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Inbox: The Kooples Exhibition, a new Reebok tagline and ambitious designers.

This week in our inbox, landed a few interesting pieces.

Keeping their focus on arty-ness of the brand, The Kooples chose to present their new Fall Winter 15/16 Collection under the higher pretext of an art exhibition at Gallery Marquardt, in Paris. Photography of 30 portraits of mixed-culture couples will be exhibited in a show called “Latitude, Attitudes”, from the 6th to the 14th of May 2015. The exhibition was previously on the roads, showing in New York City and Dubai.

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In the age of superheroes named Iron Man and villains named Ultron, in the news where Cristiano Ronaldo and Lebron James are more often described as bionic men than athletes, Reebok chose to renew their tagline by launching a bold statement: “Be More Human”.

Last but not least, we also received a come-around email from a very young brand we criticized harshly a couple of years ago on the french blog. Their press release mentions “sportswear chic”, which means this deserves its very own article to follow, this wednesday.

 

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The Pyramid of Luxury : climb or die.

Climbing the ladder of lifestyle has always been the aspiration behind brand consumption. That guy Maslow –  for the sociology geeks, nailed it somehow with the pyramid of needs.

Now this “infographics” is quite interesting in the way it defines segments of luxury from the bottom up. And we already heard controversy, such as “aren’t Coach and Geox more suitable to be called “upper mid brands” instead of affordable luxury?”

There’s much to discuss.

What will Daigou buy therefore? And aren’t old Maisons sketpical by this positioning in the digital era? A real camouflet againt Louis Vuitton, downgraded to the “accessible core” thus.

All fashionisti can now place once and for all brands that all seem to mean glitter and billions: Cartier, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Bulgari, Louis Vuitton…). Black is the new Bling.

Here is the Bermudan triangle anyway. Don’t get lost in it!

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Vietnam-Based Designer goes Worldwide with crowdfunding

How many Vietnamese brands can you name except the informal international NGUYEN diaspora? Not many, but things are going to change. Rice Creative team, a branding and creative agency based in Ho Chi Minh City (currently hosting Boulevardier co-founder VQ) has been monitoring the pulse of creative and exportable businesses in Vietnam for a few years and coined a term defining a new wave of creators destined to make a hit worldwide: “Neue Vietnam”.

Among this handful of relevant brands making their way on the international scene is found Linda Mai Phung. The french-born designer has been developing a womenswear designer brand for 5 years and is now looking to expand. Their first round of fundsraising is crowd-oriented, while preparing to welcome private equity investors. These latter are still discovering the market that hosts Linda Mai Phung and things will pick up in the coming months, but the brand is already set to start an ambitious growth.

Defended successfully for 5 years on limited funds, the brand has been recognized with awards and press coverage in Europe.

In this unique configuration, Linda Mai Phung is turning to fashion-savvy consumers and activists to support her brand development.

Our editorial team is taking a specific interest in this campaign, as it has followed the brand’s activity for a while and has found its potential unlimited, should relevant funds be raised. Talent and ethical vision cohabitate in this singular brand profile. Authenticity and metropolitan style adequacy are still rare on the market, as is the opportunity to invest in such promising brand.

Discover Linda Mai Phung brand in the video below, and click on this photo to learn more about the Ulule crowdfunding campaign currently running for the brand.

Bet with us and make a difference on the fashion scene! The course of future fashion is ours to set.

 

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APONIE: when a mother and her children decide to create fragrances loaded with meanings and love

A new French brand has just revealed a collection of four new fragrances. APONIE created by Jocelyne Duval, explores new notes for men or for women, which are echoes from one another through seasons, moods and attitude.

We had a chance to interview her son, Marc-Aurèle Jules.

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Aponie is all about hyphenated identities and worldwide inspirations. How did you create fragrances right in this crossroad?

Interbreeding is a chance and a richness, it defines us and we care about it. My mother already grew up between Western and African educations, then in the same way, she raised us in this multiculturality, which opened our minds to cultures and traditions from here and there.

The best example of our love for interbreeding remains the name of our perfume “Mulâtresse” because a Mulâtresse, in French, is a daughter born of the union of black and white parents (it was also the nickname given to Jeanne Duval, the muse of the French poet Charles Baudelaire). Our origins from Europe and Arica, and our discoveries of regions in Asia or America brought us other exotic and cosmopolitan inspirations.

Personally, I have been brought up among perfumes. My mother used to soak, very young, our pillows with the Eau de Cologne by Mr Thibeault, then sprayed the filter of the vacuum cleaner in order to fill the house with the Eau de Parfum Panthère by Cartier, and our walks never missed to stop by a perfumery during the weekend or a manufacture as soon as we were travelling. Obviously, when she decided to make her dream come true by creating APONIE, recent graduate of HEC Paris, I chose with no hesitation to to join her into partnership, and so did my sister!

There is a lot of love and humour in your four new fragrances. A collection as a whole, which is very different from other “blockbusters” like Chanel, focusing on “hero” products like N°5….

Indeed, there is a lot of LOVE in our fragrances, the love of perfume firstly, and above all the love of self which is one of the main values of our House. APONIE extols three values that are the love of self, the teaching of happiness and the sublimation of self, which passes by perfume.

In addition to our philosophy of love and happiness, we put a lot of poetry into our fragrances. We realized bold and previously unseen mixes to reach perfumes “that sing the ecstasy of the soul and senses” as Baudelaire said.

We meant to create essences starting from personalities and characters. In this sense, I think our collection must be understood as a whole set but according to his sensitivity, each and everyone will find its own product-hero.

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The collection is genderless: how did you operate this fusion?

As I said earlier, our starting point for the creation of each perfume was the personality. Our perfumes carry a non-verbal communication that delivers instantly the message of your personality. The family of our first collection is made up of the proud and fiery woman (Mulâtresse), the elegant and distinguished man (Aryballe), the sparkling and serene woman (Jolanta), and the happy and free man (Sybaris).

Our collection was aiming at two fragrances for men and two for women. Once finished, to our greatest surprise, our perfumes Sybaris and Aryballe, initially designed for men, turned out to be unisex, because they happened to be amazingly worn by women. The perfumes still haven’t given all their secrets to the fusion of genders!aponie mulatresse parfum

Should perfume do a bit of politics? :) 

 

:D
The House of APONIE features the richness of interbreeding, the mix of cultures, and the teaching of happiness. If these values talks to you, then we’ll think about it in 2017 using as a programme the Perfumes as a model of unity.

You work with the craftsmen of Grasse ; is it something important to work with the French excellence stakeholders?

This French touch appeared as obvious, with the creation in Grasse, the cradle of perfumes, the manufacture in the Cosmetic Valley, expertise and competitiveness pole, and of course the elegance, the charm and et the character of Paris.

Perfumes and cosmetics are among the best ambassadors of France worldwide. We are proud to be French.

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What’s the value of Paris in fashion?

We had a pretty interesting debate this week. As Lilzeon was chasing some opinions about a British denim brand, we had a feedback from one of our friends (who happens to work in luxury) saying that this brand is like Province vs Paris.

It was obviously intended to tackle the obsolete image of this British brand with a sarcastic shortcut. To explain that basically, this brand is no longer “desirable”.

The thing is that opposing Paris and “countryside” is a bit random. Lyon, Marseille now have a pretty strong “touch”, overpassing Paris on some fields. Think about Simon Jacquemus for instance.

But still, what is at stake is this notion of desire. Of fantasy that Paris is supposedly owning worldwide. This “desiring” is more and more challenged; recently, this approach was challenged by a Parisian who’s highly followed at the moment, Caroline de Maigret, mentioning that being Parisian is to look always “fuckable. You already know what we think about it: we hate it.

Fashion is an ever-going competition. So let’s consider Paris as if we were football journalists.

For the defenders: Paris is highly photo-likeable. You just have to check Instagram hashtag to get it. You see people proud of living there, of being part of it. En être as we say in French. Paris, it’s only 2 million inhabitants vs 8 million in London. A concentration of hype, trendsetters, trend discoverers. And Paris launched many new brands: Pigalle, Kitsuné, Brooklyn “Parle Français”. REPRESENT. Thanks to the suburbs maybe? Lacoste had to digest for 10 years its new roots before organizing parties in a streetculture hub, Citadium, close to Les Grands Boulevards.

For the midfield players, Paris identity is shaking. Were we born Parisian? Or do we become Parisian. Then, are we so welcome in Paris? Not really. The city of lights is not famous for service nor bartenders. Not to mention underground passengers, sometimes perceived as crazy dogs full of whims. And when you see Châtelet Les Halles! Parisian hate the multicoloured youth, coming straight from suburbs. While all TV producers are arranging their casting and scouting there. Châtelet les Halles is the real centre of Paris. On its right, Le Marais, known for its gay-friendly places which also starts the Bobo-land. On its left, an emptiness from Concorde or Place Vendôme to Champs Elysées, hated by the “real” Parisian. And we won’t talk about North or South: for Parisian, the world is not up and down.

For the strikers – so to conquer the world – it’s a mess. To score would require that we know who we are. In an astonishing study led by Jean-Gilles Cahn, an economist for CCI Paris, the conclusions are very clear: Paris does not know how to handle its multiple facets:

“Today, Paris as a name does not constitute a brand (…) because it lacks a strategic management dimension”

 

Even worse: we’ve discovered that more than “10 000 brands or websites have “Paris” in their names or directly evoke Paris (monuments, neighbourhoods,famous streets…)”. A real dissolution of Paris essence in a bunch of vague brands.

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It’s strange, this so Parisian trend to be both very proud of being part of Paris and to be frustrated about it.

It would be time to reimagine Paris as a cultural hub for a worldwide youth.

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What’s so great about Instagram? An interview with Kristen Joy Watts, Community Team, Art and Fashion Lead at Instagram

Fashion Weeks used to be a closed network, with buyers and happy journalists. It Girls were fighting for the FROW. But with Social Media and more specifically Instagram, there’s a brand new playground in which new public and new communities gather. It’s not the Front Row that matters anymore, but the backstage, the making-of, the secret stories propagated and shaped by makers. An ongoing and perpetual reinvention of fashion, which goes beyond conventions and traditional rules. Instagram is our favourite social network (you can follow Vu Quan & lilzeon and his new project). It’s a goldmine to wander around others’ dreams and through people ideas.

Instagram, it’s the reality and the perception of this reality.

We had a chance to chitchat with Kristen Joy Watts, Community Team, Art and Fashion Lead at Instagram to share few ideas, crushes, vision about the network.

Let’s go, in, sta, gram.

Instagram has become one of the ‘places to be’ for fashion brands as well as for fashion enthusiasts. Is there a risk of creating a ‘snacking culture’ for brands that are more luxury oriented?

There is a lot of fashion storytelling on Instagram that is light and fun and fast. We also see really sophisticated, unforgettable storytelling from the fashion community, whether Landon Nordeman’s (@landonnordeman) Instagram-first fashion week coverage for The Cut:

#theCutPFW @rickowensonline Rehearsal #pfw for @thecut #eiffeltower #jaimeparis

A photo posted by Landon Nordeman (@landonnordeman) on

…or Richie Talboy (@okrichie) and Lucas Lefler’s (@lucas_lefler) #emptyrunway series for Vanity Fair. In France too there is a growing community of inspiring creatives on Instagram, from Carin Olsson (@parisinfourmonths) to Tiffany Cooper (@tiffanycooper_) to Simon Portes Jacquemus (@jacquemus). Fashion houses, publications and individuals all over the world look to them for inspiration.

"GRIS" #JACQUEMUS FIRST PRE/COLLECTION / @harleyweir @jamesvaleri @aninevanvelzen

A photo posted by SIMON PORTE JACQUEMUS (@jacquemus) on


We are noticing some emerging trends in the network à la Tumblr (such as pro-ANA movements that are creating support groups) and that you have started to recruit people in order to identify and share the community with the world. How do you identify creative community members ? Do you have dedicated tools and contacts with them?

The Community Team at Instagram was created to discover and elevate the most amazing people and storytelling on Instagram. Our small but mighty team has members in Tokyo, London, Moscow, São Paulo, San Francisco and, of course, New York, where I am based. We celebrate the community on Instagram from North Korea to Nebraska. My discovery process involves everything from research on Instagram to asking everyone I meet if there’s anyone they’ve discovered who I need to know about. I always find amazing people when I’m in Paris.

Success is hard to achieve and gaining numerous followers is a lot of work on Instagram. However, some companies such as Instabrand are created with a view to manage Instagram’s talents. What advice would you give to a talent that is starting on Instagram and wants to join the tribe of very followed accounts?

For us, Instagram is all about the fun of sharing your story and discovering amazing people to follow. Here are a few best practices for someone who’s just starting out. First, tell a consistent story. Second, follow some people you know, some people you don’t know and some people you just discovered (for example, I follow many people in fashion and art but I also follow a florist in Moscow and a lifestyle photographer who captures wonderful images of his two Newfoundland dogs. Finally, connect with other people. This can be through likes and comments or even through meeting in person for coffee or an InstaMeet. The InstaMeet phenomenon, whereby Instagrammers meet in a location to take pictures of scenes which inspire them, allows the community to come together and share their passions and creative processes in new, real relationships with others.

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