💎Brilliant Cut No. 14:

Chanel's Couture HQ, Lagerfeld NFT, Balenciaga in Fortnite, IWC Big Pilot Exhibition, Gucci Lifestyle, Young Luxury Consumers, Wine Beats Hermés Handbags, China's Resilient Luxury Market, and More

Welcome to this edition of Brilliant Cut, a free monthly newsletter that helps you smartly navigate the most important luxury marketing stories and insights.

Issue #14 | October 1, 2021

The world’s top 50 luxury brands lost $7.6 billion in value this year

(Robb Report) According to a new report published by Brand Finance, the world’s top 50 luxury and premium brands have lost a collective $7.6 billion in value in the past year amid Covid-19’s economic fallout. Read more

Behind the curtain of Chanel’s huge couture headquarters

(WSJ) Rumors of haute couture’s death have swirled since the rise of machine-made clothing turned fashion into an engine of profit about 200 years ago. Nevertheless, the art of entirely handmade, often one-of-a-kind design has persisted, sustained by privileged clients who want pieces no one else can have. More recently, haute couture has relied on the business acumen and deep pockets of one couturier in particular: Chanel. Read more

Why scale matters in luxury goods

(WWD via Yahoo) The world’s largest luxury brand by revenue continues to grow at a brisk clip, and is now five times the size it was in 2004, according to market sources. Suffice to say that scale matters in the fashion and luxury sector now more than ever, say analysts and academics. Read more

Inside LVMH’s new Paris hotel

(Vogue Business) The world’s largest luxury conglomerate opens its new Cheval Blanc hotel in Paris on 7 September, with a rota of LVMH-owned brands inside. Read more

Inside the Hermès workshop that makes its iconic bags

(Vanity Fair) At the new Hermès workshop in Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, France, the Kelly serves as a training ground for freshly minted leather artisans. Read more

Lexus spins original song, music video inspired by vehicle experiences

(Marketing Dive) Lexus this week released an original song and music video inspired by the creative influence of its vehicles, according to a press release. The music is part of a larger, multichannel campaign called "Emotional Sparks." Read more

The latest Karl Lagerfeld figurine is an NFT

(WWD via Yahoo) Karl Lagerfeld’s imposing personal style — dark suits and sunglasses, set off by white shirts and a white ponytail — translates well into toylike figurines, including virtual ones. Read more

Mytheresa sales surge as it lures Americans

(Vogue Business) The luxury multi-brand digital platform, which has been profitable since day one, is attracting US consumers and new shoppers, after its New York listing in January. The business says it plans to launch an e-concession model with major brands. Read more

Stitch Fix wants to revolutionize e-commerce—by treating it like an old-school department store

(Fast Company) Stitch Fix is known for its curated boxes, but it’s rolling out a whole new shopping experience. Read more

Drest partners with Cartier and adds jewellery and watch mode

(Fashion United) Luxury styling game Drest is launching a new jewellery and watch mode alongside an exclusive partnership with Cartier, highlighting its Clash [Un]limited collection. Read more

Epic’s high-fashion collaboration with Balenciaga in Fortnite includes a hoodie for a walking dog

(The Verge) Epic Games is partnering with fashion house Balenciaga to bring the first-ever high-fashion Fortnite skins into the game. But the two companies aren’t just working on virtual clothes. They’re also partnering on an in-game Balenciaga-themed hub and a real-world clothing line that you’ll be able to buy. Read more

Five-star hotel accepts bitcoin and ethereum in bid to woo luxury ‘clients of the future’

(South China Morning Post) The move by the Chedi Andermatt in the Swiss Alps is an attempt to appeal to a new, younger and tech-savvy breed of wealthy tourist. Read more

Brad Pitt in De'Longhi coffee machine campaign

(Hollywood Reporter) Brad Pitt has a new gig. On top of being a brand ambassador for luxury suits and watches, the Oscar-winning actor stars in Italian coffee machine brand De’Longhi’s international campaign for its newest espresso maker, the Dinamica Plus. Read more

Ana de Armas 'loves life' in the Natural Diamond Council's new campaign

(L'Officiel) In line with the rise of sustainability in the jewelry space, the Natural Diamond Council has unveiled its sophomore "For Moments Like No Other" campaign starring actress Ana de Armas. The campaign, shot in Mallorca, Spain, encourages consumers to "Love Life," something the Deep Water star is intent on doing in this post-pandemic landscape. Read more

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts unveils new global brand campaign: “Experience The Grandest of Feelings”

(Hospitality Net) Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has debuted a new and unforgettable chapter in its storied 100-year plus history, Experience The Grandest of Feelings, a global brand campaign that pays tribute to the tangible echoes of the luxury brand’s historic origins while also imparting a refreshed vision and stirring images of adventures yet to come. Read more

IWC designed a roving exhibition to take its big pilot watch across the United States

(Robb Report) IWC Schaffhausen announced plans to travel the US with a brand-new interactive Big Pilot exhibition. The Swiss watchmaker’s first roadshow will stop in eight cities across the country, starting in Los Angeles and ending in New York. Housed in specially converted shipping containers, the exhibition will offer visitors a detailed look inside the watchmaker’s world, with a specific focus on its 182 years of history and the newest additions to its Big Pilot watch series. Read more

Gucci launches new Lifestyle collection

(Wallpaper) Post-pandemic, we’ve been looking to bring boundless exuberance into our lives, cavorting in print and kaleidoscopic colour, and bringing a new brightness to the metaphorical grey clouds that clustered in the wake of Covid-19. Luckily for us, Gucci is also in the mood for energetic maxmimalism, an aesthetic that aligns with the birthday celebrations of the Florentine fashion house, which marks its centenary this year. Read more

The four fashion personas of China’s Gen Z

(Vogue Business) Gen Z represents the future of luxury fashion and they’re already maturing fast in China. Here, we summarise key findings based on an exclusive survey of more than 8,000 Chinese consumers by Vogue Business in China. Read more

Gallery sales rebound with wealthy collectors splurging more

(Barron's Penta) After hard hits last year during the pandemic, art galleries are rebounding, according to a report by Art Basel and UBS based on surveys of 700 international dealers as well as high-net-worth collectors. Read more

Connecting to today’s young luxury consumer

(WWD via Yahoo) According to Boston Consulting Group, Gen Z and Millennials are set to represent more than 60 percent of the luxury market by 2025. And while these young consumers are more thoughtful and demanding than older generations, they’re also optimistic about the future. Read more

Wealthy see a role in investing to tackle climate change

(Barron's Penta) Most wealthy individuals, family offices, and foundations globally—whether they consider themselves “sustainable investors” or not—recognize that climate change must be addressed and believe their capital will play a key role, recent research by London-based Campden Wealth finds. Read more

Wine overtakes handbags as best-performing luxury investment asset

(Barron's Penta) Wine has overtaken Hermés handbags and rare whisky as the top performing luxury investment asset over the 12 months through June, according to the latest Knight Frank analysis. Read more

The rise of the he-economy: China’s next big market

(The Drum) If you think male Chinese consumers rank low on marketing priority lists, think again. The spending power of female Chinese consumers has often taken precedence, but all this is about to change. Read more

Art of the experimental: young Chinese jewellery designers to watch

(Financial Times) Jewellery designers such as Cindy Chao, Wallace Chan and Michelle Ong, with their artistry and depictions of nature, have become the pride of Asia, establishing a loyal following in China and the west. But hard on their heels is a new wave of young Chinese designers, notably Feng. J, Austy Lee and Gearry Suen, who are creating a stir in jewellery circles with their mix of innovative techniques, dynamic sense of colour, and traditional craftsmanship. Read more

China e-commerce to top $3.3 trillion in 2025

(WWD via Yahoo) China is already the world’s largest e-commerce market and it’s expected to get even bigger, reaching $3.3 trillion in 2025, GlobalData estimated. Read more

China’s luxury market is more resilient than you think

(Fortune) That China’s luxury market has bounced back after major destabilizing events points to the sector's resilience and suggests that fears of “common prosperity” hitting luxury spending may be overblown. Read more

What does China’s crackdown on celebrity culture mean for luxury?

(WWD via Yahoo) Luxury brands reliant on Chinese celebrities to help drive sales are grappling with a new reality as the government cracks down on high-profile individuals amid its growing belief that toxic celebrity culture is poisoning the minds of the country’s youth. Read more

Jing Daily’s weekly roundup of luxury social media campaigns in China:

📲 September 10, 2021 // September 17, 2021 // September 24, 2021 

Watch brands team up with the art world

(Barron's Penta) Watch brands frequently enlist the help of celebrities and star athletes to endorse their products, but a growing number have widened that lens to include contemporary artists and designers who transform watches into canvases that express their creative visions. Read more

Artist Daniel Ashram puts a futuristic spin on Tiffany's iconic blue box

(Elle Decor) When Tiffany & Co. asked New York–based artist and designer Daniel Arsham to rethink its iconic Tiffany Blue box, Arsham responded with his signature brand of cheek: a new hue called “Tiffany Green.” Read more

HODINKEE and Hermès introduce the ideal daily driver watch

(Hypebeast) Following the release of a collaborative Slim d’Hermès dress watch in 2018, watch connoisseurs HODINKEE and Parisian luxury house Hermès come together once again for a playful daily driver, putting a unique spin on the newly introduced Hermès H08. Read more

BMW i Vision Circular debuts as 100% recyclable electric car

(designboom) Imagined for the year 2040, the BMW i Vision Circular is a compact, all-electric vehicle that fuses sustainability and luxury. the principles of circular economy guides the design, made using 100% recycled materials and being powered by an equally as recyclable electric battery. this circularity even extends from the design of the 4 meter-long, four seater car to its development and manufacturing process." Read more

The next luxury: Fashion’s new focus on human rights

(Barron's Penta) As the industry plots its post-Covid comeback, top labels are putting a new emphasis on workers. Read more

What stood out in Farfetch’s first ESG report

(WWD via Yahoo) Global luxury retailer Farfetch released its inaugural ESG report amid growing investor awareness. The statement from Thomas Berry, director of sustainable business at Farfetch, set the scene: “The fashion industry faces significant challenges. Climate change, the acceleration of e-commerce, human rights and environmental standards within supply chains, and the need to increase the use of existing clothing while reducing waste are all key issues for us and the wider industry.” Read more

Rent the Runway estimates it has displaced the production of 1.3M new garments

(WWD via Yahoo) Renting clothes has a significant edge over buying new, according to a comprehensive, first-of-its-kind study by Rent the Runway. Undertaking the life cycle assessment study last year to understand the impact of its rental business, the study follows the cradle-to-grave environmental impact of renting versus buying new across 12 clothing categories (or about 85 percent of RTR’s total inventory). Cocktail dresses, skirts, sweaters and jeans were among the clothing examined. Read more

Produced and hosted by Scott Kerr, The Luxury Item is a podcast on the business of luxury. Check out the last three episodes and gain new insights on the luxury industry:

📱 Morin Oluwole, Global Head of Luxury at Facebook/Instagram, discusses today’s luxury shopper and new digital shopping platforms Apple / Spotify / YouTube

🖋️ Maria von Scheel-Plessen, Global Head of Media and Advertising at Montblanc talks about luxury’s digital transformation. Apple / Spotify / YouTube

👨🏻‍🍳 World renowned chef/restauranteur Daniel Boulud and Sebastien Silvestri, CEO of The Dinex Group discuss the future of fine dining. Apple / Spotify / YouTube


🚨 New podcast alert! 🚨

Facing the Giants launches this fall and it explores how luxury startups are challenging the Goliaths of the industry with innovative technology, new business models, and smart strategies. I will be interviewing luxury entrepreneurs about what's driving them and how their companies are pointing a new way forward to meet the changing demands of the luxury business and affluent consumers.

Listen to the trailer and subscribe here.


Mixed Gems: Featured writers on luxury, fashion, and culture

Is fashion really entering a ‘sustainability decade’?

Saisangeeth Daswani writes in the South China Morning Post as overconsumption and excessiveness become passé, modern luxury is ushering in a new era, celebrating the unlikely exclusivity of sustainable and responsible buying. Read it here

Investment-grade Rolex and Patek Philippe watches are bad news for the industry

WatchPro's Robin Swithinbank analyses the forces that are sucking the joy out of luxury watches. Read it here

How to position a luxury brand as sustainable

In the Harvard Business Review, Gwarlann de Kerviler, Elodie Gentina, and Nico Heuvinck believe with a growing demand for companies to produce products that meet high ESG standards, luxury goods companies need to find a way to present. Read it here


Thank you for reading this issue. - Scott

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