Monday 8 April 2024

Bang Olufsen ADER ERROR Beosound 1 and Accessories Capsule.


We have been pretty unashamed in our criticism's of Bang & Olufsen's so-called "limited editions".  With their "atelier' collection attracting scathing criticism from many, including ourselves.  However, when their right their right, and in their ADER ERROR capsule, in our view, they hit the mark.

The question arises, what distinguishes this "limited edition capsule" from others?  The answer is the vision.  We see here an idea, and concept.  The attractive stand which elevate's the Beosound 1 from a simple portable speaker to mini system.  The leather sling case, which is designed for listening on the go.  Anyone who has ever enjoyed the simple pleasure of a min-rave in the streets with friends, with a powerful speaker hanging from a bag pumping out tracks, will appreciate how charming the idea of a sling case for their speaker.  All of which is to be compared with other launches from B&O, which do little other than changing a colour scheme, and in the case of the "atelier" ranges, adding £200 to the price tag.  

Take note all those who think to collab, or launch limited edition capsule's, have a vision, say something, give meaning and voice to an idea.  Otherwise, it's obviously mere money-making trash.

There are no price's at time of writing, in fact, the ADER ERROR Bnag & Olufsen range is set to launch two days hence.  However, we can safely assume given ADER ERROR pricing that the sling case will be upwards of £400, and the speaker will be around £300, while the stand is anyone's guess.

Monday 1 April 2024

Rimowa Re-Introduce Defunct Hammerschlag Luggage For Capsule Collection


In a move, the logic of which must only be apparent to the "great" minds at Rimowa HQ, the brand is re-introducing their Hammerschlag collection for a limited run.  German for Hammer Hit, the term refers to the practice of using a hammer to make distinctive patterns on the metal.  However, what most design led blogs appear to have completely missed, is that this practice was abandoned in favour of better methods.

The Hammerschlag technique was not designed to "reflect light", or "flatter non-textured surfaces", it was used to make the bags stronger.  Rimowa began making aluminium luggage from 1930, but found that flat panelled aluminum buckled and warped too much, along with showing up marks and dents too greatly.  The grooved design Rimowa are famous for was created in the 1950's, and Hammerschalg was an "experiment" in effect to test the an alternative in the 1960's.  It was found ineffective, and the grooved design we now know and love won out.  This used to be able to be found on Rimowa's Wikipedia entry, before it became re-written by LVMH marketing executives to resemble an advert.

The choice to re-introduce an inferior product was clearly motivated by greed, and little else.  Demonstrated by the manner it's marketed as an "exclusive" product, "limited" to only 1,898 of the cabin an 966 of the Hand-Carry, and for "only" £2,130 for the cabin and £1,770 for the Hand-Carry.  

Sunday 24 March 2024

Hermès sued in California For Unfair Practice's Around Birkin Sales Model.


Luxury goods have long been acknowledged as having odd requirements in to to obtain the most desirable types of these.  The most significant being the requirement to spend large sums of money in order to acquire them.  Yet, beyond this, many brands seem to require consumers to purchase large quantities of "standard" luxury goods before being permitted to buy the "exclusive" pieces.  Watch dealers are most notable for this, and Hermes with it's Birkin bags has also been said to do it, and two American consumers are so upset, they are suing Hermès for antitrust practices.

The two individuals action, the filing of which can be seen here, allege that Hermès "require" customers to purchase "ancillary" products before offering them the right and opportunity to buy a Birkin, which is an illegal and unfair marketing practice known a "tying".  The crux of the lawsuit appears to be that after spending many thousands of dollars on Hermès product's, those that brought it were told that Birkin's are "reserved for clients who have been consistent in supporting the brand's business".  Interestingly, Hermès CEO Axel Dumas directly responded to an accusation on this point in 2023, and told Business of Fashion that Hermès did not engage in the practice at all.  

The reality is that, despite our enjoyment of luxury goods, demonstrated by our writing about them, beyond a certain point they are merely marketing.  In many cases, luxury versions of simple everyday goods sell for hundreds of times the cost of unbranded versions.  We have written on some of the most egregious examples, such as Loro Piana's £175 plastic frisbee.  There is nothing that will ever make a plastic frisbee worth £175, and in truth, there's not really anything that makes most luxury goods worth what people pay for them.  

Creating artificial scarcity, and clever advertising tricks, are these businesses only real methods to trick consumers into thinking they are worth even close to the prices they ask.  Any reasonable consumer would know this, and we suspect the litigants in this matter are taking action from emotion rather than reason.  Probably because they feel bad they weren't allowed to buy a Birkin.  We doubt this lawsuit will succeed, however, it may bring some unwanted attention to the practice, and in our view, this is rather more likely to be the rationale of those who initiated it.  Sour grapes?  Most certainly.  Possibly effective in causing damage to Hermès?  Maybe.

Sunday 10 March 2024

Heritage Brand Baracuta Collab with Mastermind and Pull it Off.


Collab's are everywhere nowadays.  With many of them being highly questionable.  Every so often one comes along that manages to succeed, and the recent limited collection from the established British brand Baracuta, and Japanese brand Mastermind, is a good example of when this occurs.  The selection includes some bland and forgettable tee's, and hoody's, which is understandable, as boring tat is Mastermind's staple.  However, the classic Baracuta G4 and G9 jacket's have been done surprisingly tastefully.

We say surprisingly, as Mastermind is known for neither taste, nor restraint.  It is known for overpriced, and relatively poor quality, streetwear, emblazoned with skull and crossbone logo's.  Perhaps the brand's designer's think skulls are edgy, or maybe they saw one too many pirate movies growing up.  In any case, Mastermind is mostly mocked for it's £1,000 tee shirts with no discernible stand out features, and the fact that this energy was toned down for the Baracuta collaboration is fairly remarkable.

We suspect the Baracuta team are responsible for the subdued nature of the collab.  Which would make sense given the brand's storied status.  The two jacket's are quite good in our view.  With very subtle skull logos on the back, and hidden in expanding cuffs (G9), or with just the logo's embroidered on the cuffs (G4), discreet skull zippers, and nothing else.

What makes this collaboration particularly interesting, and something which we again are sure Baracuta is responsible for, is the reasonable price.  A normal no limited G4 or G9 is £350 - £450, while the Baracuta x Mastermind G9 is £475, and the G4 is £585.  Compared with the prices Mastermind stuff goes for, this is a bargain.

Baracuta still has some in stock at time of writing, if interested, shake a leg.

Monday 26 February 2024

Loro Piana Attempt to Streamline with a Sleeker, Smoother Attitude, but is Lifeless and Dull.


Loro Piana has showcased it's 2024/2025 fall/winter collection, and it has a marked similarity to a number of currently popular mainstream brands.  One stand out detail is the cardo-shaped pins closing the collars, which is seemingly a reference to thistle's, which have a textured touch.  However, it's the fact that the collection looks virtually identical to Zegna's Fear-Of-God collection that is more surprising.

Or perhaps, not so surprising.  Loro Piana is in fact owned by LVMH, and has been since 2013.  Antione Arnault has been steering the ship since 2022, and as anyone familiar with the fashion industry knows, the Arnault family and LVMH are like the Apple of luxury goods.  Sleek, polished, bland and dull, and completely devoid of creativity.  It is therefore entirely unsurprising that they have simply copied Zegna after seeing how well it did, as that's their trademark.

It's sad to see Loro Piana slide into being merely another lifeless husk of a brand, without any originality.  However, as long as LVMH continues it's expansion and approach, this will continue to be the case.

Sunday 18 February 2024

Swaine Adeney Brigg Rebrand and Relaunch as "Swaine London".


Storied English brand Swaine Adeney Brigg has rebranded following acquisition in 2022, and shed it's former stores, workshops, and name.  The brand left its St James store when the lease ended in 2018, and moved to Picadily Arcade.  In truth, the brand has had a rocky history, and the name being three families combined in itself was an attempt to merge to be stronger in difficult times.  However, the effect of COVID-19 was too severe, and the brand was acquired by French luxury group Chargeurs.

The French group have changed the store location, moving them to the Burlington Arcade, changed their factory to a new one in Sawston Cambridgeshoire, and opened a flagship at 127 New Bond Street, with a workshop in the building.  They have also changed the logo and brand name to "Swaine", and abandoned the Times font for trendy Arial/blocky text.  Along with launching some new "trendy" bags.

Frankly, it's sad to see yet another brand fall under the relentless sanitising drive that was spearheaded by LVMH in brands like Berluti and Rimowa.  Once again, we see the same dull cliches:  Sans-serif font black on white, big clean minimal stores, marketing campaigns of models pouting holding products.  It's so tired, and so boring.  Whether this will revitalise the brand or just mean it limps along for a while longer remains to be seen.  In either case, light a candle for another traditional brand that has fallen into mediocrity.

Sunday 14 January 2024

Luxury Brands cash in on Children with Kid's Fragrance's.


As businesses and luxury brands seek ways to strip the remaining capital from consumers in new and inventive ways, they appear to be becoming slightly desperate in this objective.  For several years now brands have been creating ranges of products for children, and accessorising younger persons has become the growth market.  We wrote about this previously, but more recently, a new product aimed at kids has been doing the rounds, and that is fragrances for children.
In truth, fragrances for children have existed for decades, but they were usually for parents to odorise after the inevitable early years accidents that come along with parenthood.  They were usually brightly coloured, featuring favourite characters of children, being shaped in childlike designs.  Aside from being alcohol free to not harm young children, one other feature was virtually universal.  They were extremely inexpensive, costing £5 or £10 at most.

As luxury brands have targeted this area, affordability has gone out the window, with Hermes offering costing £100, Bulgari's £110, and the recently discontinued Creed for kids being £230.  This in our view, is ludicrous.  The aforementioned reason for kids fragrances is for parents to make kids smell nice, not for kids to impress anyone, as they have no-one to impress, for they are children.  It's yet another tone-deaf money-making venture by increasingly out of touch luxury brands which are, as noted, becoming desperate.