Friday 21 June 2024

Loro Piana Dip Their Toe Back in the Water of Sunglasses With Ski Goggles, Still no N.P.E.L.P


We have long written about Loro Piana's flirtation with having a Sunglasses collection.  From their stunning launch of a world first ultra-thin lens with  N.P.E.L.P lenses made from rare-earth minerals way back in 2011, to them gradually phasing out the N.P.E.L.P lenses, and discontinuing all types in 2022.  It's therefore surprising to see them attempt some sort of eye-protection once again, with a new pair of ski goggles.

Coming in at £855, with changeable lenses, Loro Piana appear to be making progress, as these are only 6 times more expensive than for example, a pair of Oakley ski goggles.  A huge improvement from their Loro Piana plastic frisbee which proudly declared it being manufactured from plastic, costing 175 times that of a comparable non-branded version.

However it's not all sunshine and rainbows.  The new Loro Piana Ski goggle appear to have no UV coating.  There is no mention of it on their website page for the product, and doesn't appear to be mentioned anywhere else either, by way of press release or sycophantically enthusiastic articles.

This is rather problematic.  According to the American Cente for Disease and Control, an absence of UV protection while on snow can lead to serous health concerns, as a result of the altitude, and sheer expanse of blinding whiteness.

It seems then that Loro Piana have outdone themselves here then, creating a product which is not onl;y overpriced, but also dangerous.  Unless we're incorrect and it does have UV protection, in which case they're merely overpriced, and ugly.

Saturday 15 June 2024

Light Phone Release Light Phone 3 Fail


Light Phone have produced the latest model of their minimalist tech device, the Light Phone 3, or III.  As the title of this entry suggests, we are not impressed.

Light Phone'e manifesto was a premium, pared back, minimalist communications device.  One which was light in both features, and in physical dimensions.  The Light Phone 2 is a testament to this, being just 95mm x 55mm x 8.5mm, and weighing just 78 grams.  It's features were also very light, yet essential, of just an alarm, GPS, basic music player, calendar, and podcasts, and phone and text only for communications.

The 3 however, is 72mm x 104mm x 12mm, and weighs 124g, and has video calling, a camera, and will incorporate NFC technology and AI.  Considering it costs £350 for pre order, and then will cost £600, they are asking the same money that an iPhone 14 costs, for a device that weighs nearly the same as an iPhone SE, and has far less functionality, and is slightly larger by width and depth.  The counterargument is "thats the point it's supposed to have less".  However, this fails, because by incorporating a camera there is an explicit acknowledgment that the minimalist phone idea is a bad one. 

There is another, underlying issue, with purchasing a luxury device that has "a few less" features, as opposed to the stripped back minimalism of the Light Phone 2.  Users are broadcasting to the world that they lack self-conrol to simply not use the apps that they consider "bad".  It's essentially an advert that users are weak, and incapable of controlling their urges.  Now the counter is all minimalist phone's have this problem, but that's not right.  

There's a real use case for the ultra minimal Light Phone 2, or a clamshell phone than many choose to opt for.  It's good for children, with the essentials for emergencies.   It can be a genuine second phone when you don't want to be disturbed.  Or it can be for when you go to places your primary smartphone might be at risk of being stolen.  Or even if you want to travel "light" due to the 2's ultra-compact design.  

All of this goes out the window with the Light Phone 3.  The camera makes it not safe enough for children.  The size and weight make it impractical for being "lightweight".  And the high costs makes it no real improvement on loosing a iPhone 14, and worse in fact than keeping an iPhone SE. In short, as the title said, Light Phone 3 Fail.

Saturday 8 June 2024

Pharrell's Louis Vuitton LVERS Fragrance and Camo Trunk.


From Louis Vuitton's creative director, Pharrell, comes an entirely original fragrance called LVERS.  

Made with Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud, it is a unisex fragrance, which press-releases say contains cedar, sandalwood, gum resin, ginger and bergamot.  All packaged in either a blocky camo print trunk triple set, or tube, with the tube coming in at £300, and the trunk expected to be £4,800.

We are not particularly interested in the dull simplistic, heteronormative concept of colour coding.  The classic and eternally cliched "blue is for boys and pink is for girls".  However, that being said, it is extremely difficult to conceive how on packaging alone this can be considered as coded in any way other than for a masculine audience.  Never mind the fragrance itself.

We have a chunky, pixel art print, with pixel art coming from video games, and these being historically considered (wrongly) a male pursuit.  Which is in camo, a design inspired by field military clothing for soldiers.  With soldiers having been solely males for the majority of human history.  Along with a combination of base notes usually seen in scents marketed towards the male consumer market as a summer perfume, of bergamot, cedar and sandalwood (Creed Aventus anyone?)

None of this really matters. This is a consumer product, and it's all just marketing.  Anyone who likes the smell of any fragrance regardless of gender or primary sex characteristics can use any they wish.  It is though, rather odd, to see such classically "male" semiotics marketed as "unisex".

Saturday 1 June 2024

A.P.C. Release Sunglasses Collection (Again)

A.P.C. have announced their first sunglasses collection.  When they say they announced ther first sunglasses collectuon however, they are in fact being slightly disingenuous.  In reality, they released a collection through Oliver Peoples around four years ago, which was discontinued around two uyears ago.

This new offering is remarkably similar, with four styles, wayfarer, rondo, aviator, and fake flip-up.  Are they made in the same factory?  Probably.  After all, Oliver Peoples is just another Luxottica brand, like Persol, RayBan, and many, many others.  It's pretty reasonable for A.P.C. to have them manufacture frames with their branding on, in order to save them having the outlay of manufacturing them in-house.

They're pretty cheap, which is predictable, as A.P.C. is well known for good quality and relatively reasonable prices.  In a market with brands like Jacques Marie-Mage selling sunglasses for over $1,000 all day long, these sellign for just €250 is quite surprising.  They're actually cheaper than many RayBan's.  With a decent enough style too.

Head over now, as they might sell out.  After all, we don't know how many pairs they had made in Luxxottica's factories!


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.