Saturday 11 May 2024

Loro Piana Miss the Point of Denim Completely with Denim Silk


Denim, as most are aware, was created in the late 19th century as a hard wearing fabric for workers.  As is also commonly known, it has been co-opted by the majority of people as an everyday staple, and can be seen worn by everyone from cutting edge avant garde artists, to politicians on their off days.  However, despite the myriad of high end offerings, such as Hermes jeans that costs £800, and many more example far more expensive, these all retain that they are made from hardy materials.  The aforementioned Hermes ones for example are constructed from heavyweight selvedge denim that will likely last a lifetime.

Loro Piana however know better what we want.  Following hot on the heels of their CashDenim material that is cashmere and denim blend, costing £1000 for a pair of five pocket jeans, comes DenimSilk.  As the slightly uninspiring  name conveys, this is denim and silk, and is apparently a 59% cotton, 41% silk blend, that is made in the region of Japan famous for denim, Bingo.  Apparently the fabric is lighter to the touch, and more dynamic in movement.  Which is rather to be expected, since it's cotton and silk blended material.

What we think is that Guy Debord woudl have a field day with this, as this is really the society of the spectacle writ large.  The authenticity of denim as a hard wearing material has been entirely subsumed and obliterated, and become a mere representation of itself.  This material is not denim, it's denim coloured cotton and silk blend.  But hey on the one hand, it's probably lighter and easier to have the denim "look" in hotter weather.  And that is all that matters, the spectacle.

Sunday 28 April 2024

Louis Vutton Demonstrate They are Either Very Late or Very Early to the NFT game with the VIA Collection.


Anyone who has not been living under a rock for the last 20 years knows what cryptocurrency is.  NFT's are a little more niche, but even the mainstream media discussed these over the past few years, with gushing interviews where Paris Hilton and Justin Beiber spoke about their Bored Ape's, and auctions of these digital art pieces went for many millions of dollars online, and in the real world at Sotherby's and Christies. 

However, while cryptocurrency appears to still have some utility, with its market retaining more than $2.5 trillion, NFT's are beginning to become regarded as worthless.  For example, the Bored Ape NFT Justin Beiber paid $3 million for, was worth less than $53,000 in mid 2023.  It seems that LVMH didn't get the memo however, and they've launched their own "digital collectibles".

Beginning with the VIA Treasure Trunk for €39,000, owners of this will get the "opportunity" to get other digital collectibles, like the VIA Varsity Jacket, which is from Pharrel's new Spring Summer 2024 collection.  Except you cant wear it, use it, or resell it like the actual garment, and it costs €7,900.

We are not fans of NFT's, and don't see the point of them.  Unlike cryptocurrency which has some purpose, NFT's main purpose is to separate people from their money in pursuit of the greater fool theory.  The market appears to have reflected this, with the NFT bubble bursting so fast it made tulipmania look like a sensible long-term investing strategy.  It's unsurprising LVMH have jumped on the bandwagon therefore, as they increasingly seem interested in a quick buck, and good taste be damned.  It is however a bit curious why they jumped on so late.  

Or early?  Who knows!  Maybe the "genius" behind this at LVMH is super ahead of the the next NFT bubble?  Or maybe the "quality" that is the brand will reinvigorate the whole NFT market?  Maybe.  But we doubt it.

Friday 19 April 2024

Anti Social Social Club Customised Luxury Goods Capsule Selection.

It's no secret that we like Anti Social Social Club here.  It's irreverant and almost total disregard for the normal conventions that dictate how to run a business, and the fact that it still succeeds, really hits us where we live.  In a world of bland conformity, where every business is desperate to please, Neek Lurk and ASSC take bold moves like, delivering orders incredibly slowly, and then, when people complain, making a limited collection with their complaints printed on it, which sells out immediately.  Genius, although, we might be less enthusiastic if we were customers, but we can admire a good joke.

And in the same slightly outre fashion, they have now released an ultra high-end luxury capsule.  But wait, does this mean they are selling out?  Have they buckled to the pressure to collab with high-end brands and loose their individuality? Will they be bought by LVMH and given to one of Arnault's incompetent offspring and "reimagined"?  No.  To all of these.

In typical Anti Social Social Club fashion, they've done a luxury capsule their way, and no-one else's.  They simply bought luxury goods, Goyard bags and wallets, Rolex watches, Apple Airpods Max, Rimowa classic cabin luggae, customised it, and are selling them for a mark-up.  No compromise, no collaboration, just profit.  Demonstrating once again, they remain one of the few brands that still push the envelope just a little.

Available now, with prices from £1,200 for the Goyard wallet, to £25,000 for the blacked out Rolex Submariner.

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.