team, that will be sold in the world's most exclusive boutiques. Barrie has created some of its own classic cashmere designs in the past, but these garments will see the knitwear company take its first steps into the world of high fashion.
Already featured on, the American-based website, the Barrie label is being tipped for success. The first collection has also got the all-important seal of approval from Karl Lagerfeld. The Chanel creative director photographed the campaign images - which feature Phil Collins's daughter, the model Lily Collins - ensuring Barrie's first major solo foray into the marketplace will be as glamorous as it is high-profile.
Brown, for one, is impressed with how the French fashion house has managed Barrie so far. "The new Barrie collection shows the intention our owners have with the business - not only with the couturier but with our own brand as well," he says. "Everything they've done is about growing the business - it's not about only making Chanel product. They want us to work with other couturiers and grow our own brands."
Getting that message out is crucial for Barrie's success. Since the Chanel acquisition Barrie has also started a training scheme to give young people the technical skills required to work in the factory, a programme which takes between 18 months and two years. While attracting young people to apply for jobs is essential, given the decline in the rest of the Borders textiles industry and the perceived instability of jobs it is seldom easy.
"The workers are the heart and soul of the business," says Brown, who started his working life as a garment washer at knitwear label Glenmac. "In total in the textile industry in the Borders I believe 15 years ago there were 9000 people working and I believe now there are fewer than 1000. So we're one of the biggest employers. [The decline is] frightening. That's not just in fully-fashioned knitwear, it's in tweeds, in wovens - in everything."
At Barrie, though, decline is the last thing on anyone's mind. Instead the factory, a large, modernspace that almost sparkles with cleanliness, has more offers of work than it can take on. Brown and managing director Jim Carrie are attracting local youngsters into the business once again - the training scheme offers from four to six positions each year - but there are still obstacles to overcome.
"We're starting to get youngsters but it's difficult because so many people lost their jobs in the industry in the last 20 years," says Brown. "Mums and dads are saying: 'Don't go into that industry.' That's why we're working with the schools and colleges to say there is a future."
Back on the factory floor, we've moved away from the mechanistic symphony into the comparatively peaceful programming room, where employees Craig and Mark (Brown knows everyone in the factory by their first name, and a few by playful nicknames) are plotting complex patterns on computer screens ready to be transferred to the high-tech Japanese-made knitting machines which produce some of the company's most technical designs.
Conversation turns to the recent Chanel autumn/winter 2014-15 catwalk show at the Grand Palais in Paris. By all accounts it was a visual feast, which saw the glass-domed building transformed into a Chanel-themed supermarket at the behest of Lagerfeld. There were Chanel-branded DIY products, doormats, fresh produce and even ketchup. The clothes - food-themed, naturally - were a riot of colour, pattern and texture.
One of the looks, a purple and pink knitted trouser and top ensemble inspired by beetroot, was created with the help of the pattern programming team at Barrie. "Mark did the beetroot," says Craig with a shrug after we've leafed through some of the other vegetable-inspired knitwear designs the Barrie team worked on. Brown explains: "We get a theme given to us and the guys in here have to give their interpretation of it. The knitting technicians come up with a silhouette, but Craig, Mark and the guys in here, their brains come up with some kind of idea for the fabric, and then we send those ideas to the studio. For instance, with the supermarket collection, Chanel said to us: 'We need pullovers that are like carrots, beetroot, kale.'"
The close relationship between Barrie's in-house team and the studio at Chanel is fairly uncommon in the industry. That Barrie's team can have so much influence over what appears on the Chanel catwalk is unusual, and testament to the Hawick company's skill. Even the Chanel press officer, who accompanies me on the tour, is impressed. "That's incredible," she enthuses.
Brown continues: "That's one of the reasons the relationship has worked for so many years - the studio trust in what we do here, and they know whatever happens they get a result."
At the other end of the factory, in what's known as the finishing area, more of Barrie's impressive hand skills are on display. Components of Chanel garments are being stitched together by a team of workers. At one end of the room two women are hand-cutting necklines into red cashmere jumpers with scissors, one of them cutting with such speed and skill that it's easy to forget each of these designer pieces will be sold for hundreds of pounds.
The press officer asks an obvious question: "What happens if she makes a mistake?" Brown pauses then says two words which not only answer the question, but also perhaps explain why Barrie Knitwear continues to be a force to be reckoned with in the fashion and textiles industry after more than 110 years. "She doesn't."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flynn Bloom & Miranda Kerr with Birkin bag

Supermodel Miranda Kerr with son Flynn Bloom (Orlando Bloom's the Dad). 

Twerk for a Birkin Nicole Pedra & Alexander Ludwig

hat tip: Ward

Real People, Real Hermes: Celine Kaplan NYC Fashion Publicist

WHO Celine Kaplan, a fashion publicist.
WHAT SHE WORE Prada top, Versace for H&M skirt, Céline jacket, Jimmy Choo heels and Oliver Peoples sunglasses. And a gold helmet from Cyclechic.  Hermès Kelly Bag.
WHAT SHE WAS THINKING Sick of winter? That’s an understatement. Enough already. I started buying spring pieces in the beginning of February, which is unusual for me. I got this Prada top then. These Jimmy Choos are great. They’ll go with everything. I saw them in a window when I was on a Citi Bike. (I take Citi Bike everywhere, wearing two pairs of gloves when it’s cold.) I like wearing a really gauzy top and pretending like it’s sunny and lovely. I’ll have a jacket and a coat on top.
Credit: Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hermès' Message to LVMH: Cash Out

 New Chief of Design House Says Family Will Fight to Remain Independent


PARIS—The founding family has taken the reins again at Hermès, battening down the hatches after facing an incursion from a rival. Last month, Axel Dumas, a 43-year-old former banker, took over as chief executive of the French luxury-goods house, succeeding Patrick Thomas, the only outsider to ever run the company, famous for its Kelly bags and silk scarves.
Mr. Dumas and his cousins, members of the sixth generation, have stepped into the breach in response to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton MC.FR +1.22% building up a 23% stake. The family pooled 50% of the company's capital in a trust to keep it out of the hands of the luxury juggernaut. But LVMH hasn't signaled any intention of backing down.
It is easy to understand why Hermès would be appetizing prey. The company is positioned at the top end of the luxury-goods category and has proven immune to the slowdown in China that is affecting many of its competitors. Hermès' biggest conundrum is how to keep up with demand.
In an interview from his eighth-floor office with a view onto Montmartre, Mr. Dumas sat down with The Wall Street Journal to discuss family unity, how he deals with the unwanted shareholder and why price isn't an indicator of exclusivity. Excerpts:
Family luxury-goods house Hermès is famous for its Kelly bags and silk scarves. Getty Images for IMG
WSJ: What does it change for Hermès to go back to being run by a family member?
Mr. Dumas: I'm the seventh CEO of Hermès, and part of the sixth generation [of the family]. When the board selected me, there was more of a discussion of an outsider or an insider rather than a family member or not. Eventually they decided on an insider who happens to be a family member.
WSJ: How did the family select you to run the company?
Mr. Dumas: We let our board members who are not part of the family select from the top 10 or 20 managers. If you try to organize a beauty contest between members of the family, it is a recipe for resentment a few years after.
'We are fighting to keep Hermès independent,' says Axel Dumas, chief executive of the luxury-goods house. 'It will be the fight of our generation.' Charlotte Gonzalez for the Wall
One thing which is always important in a family business is how you arrive at a decision. When you have a very small number of family members, it is easy to be in unanimity. When you are a very large family, more than 200, it is always the majority, you just vote on it. In my generation, there are over 40 members. So it's a mix of the two. We still long for unanimity.
WSJ: How does your family maintain its traditions?
Mr. Dumas: We've been raised together. With all my first cousins, we shared the same country house (in Normandy). But there was no specific time where we all would come together and wear nametags.
There's been a trend in Europe of consolidation, not only in luxury, where a family company, because of a question of size, is absorbed in a larger conglomerate. It is very important that the family is never complacent and keeps its entrepreneurial spirit.
WSJ: Was LVMH's entry into your capital due to the family being complacent?
Mr. Dumas: It surprised everyone. We are fighting to keep Hermès independent. It will be the fight of our generation. We are a company with 177 years of history. So we've seen struggle from time to time. We invested all our money in 1928 to open a store in New York, just before the Great Depression. It was 10 years of trauma for the family thanks to that.
WSJ: Now that you are the public face of the family, what kind of relationship will you have with LVMH?
Mr. Dumas: As a CEO, my role is to grow the company as much as possible, taking into account the global interest of all the shareholders.
WSJ: Including LVMH.
Mr. Dumas: The best benefit they can have is by realizing the capital gain on their shares.
WSJ: So you are encouraging them to sell?
Mr. Dumas: It would create great results that will increase their profit.
WSJ: Your sales have tripled in the past 10 years. Where will Hermès be 10 years from now?
Mr. Dumas: It is not about a set of figures by itself. It is about the growth of all our métiers [product lines]. We are going to continue to invest in our production facilities. We want to have Hermès be even more diverse and balanced. Likewise in our geographical expansion. In the 19th century, we were centered around the Atlantic Ocean. Probably in 20 years we will be centered around the Pacific Ocean. From the West Coast of the U.S. to China to Southeast Asia.
WSJ: There is a paradox in luxury, of selling lots of goods that have an aura of exclusivity. How do you manage this paradox?
Mr. Dumas: When we have had discussions about changing the way we do things to produce more, we always say no, to stay authentic. My great-grandfather Emile Hermès was sent to the U.S. during the First World War to buy some leather for the French cavalry and to look at Fordism—assembly line production. He was very impressed. He came back to Hermès and wrote a memo: "Never for us."
WSJ: Every year you are able to make more bags because you increase your production facilities. Even at your high price point, are you not concerned about the ubiquity of your bags?
Mr. Dumas: I don't think the price point is the relevant measure of our exclusivity. I am a little bit always taken aback when I hear, "We want to be more exclusive so we're going to sell more expensive bags." I think that the volumes that we have are still quite insignificant compared with the rest of the market.
WSJ: Your prices have risen much faster than inflation. To what extent are consumers beginning to resist these price increases?
Mr. Dumas: I think we are very reasonable because there is no price marketing at all. It is just due to wage increases in France and the cost of the material. The price of good cashmere has increased 20%. The divide is not based on price, it's based on what you get for the product. That's why you see that the high-end luxury market did well. The lower end of the market is doing well also. Because for the two of them you get what you pay for. The middle—when the construction is closer to the lower end but you sell it at a price closer to high end—suffers the most in our industry.
WSJ: You said that your prices are determined by costs. At the same time, you recently announced a record high operating margin. How do you justify that?
Mr. Dumas: It's our operating margin. I won't say we've seen a great change in our gross margin. In each métier, we try to have them the same profitability, so we can have a huge spike in one and a decrease in the other and it won't have a major impact on the operating margin.
WSJ: The crackdown on gifting in China has affected luxury-goods growth. How long do you think it will last?
Mr. Dumas: When the big anticorruption wave ends, the attitude toward consumption will be easier. We are less affected because we're very specific about what kinds of credit cards we take. When you're buying for yourself, usually you pay with your own credit card and not a gift card that has been given by someone else.
WSJ: How is Hermès affected by the slow economic growth in France?
Mr. Dumas: Our sales in December were telling of the evolution. We had more customers than before, but the average basket was lower. We see that consumers were quite cautious about the economic perspective. The main issue in France globally is our unemployment, which is at an unsatisfactory level. Sometimes we are very good in productivity, but it doesn't help employment.
WSJ: Your ancestors often ran Hermès until they were 80 years old. Is this a lifelong commitment for you?
Mr. Dumas: As long as the family will be happy, and as long as I believe I can serve Hermès in a good way, I will be delighted. I think it's the best job in the world.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hermes Store Employee Roster - Part 5 of 6

The Ingénue

  • Gender: Female

  • Sexual Preference: whoever's paying

  • Age: 20-25

  • Hair: shiny

  • Teeth: perfect and framed by Botox-enhanced lips

  • Motto: "Let me ask"

  • Percentage in Hermes Captivity: 15-20%

  • Likelihood of Birkin Purchase: what's a Birkin?

  • Previous Job: kegger

  • The Lowdown: this employee, although willing, is anything but ready-and-able. Apparently hired yesterday and has yet to go through any sort of formal training. Quick to get help from either the Incurable Romantic, Farmer, Nazi or Grandmother...just hope that it's not the Farmer you end up with!

  • Approach: immediately ask if the Grandmother is working today

Hermes Store Employee Roster - Part 4 of 6

The Nazi

  • Gender: either

  • Sexual Preference: overridden by career ambitions

  • Age: 25-60

  • Hair: severe

  • Teeth: gnashed

  • Motto: "Refer to Employee Handbook "

  • Percentage in Hermès Captivity: 30-45%

  • Likelihood of Birkin Purchase: extremely high if you stick with "the formula"

  • Previous Job: mall security guard/hall monitor

  • The Lowdown: determined to be store manager. Cutthroat and totally by the book. Detests the Farmer but secretly long to have her position. Bulldozes over the Grandmother, ignores the Incurable Romantic. Career-driven pathological liar. Recognizable by the glint of desperation in his/her eyes

  • Approach: tread cautiously...this is the employee that perpetuated the need for "the formula." Dollars count! Since they don't know diddly squat about Hermès history or merchandise from previous collections (remember they only care about $$$), use your knowledge to impress/disarm them and go for the croc Birkin. All bets are off - keep your cool, and they will crumble like the Germans at the Nuremberg trials. 


Monday, March 24, 2014

Hermes Store Employee Roster - Part 6 of 6

The Godfather

  • Gender: high-testosterone male

  • Sexual Preference: yes

  • Age: 25+

  • Hair: slicked back, highly gelled

  • Teeth: possibly one is gold or has a diamond in it

  • Motto: "We can't really talk about this here"

  • Percentage in Hermes Captivity: 5%

  • Likelihood of Birkin Purchase: absolutely!

  • Previous Job: "waste management," broker, maître d'

  • The Lowdown: this employee has it all figured out and is essentially running his own business. There is no need to even bother with "the formula"; it's as simple as sending some money (aka payola) to this person's home

  • Approach: if offered a business card with a home or cell phone number written on the back, then you that he is on the take. 

Hermes Store Employee Roster - Part 3 of 6

The Grandmother

  • Gender: Female

  • Sexual Preference: not these days

  • Age: 60+

  • Hair: frosted, gray or white, roller-set

  • Teeth: yes

  • Motto: "Aren't you adorable?"

  • Percentage in Hermes Captivity: 15-20% (wish they would breed more)

  • Likelihood of Birkin Purchase: very high

  • Previous Job: nurturer, cookie maker, boo-boo kisser

  • The Lowdown: this woman does not need the job. Her husband recently passed away so she likes getting out of the house and being paid to play with pretty things all day. Secretly hates the Farmer, although would never verbalize this feeling even when talking to herself. After several years still has yet to realize the Incurable Romantic is gay and keeps trying to set him up with her granddaughter and/or niece

  • Approach: approach without fear. Think of this woman as your grandmother for one hour. Really, it's that good! 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Hermes Store Employee Roster - Part 2 of 6

The Farmer

  • Gender: Female

  • Sexual Preference: what? Are you kidding?

  • Age:50-70 (but looks and acts not a day over 90)

  • Hair: gray with highlights of chicken-piss yellow

  • Teeth: possibly

  • Motto: "You'll never see a Birkin in this lifetime"

  • Percentage in Hermès Captivity: 5-10%

  • Likelihood of Birkin Purchase: see Motto

  • Previous Job: meatpacking plant foreman

  • The Lowdown: this woman was born into a farming family from the hinterlands, raised on a diet of condensed milk and cattle by-products. She hates money and anyone who has it. The idea of a handbag that costs more than her car awakens both loathing and confusion in her soul. One can only wonder why she is inevitably store manager; perhaps some strange work release program of the fifties

  • Male Approach: avoid at all costs due to potential for catching any number of agrarian-related illnesses. If interaction is inevitable, compliment her fake pearl studs. Brace yourself for rejection coupled with overwhelming waft of clinical halitosis. 

Hermes Store Employee Roster - Part 1 of 6

The Incurable Romantic

  • Gender: Male

  • Sexual Preference: queer as a three-dollar bill

  • Age: 21-60

  • Hair: very Vidal Sassoon

  • Teeth: highway reflective strip white

  • Motto: "Appearance is everything"

  • Percentage in Hermès Captivity: 10-15%

  • Likelihood of Birkin Purchase: almost 100%

  • Previous Job: Gucci

  • The Lowdown: this employee outwardly pretends to enjoy his job but is really just hoping to meet Mr. Right (a knight in a shining Hermès croc bomber jacket) and be saved from salesperson serfdom forever

    Male Approach: flirtatious without blowing kisses, create false sense of dating potential. Flash croc agenda book (more subtle than flashing black Amex card) early in encounter to activate his innate gold-digging instincts. In case of extreme desperation (yours, not his) bait him with promise of after-work martinis at local Grand Hotel.

    Female approach: flirt a little too, but better off to compliment his acute sense of style sense, and talk about some hot guy in the store. Also insinuate you have a rich gay cousin you can set him up with. 


Johnny Weir’s Divorce Now Involves Ruined Birkin Bags

Johnny Weir’s Divorce Now Involves Ruined Birkin Bags, Restraining Orders And Doggy Drama

It’s not as if anyone expected the divorce between publicity-loving figure skater Johnny Weir and his soon-to-be ex-hubby Victor Voronov to be less than super-dramatic, but it seems to be growing more bitterly unpleasant by the hour. When we last checked in there was a lot of “he said/he said” going on with Voronov claiming to be shocked that Weir filed for divorce, despite plenty of evidence it was coming. And it’s almost stopped being fun to watch when sweet, innocent doggies are involved. Fortunately or not, we have the good folks at TMZ to thank for the up-to-the-minute reports on their splitsville shenanigans. It’s easy to snicker about Weir being upset when Voronov defaced his favorite Berkin bag. Can’t you just picture him shrieking in horror, “NOT THE BERKIN!!!” Actually, that’s not too far off. TMZ obtained a very passive-aggressive email he sent to Voronoz last September to try to make amends after some fracas, rumored to be infidelity on Weir’s part, occurred between them. Prepare yourself for some really moving poetry.
“If you decide to wreck things, please wreck cheaper things than Birkins,” Weir wrote. “The f*** you on the Birkin is kinda cool, though, you artist. I know you don’t care about Hill I’ll survive if you divorce me, but please leave my Birkin bags, Celine bags and Chanel bags alone.”
There’s speculation that Weir has suffered from financial woes as the email indicated he planned to part with the bags on eBay, while curiously pledging ”eternal” love from “the depths of my broken heart.” Who knew Johnny could be such a softie. If someone ruined our leather handbag (Birkins typically retail for between $10K-25K), we’d cut a bitch.
Or maybe just bite him. Which is exactly what Weir did. Take a look at the photo (left) TMZ obtained of the hideous, painful-looking wound on Voronov’s arm. That’s more serious than some S/M playtime gone wrong. The now-notorious biting incident took place back in January and resulted in a domestic abuse charge that was eventually dismissed when Voronov decided not to press charges after all.
But since then the situation intensified to the point where on March 5 Weir became so frustrated that he punched Voronov in the arm (hopefully it wasn’t the wounded bicep) and then began pelting him with jewelry and a wooden Russian doll (a Sochi souvenir?)!
Voronoz high-tailed it to court to seek a restraining order against his one-time beloved. Weir, perhaps mindful of the worth of those Berkins and knowing what Voronov was up to, marched into court ahead of his estranged husband to obtain an order that allowed him 30 minutes inside the apartment the two shared  in New Jersey to collect a few personal belongings.
But Weir being Weir made a triple axel grand entrance accompanied by six policemen. You’re undoubtedly wondering which personal belongings Weir couldn’t live without. They include two TVs, several Hermes scarves, a few costumes and — OK, we’re going to stop being cynical here — he snatched Tema, a beautiful Japanese Chin the two men shared. TMZ writes that Voronoz sobbed uncontrollably as Weir split with their pooch.
This all begs two questions:
How can anyone squeeze so much drama into such a short period of time?
Also, is it too soon to begin dream casting the inevitable TV movie this mess will inspire? We see James Deen as Voronov and Christina Ricci as Weir.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hermes Chief Picks Up $4.9M BPC Penthouse From Record Label Honcho

Music executive Sylvia Rhone has sold her Battery Park City penthouse duplex for more than $4.9 million to Robert Chavez, the CEO of luxury clothier Hermes USA, according to city records filed today.
Rhone, who is known as the first black woman to head up a major record label, first listed the three-bedroom at the Liberty House condominium tower this past October with Ivy Spitzer and Elizabeth Unger, both of the Corcoran Group.
Rhone recently left her post as the president of Motown Records, a division of Universal Music Group, to start her own record label with Epic Records, according to news reports. She has worked such artists as Stevie Wonder and Nicki Minaj.
Her former apartment, crafted by interior design firm Clodagh Design, boasts a 34-foot corner living room and a kitchen pantry with a wet bar and wine cooler, according to the listing. It also comes with four terraces (which are, appropriately, all wired into the apartment’s sound system), including one with a custom Viking grill, dining table, chaise lounges and a cedar storage closet, the listing says.
Rhone’s initial ask was almost $5.8 million, but after two price cuts the final asking price was just under $5.1 million, according to It was not immediately clear how much she paid for the apartment.
Chavez signed the contract in May, and the deal closed Aug. 1, records show.
The 240-unit condo tower at 377 Rector Place dates back to 1986 and was developed by the Milstein Organization.
Neither Spitzer nor Unger immediately returned requests for comment. Chavez could not immediately be reached.

Jennifer Lopez Rocks White Birkin Out and About in LA With Casper

Hermes Hikes Dividend After New Record-High Profit Margin

(Reuters) - France's Hermes (HRMS.PA) hiked its dividend on Thursday after the maker of Birkin handbags and printed silk scarves posted a new rise in profits and record-high operating margin last year.
While a crackdown on corruption in China has dented the sales of other luxury goods such as LVMH's (LVMH.PA) Louis Vuitton and Kering's (PRTP.PA) Gucci products, Hermes has posted resilient growth.
Hermes said in a statement that 2013 operating profit rose 8.9 percent to 1.218 billion euros, while its operating margin reached a new all-time high of 32.4 percent of sales, compared to 32.1 percent in 2012.
Last month, Hermes posted 2013 sales of 3.75 billion euros, up 13 percent at constant exchange rates, outperforming rivals such as LVMH, whose organic fashion and leather sales rose 5 percent during the same period.
Full-year sales rose 16 percent in Asian markets excluding Japan, 14 percent in the Americas and 12 percent in Europe.
Net profit rose 6.8 percent to 790 million euros and the company said it planned to pay a dividend of 2.70 euros a share for 2013, from 2.50 euros for 2012.
Hermes is known for its iconic Kelly and Birkin leather handbags, which cost between 7,000 and 30,000 euros and can take months to obtain in certain colours or types of leather, creating scarcity and a reputation for exclusivity.
Shares in Hermes closed at 237.5 euros on Wednesday and are down 9.9 percent so far this year.
Hermes commands one of the highest ratings among European luxury stocks due to the brand's resilience to swings in demand and expectations that LVMH, its largest external shareholder with a 23.1 percent stake, could make a takeover bid.
(Reporting by Natalie Huet; editing by Mark John)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Louis Vuitton Hermes Cartier Prada Buccellati Chaumet Dior Battle for Real Estate

Luxury giants flex their muscle to lock down prime window space

By Astrid Wendlandt
PARIS, March 19 (Reuters) - French luxury group LVMH is trying to push out smaller rivals from plush Place Vendome in Paris after buying one of its highest-profile buildings, illustrating the intensifying battle for Europe's prime retail locations.
Cash-rich groups such as LVMH, Richemont and Hermes have been stepping up property investment in key fashion capitals, buying entire buildings to lock in premium sites for which prices and rents are rising fast.
LVMH, owner of jewellers Fred and Chaumet and fashion label Louis Vuitton, had 3.2 billion euros ($4.46 billion) of cash on its balance sheet at the end of last year and Cartier owner Richemont had 2.4 billion euros of disposable cash at March 31.
In the face of that kind of firepower, prime window space in the likes of Paris, London and Milan could be pushed beyond the means of smaller brands such as Buccellati, the family-run Italian jeweller favoured by aristocrats and Hollywood stars.
Buccellati says it has been asked by LVMH to vacate No.4 Place Vendome by the end of June, three years before the end of its lease.
"This is our most important shop window," said Buccellati Chief Executive Thierry Andretta, adding that it had been renting the building, one of the most visible on the elegant 18th-century square, since 1979.
"We will fight to stay," he said, adding that lawyers had been retained.
LVMH acquired the building for more than 200 million euros in 2011, based on market estimates, and says it is exercising its right to give notice if it is to refurbish the property. "LVMH has until May to ask for a construction permit," a company spokeswoman said.
The group has already removed a small fashion boutique and antique jewellery shop from the building in the past year and has also asked Italian jeweller Damiani to leave when its lease runs out in 2016.
"LVMH is asking us to leave, but we would like to stay as this shop is very strategic for us in terms of image and sales," said Mario Gilardini, Damiani's head of worldwide sales.
Damiani, Buccellati, Richard Mille and other tenants have already lost a degree of brand visibility on Place Vendome, their signage eclipsed by the huge advertisement for J'adore perfume - made by LVMH's Dior - now emblazoned across the building's scaffolding.
It is difficult to quantify returns on such properties because the investments are also aimed at preserving and nurturing a luxury brand's image, but they make an undeniably significant contribution to overall sales.
LVMH does not release figures for individual outlets, but Exane BNP Paribas analyst Luca Solca estimates that its Louis Vuitton store on the Champs Elysees has sales in line with a hypermarket, at 250-300 million euros a year, while other analysts say it could contribute 13-15 percent of the brand's total sales in France.
But sales are only part of the equation. Real estate experts say that average rental values in the likes of Place Vendome in Paris, Bond Street and Knightsbridge in London and Via Montenapoleone in Milan have doubled in five years to between 12,000 and 15,000 euros per square metre.
"Considering how much cash big luxury groups have on their balance sheet and interest rates being so low, it makes sense for them to buy key locations in established markets when specific opportunities arise," said Bernstein luxury goods analyst Mario Ortelli.
LVMH, which also spent about 300 million pounds ($499 million) in 2012 to buy several properties in London's New Bond Street, is by no means the only big luxury group on the lookout for property deals. Richemont spent $380 million in 2012 to buy the St Regis hotel on New York's Fifth Avenue.
Both Richemont and LVMH have created specialist business units to make high street acquisitions. LVMH declined to comment on its real-estate strategy, but a Richemont spokesman said that the Swiss group does not intend to ask the New York property's existing tenants to leave.
Hermes, meanwhile, bought its Beverly Hills store for $75 million last year, having beaten Chanel to a 75 million pound deal for the New Bond Street store of British jeweller Asprey in 2009.
Even Prada, which mostly leases its property, is getting in on the act, buying several buildings on Old Bond Street for more than 130 million pounds last year.
The smaller players are also in danger of being squeezed out of the leasehold market for prime window space. Prada recently fought off competition for stores in Geneva, Zurich and Milan by offering advance cash payments of 20 million euros or more, according to a real estate adviser with first-hand knowledge of the matter.
"Prada is confusing the market with its big cheques," the adviser told Reuters.
Such muscle-flexing has leaves smaller luxury brands struggling to secure suitably prestigious premises.
Longchamp, one of the fastest-growing French handbag makers, acknowledges that finding good locations has become a challenge.
"Demand has become increasingly concentrated in certain key areas, which means that opportunities are rare. And when they become available, they go to the highest bidder," Chief Executive Jean Cassegrain said.
The big question for all involved is whether the bull market for prime retail locations could overheat.
"There are signs of a bubble right now in the European market," said Marc-Christian Riebe, chief executive of retail property consultant The Location Group.
"If the Chinese stopped buying watches and jewellery in Paris and Lucerne, I think jewellers and watchmakers would have to renegotiate their lease contracts." ($1 = 0.7180 Euros) ($1 = 0.6008 British Pounds)
(Additional reporting by Pascale Denis in Paris and Silke Koltrowitz in Zurich; Editing by Mark John and David Goodman)

Christie's Luxury Handbags and Accessories Sale - Online Auction

Christie’s is launching a season of vintage couture, handbags and accessory sales with this online-only auction of luxury handbags and accessories, which opens for bidding on 18 March. The sale features a wide array of vintage handbags in bright and vibrant colours, with over 125 lots by sought-after designers including Hermès, Chanel, and Christian Dior. Highlights include iconic Hermès Birkins and Kellys in bright spring colours and exotic leathers. These are the lots to watch:
Most interesting provenance? Lot 85. The set was created by Louis Vuitton in 2007 in honour of pétanque’s 100th anniversary. The sets, produced in limited numbers are light and portable, allowing play in areas where steel boules many not be permitted. They were produced in limited numbers and were originally given to Louis Vuitton’s top clients as gifts.
Estimate: £2,000-3,000
Lot 82 is another interesting piece. It was created for a Hermès exhibition in Japan in 1997 and the bags were given to VIP guests. The French slogan translates as "A Trip to Wonderland".
Estimate: £700-1,000
Top lot: One of the exotic skin bags is likely to fetch the most. My favourite is the amethyst crocodile Birkin bag, Lot 67. The colour is stunning – subtle and jewel like.
Most unusual item: Probably Lot 38, the Hermès Sac à Malice. It was made in 1988 and is a rather unusual design, which we haven’t sold previously at Christie’s. It is such a fun bag and perfect for summer with its beach theme. We have also have a selection of unusual coloured Kelly bags in the sale. Lot 47 for example, a Menthe leather Kelly bag.
Estimate: Lot 38 £600-1,000 and Lot 47 £4,500-5,500
The dark horse: That might be Lot 120, a 1960s black crocodile Kelly bag. It's in such great condition with lots of "vintage" character.
Estimate: £3,000-5,000
The curator's pick: Lot 69 – a limited edition fuchsia pink Chanel Ladybug Charm Classic Flap bag from 2003-04, it’s not only unusual, but is a great colour and would be a brilliant addition to a collector’s wardrobe.
Estimate: £2,000-4,000
Online bidding runs from the 18-27 March.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Something Very Special: Terre D'Hermes Eau Très Fraiche

Something very special and actually quite new. Explodes with Orange and Citrus. Settles down, after some time, into something Earthy and Aromatic.

Coming this month, from Hermès.

Ellen Barkin Barking in Her Phone With Birkin By Her Side

Hermes Desk Set $91,650

Meanwhile, children starve.

Rest in Peace L'Wren Scott January 1, 1967 - March 17, 2014

Miss Scott was uber-chic. Shown above exiting the Carlyle Hotel in New York City carrying an Hermès Birkin handbag.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jane Birkin Style Icon

How many people can say that they have the most coveted Hermes bag in the world named after them? Jane Birkin became a symbol of the Swinging Sixties and after accidentally spilling the contents of her straw bag next to Hermes CEO Jean-Louis Dumas on a flight from Paris to London, she also became his muse for a new design. The Birkin bag is now brandished by the most famous and most wealthy, although Birkin herself no longer uses her since developing tendonitis. With a wardrobe full of mini dresses and Mary Janes, Jane Birkin was the original boho babe, paving the way for Rachel Zoe and her hoard of hippies.
-by Sophie Miskiw

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Celine, Phoebe Philo, Nicholas Kirkwood, and More (OnStyle Notebook)

A model presents a creation for Celine.

PARIS — Phoebe Philo‘s handbags have spawned nearly as many knock-offs as the Hermes Kelly. Fashionable people are cozying up in Birkenstocks and chunky sweaters because of the Celine designer. So pay attention, class, to what the teacher cooked up for Fall 2014: Knit pants that puddle around the foot (Marc Jacobs did them, too.), a longer narrow — yet still unbinding — silhouette, and comfy flatworm shoes. My particular favorite looks: jackets with the corners of fabric folded back and buttoned … as an embellishment.
Film director David Lynch created a creepy film backdrop of a clay monster head for the Kenzo show bright and early on Sunday morning. Next time designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon decide to collaborate with a famous noir surrealist on their set design, they might want to consider moving their show to the last-in-day 8 p.m. slot.
But it goes to show that when you’re relevant, you’re relevant. These two besties from Berkeley have put Kenzo back on the map with their nerdy pop-culture fascinations, earnest do-good vibe (they protested global overfishing for their spring 2014 collection), and zany take on fashion trends. For fall 2014: maze-like jacquard suits, puffers (naturally), and for the truly trendcrazed, fur trimmed puffer clutches.
I stopped by Nicholas Kirkwood’s showroom in the Marais to find out what an infusion of cash and knowledge from LVMH has done for the shoe designer. He’s acquired a new CFO, representatives in the Middle East, and is re-working his supply chain. So in addition to those wink-wink velvet tuxedo slippers with the eyes on them, for fall, expect to see many many more of Mr. Kirkwood’s creations come 2015.
When Johnny Talbot and Adrian Runhoff spied a photo of two protestors — one in a corduroy skirt citing homosexuality as sin, the other protesting corduroy skirts as sin, their fall fashion collection was born. Talbot Runhoff is the only label where you’re likely to find designer corduroy, because this Berlin-based duo did not go with the puffer theme like everyone else.
Hot designer alert: To take a rectangular band of cloth — roughly 4 inches by 16 — and turn it into the basis of a collection requires perfect balance. For Givenchy, Ricardo Tisci had me twisting in my seat to see where he’d place the next strip of cloth — on the front of a gown, as pockets, stripped across the top of a sweater, plain cloth on a fur jacket? Blown up prints based on butterfly wings — not the shape, but the colors and patterns — were equally memorable.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hermes Getting All Horsey

PARIS, FRANCE - MARCH 14: Julien Epaillard of France on Cristallo A Lm in action to win the Prix Hermes Sellier during the first day of the Grand Prix Hermes of Paris at Grand Palais on March 14, 2014 in Paris, France. 

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Psychology of Hermes Handbags - Show-Off vs Self-Confident

Ever notice the way in which a person carries an Hermès handbag?  It says a lot about the personality of that person. I'm sure a psychologist could have a field day with all of this but for now let's just look at two types of personalities.

The self-confident type:
This personality type carries the bag with the logo and identifying details of the bag facing toward their own body, so that other people don't see the Hermès logo (above).

Then there's the show-off. This is by far the vast majority of Birkin and Kelly owners. They carry the bag with the logo and identifying features (lock, clochette, straps) facing outward, for the world to see (below).


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