Friday, October 30, 2015

Selling $2 Million in Birkin Bags at First Ever Pop-Up Yacht

I see things like this and immediately wonder how many counterfeit bags are in that mix! To me it screams "buyer beware".


Birkin Is Selling $2 Million in Bags at First Ever Pop-Up Yacht Next Weekend

You can purchase every single one plus a VanDutch yacht for the lowly price of $4 million.
$2 million in Birkin Bags, one extremely luxurious VanDutch pleasure yacht. What does that spell? The world's first ever Birkin pop-up yacht, and it's cruising through South Florida next weekend for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
VanDutch, Beyoncé-approved yachting company, and Privé Porter, a site that sells about $30 million in rare, unused bags every year, have teamed up to launch the pop-up, which will run from November 4th through November 11th.
If you're in the market for a Birkin and don't feel like chilling on a waitlist for years on end, then this might be your chance to purchase one and maybe cruise along in a multi-million dollar VanDutch 55 yacht. Birkin bags in calf, alligator, and not-exactly-Jane-Birkin-approved crocodile skins will be displayed on the ship, and you can schedule an appointment with Privé Porter to browse around and take one home. Or, you buy every Birkin plus the yacht for a mere $4 million. Up to you.
"Out of 30 Birkin bags we're featuring aboard the VanDutch 55, the crown jewel is the braise shiny porosus 35cm crocodile with 18K white gold and diamond hardware, offered at $360,000," says Jeff Berk of Privé Porter. Their goal is to try and break the record set at a Christie's auction, for a Birkin that recently sold for $221,846.
Now as for the rest of us mere mortals, we can peruse all the bags au gratis at the boat show from 11am to 6pm at the VanDutch Center.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Cool: Hermès Pop-Up Shop Opens at JFK Airport

Travelers can now pick up scarves, perfumes, and home goods from the classic French brand in Terminal 4.
Hermès is making holiday airline travel a little more luxe, even for those us of who don't have business class tickets. The beloved French heritage brand has set up a pop-up shop in the newly renovated retail lounge in JFK’s Terminal 4. For ticketed passengers looking for a last minute flight accessory like a classic scarf or souvenir scent, the limited-time store will last through the end of November. Capitalizing on the 18 million travelers that catch flights in the terminal each year, Hermès temporarily joins the more permanent retailers in the area, including Hugo Boss, Swarovski, Tumi, and Kiehl’s.
Modeled after the flagship Paris location, the shop is offering candles and cleansing gels in a variety of fragrances, as well as the brand’s classic perfumes, like Eau des Merveilles and Jour d`Hermès. This isn’t the first time Hermès has built innovative pop up shops. In the fall of 2013, the luxury brand built a month-long scarf-centric pop-up near New York’s Columbus Circle that was built to look like a classic Manhattan diner.
Hermès joins Chanel in its love for airports. Paris Fashion Week featured a Chanel Airlines terminal from the mind of Karl Lagerfeld. It's all the reason we need to step up our sartorial game when we head down a different kind of runway.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Louis Vuitton, Hermès Lead Secondhand Luxury Sales

(a bag from Hermès)

PARIS — Louis Vuitton and Hermès have taken the top spots in the secondhand personal luxury market.
According to a study conducted by Exane BNP Paribas and the secondhand online retailer Instant Luxe, Louis Vuitton has extended its volume lead in both handbags and small leather goods in the first half of 2015, while Hermès heads the list in terms of average price increases.
By volume, Chanel and Hermès, the second and third strongest sellers, together currently make up 40 percent of Louis Vuitton’s worth in handbag sales. The first Italian players in the ranking, Gucci and Prada, combined are worth only 11 percent of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s top brand.
In the small leather goods category, Louis Vuitton dominates with a five-time advantage over Hermès.
Hermès has seen the average price of its handbags increase 23.6 percent in the first half of 2015 versus the same year-ago period, followed by Chanel and Céline, “possibly a consequence of the Kelly’s recent revival, and continued strong demand from Chinese consumers,” the researchers write.
The price of Hermès’ small leather goods, meanwhile, jumped 55.4 percent.
Hermès is also the leader in the fashion watches department, selling three times more than Chanel, which came in second, while Cartier reigns in the specialist watch space — at the expense of Rolex — as well as in the specialist jewelry space, the study says.
In fashion jewelry, Hermès continues to place second, though the French luxury brand has almost closed the gap with Chanel in terms of volume, with both companies also trading at approximately the same average price level.
Exane BNP Paribas noted that the faster momentum in the secondhand market is good news short-term. “This suggests higher brand desirability and top-of-mind position. Longer-term, this is also a challenge: higher top-of-mind could come at the expense of perceived exclusivity. Yet, it is obviously better to be relevant to consumers and having to manage perceived exclusivity over time, than to be irrelevant in the first place,” the researchers observed.
At present, 80 percent of the secondhand market is still in the hands of physical retailers, they noted, though online players such as Instant Luxe are growing fast, currently accounting for one-fifth of the market.
As reported, last month Eurazeo took a minority stake in Vestiaire Collective, one of Europe’s largest sellers of pre-owned fashion and accessories, in an attempt to cash in on the growing sector.
The site, which serves as a first gateway into luxury for many buyers, posted 85 percent growth in sales volume in the first half of 2015, the private equity fund said.

By - WWD

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Vintage View: Hermes scarves are the epitome of understated elegance

Kya deLongchamps takes a wander through the silken, society of the Hermès scarf.

Balade en Berline. Design taken from an 18th century Berlin carriage at the Musee National de la Voiture et du Tourisme, in Compiegne. €335 (36cm square to 90cm square).
Minuit au Faubourg. Designed by Dimitri Rybaltchenko. €335 (36cm square to 90cm square).

In the 1950s, the classical and equestrian iconography on a Hermès of Paris scarf spoke of an impossibly glamorous life.In winter one was pelted in impeccable couture in Paris, London or New York.
In summer, drinking gem-coloured cocktails with an elite tribe in the Cote d’Azur — the Hermès rolled, could keep the sun off the décolletage.
It was a brand you could hang onto, when all around you life was changing.

If the country seat was given up in death duties, the Baron von Tweeden-Pants dropped you for a starlet or you simply lost your looks — a Hermès scarf knotted elegantly under a gentrified chin (even in tatters) said something. You belonged — you were quality and knew what quality was.
Hunting, shooting, fishing, sparking elbows with royalty — and confidently staring down the under-classes — it was at one time all implied in a 36x36-inch square of exquisite silk jacquard.
Today, every Hermès scarf is still handmade and screen printed. It’s a luxurious, artisan product seamlessly connected with the world of high fashion and celebrity. It’s not too expensive darling — you simply cannot afford one!
Exclusivity, privilege — this is what real luxury is really all about. Since 1880 the headquarters of Hermès has been at 24, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris.

The Hermès family got their start in 1837 in harness making under Thierry Hermès, an immigrant of French/German descent.
Its superb leather work garnered top commissions including the supply of saddles, tack and accessories to Napoleon III and the Russian czars. Hermès is known to have made a golf jacket for Edward, the Prince of Wales with a specialised zip that wowed the trade.
Under Thierry’s grandsons Adolphe and Émile-Maurice, the company entered the unchartered waters of retail.
By the 1930s that essential connection with aristocracy had imprinted its name on the collective desires of society, and Hermes had digressed into watches with movements from Geneva, bags, country clothing, ladies wear for country pursuits, ties and carrés (scarves).

The very first Hermès scarf appeared in 1937 and featured a group of ladies playing a parlour game, ‘Jeu des Omnibus et Dames blanches’, designed in-house by Robert Dumas a member of the Hermès dynasty.
The recognition of the branding was crucial from an early stage — the Duc carriage drawn by a hackney horse and the wrapping — that flat, orange box used for the scarves.
The idea for scarves may have come from the equestrian roots of the company, as the material was, and still is, used for searingly bright jockey’s silks and was also used for its thermal properties to line riding jackets of every kind. Silk is not only 100% natural, but for its light weight, texture, warmth and cachet, is unmatched by any synthetic fibre.

The scarf adds a perfect dash of personable colour to any outfit, and has the added practicality of protecting the hair — atrophied in the mid-century with hours of work and a pint of lacquer.
When Queen Elizabeth was drawn in profile for a postage stamp released in 1950, she is seen in silhouette wearing a Hermès scarf, and she always used one as an implied riding helmet — the naughty rebel.
In 1956, the impossibly tasteful movie star Grace Kelly, was photographed carrying a Hermès Sac à dépêches, rebranded shortly thereafter, the Kelly Bag.
When Kelly broke her arm the same year, she rigged up a Hermes as a sling. When Sharon Stone tied up her victims in Basic Instinct, she was tasteful enough to at least use Hermès scarves.
Hermès scarves are made in France, and the company’s resolve to home produce and to stick with this expensive, rarefied textile was said to have endangered its very survival by the 1970s.
The hemming by nuns, and the use of pear blocks may have been superseded by more modern techniques, but the attention to detail, including hand-rolled edges and the intricate repetition of pattern, remains the same.

The silk itself is the best mulberry grown on the Hermès farm in Brazil, and it takes 250-300 cocoons to make a single 36in square.
Original concepts, from a commission to a renowned artist, are engraved on a plate for the screen printing.
Only 20 designs make it through the rigorous 18-month cycle of production each year at the company’s plant at Lyon, established by Robert Dumas-Hermès in the 30s.
The company even has an in-house museum referencing suitable topics for its annual themes (set since 1987 as an ingenious ploy to spur collectors on).
Astronomy, antiques, weapons, fireworks, flora and fauna, the recipes are whimsical, exotic, sometimes surreal and rendered in stunning colour combinations. Each scarf can demand as many as 45 individual silk-screens in its production.
Digital printing and the superb skills of craftsmen in the Far East have led inevitably to wide spread forgery of this high-end product.
There are numerous tip sheets online to educate the new collector in what to look for, from the lie of the jacquard (Hermès are never simply 100% silk) to the wording of the labels.
Hermes also has an app to show you how to knot your scarf in multiple ways and its website is a feminine fairyland.

For identification, try this tenderly maintained online catalogue of the latest collections:  (La Maison des Carrés). Carrés from €270, Silk Twilly from €135.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Secret to Hermès’ Success

For two decades, Hermès has managed to make its luxury goods both impossibly exclusive and widely available, driving strong profits and growth.

PARIS, France — For consumers and investors alike, Hermès is the quintessential luxury brand, seen as having the most exclusive and desirable goods on the market. But real exclusivity is not much of a business model — Leonardo da Vinci paintings are exclusive, but trading in his artwork offers little scope for growth or profit. And yet, among the major luxury goods companies I monitor, including LVMH and Kering, Hermès has reported the highest return on invested capital and the best operating profit after tax in 13 of the past 15 years. Sure, Hermès sells exquisitely made products, but so do many other companies. So what makes Hermès unique?
The convenient explanation is capacity constraints. Hermès frustrates demand and makes it difficult for people to buy its most coveted products. But here, too, Hermès is not alone, even if it does push things to the extreme. In today’s personal luxury goods sector, blending craftsmanship and customisation and with modern industry and technology has created the paradox of selling exclusivity by the million. And Hermès is the world champion in the art of leading people to believe its products are exclusive and unique. Indeed, Hermès has managed to appear exclusive and to maintain that appearance for years, all whilst selling a trainload of products every day with high margins.
The fact that people consider the Birkin handbag to be exclusive is an astonishing feat. I calculate there must be more than a million Birkin bags in circulation. Very few handbag brands can claim such significant volume on any of their models and even fewer can claim to have a luxury product with the exclusive reputation of the Birkin.
Better still is Hermès’ skill at creating a halo of exclusivity around each product it sells, no matter how trivial: ties for €150, scarves for €350, perfume for €85, fashion bracelets for €450. Consumers can buy any of these products and leave the Hermès store feeling like a million dollars. To achieve this, Hermès has implemented one of the most effective stratagems for reconciling high sales volumes with a reputation for exclusivity: category segregation. This involves confining iconic, core category products to high-end price ranges only, while focusing other product categories with lower price points on aspirational consumers.
Other companies have tried this approach, but none come close to Hermès’ level of success. Cartier segregates its product categories when it comes to advertising, featuring only exclusive pieces of jewellery in its campaigns. Similarly, several large soft luxury brands are attempting to segregate leather handbags, but the jury is still out on whether they will stick to this strategy, given the fierce attack by accessible luxury players such as Michael Kors.
The recent launch of Apple Watch Hermès is the nth example of the luxury brand’s extraordinary ability to appear both impossibly exclusive and widely available. For Apple, the partnership rescues the “cool factor” of the Apple Watch, which was drawing perilously close to appearing geeky despite the company’s attempts to build coolness around its luxury-level gold model. For Hermès, it attracts attention back to a category with which the brand has been struggling and offers an easier entry point for aspirational consumers. It sells a little piece of the brand — a Hermès leather band — at a very significant premium and, I assume, a considerable margin.
That said, the future for the luxury market’s master of seduction looks decidedly less assured. Over the past twenty years, Hermès has achieved both high organic growth and very significant margin expansion. Going forward, neither of the two is likely to continue, as the company seems to be set on a course of mid to high single-digit organic growth and is probably close to peak margins.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Man who stole HK$400,000 Hermes handbag hunted by Hong Kong police

A Brand Off store (left) and a CCTV image of the suspect. Photos: SCMP Pictures

Police have launched a manhunt for a man who fled with a luxury handbag worth about HK$400,000 from a store in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Police said a man asked for a HK$398,000 Hermes Birkin crocodile-skin handbag at an outlet of the luxury second-hand chain Brand Off on Peking Road at about 9pm on Wednesday.
Staff gave chase after the man took the bag, but he escaped in a taxi.
Police launched a fruitless search for the suspect, who is said to be slim, aged 20 to 30 and a Cantonese speaker without an accent.
A Yau Tsim police district investigation team is probing the case.
A nearby outlet in the Holiday Inn Golden Mile lost 30 handbags worth HK$1.8 million in June when a four-member gang broke into the store, smashed the closet with a hammer and grabbed the bags.


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