To anyone who observes the luxury industry even casually, it's fairly clear that while many brands talk a good game about innovation and risk-taking, a lot of it is just that, talk. Advertising and communication styles have become formulaic with brands relying largely on glossy images of famous people. It's all very pretty but rarely generates more than a blip on your radar.
Let's suppose for a moment that you've reached the pinnacle of your profession. You've amassed your professions's highest honours, earned the respect of your peers and achieved fame. In other words, you have nothing left to prove to anyone. What then?
As you may have heard, Pierrette Trichet, the affable cellar master at the House of Rémy Martin, has announced her plans to retire. The first (and only) woman to hold the prestigeous position of cellar master at one of France's top four cognac houses, she will be relinquishing her post to current deputy cellar master, Baptiste Loiseau.
I never thought I would see the day when Paris Vogue would resort to Google Translate to develop its web content. Either that or they've hired a remedial reading student to proof-read their online articles. How else to explain the gramatically-challenged sub-title "Clarins upgrade sa salade healthy en imaginant une association encore plus gourmande!"
British sparkling wine is having a moment. Climactic changes in the south of England over the past few decades coupled with naturally occurring chalky soils in areas like Kent and West Sussex have made the area particularly hospitable to the chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes traditionally used to make champagne. This in turn has spurred a renewed interest in domestic winemaking with a particular focus on sparkling wine.
I would like to believe that if, the French cognac executives who sign off on brand ambassadorships and sponsorship deals with rappers were to actually grasp the offensiveness of the average rap lyric, they would think twice about sealing those deals. In this vein, I have to believe that the French executives at Hennessy (LVMH) who signed off on the "Mixed Drinks MLK Jr. Would Be Proud Of" initiative didn't really grasp the significance of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. or the civil rights movement in American history.
I was invited to the opening of the beautifully renovated and much expanded Guerlain flagship store a few weeks ago. Ruinart flowed generously and the crowd was tremendously chic as one would expect but the real star of the evening was incontestably the historic location itself.
As you may have heard, the House of Guerlain (LVMH) has been hard at work rejuvenating its historic flagship boutique at 68, Champs-Elysees. Under the guidance of world-class architect Peter Marino, the iconic location has been expanded to include a restaurant (among other things), all the better to pamper the brand's elite clientele. On this momentous occasion for the brand, the House of Guerlain invites you to take a live virtual tour via Google+ Hangout tomorrow at 5:30 pm (Paris Time).
When we think of Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, we tend to think of either high level diplomacy or politics. Talleyrand however was also the consummate bon vivant and a firm believer in the power of fine food and wine as a way of enhancing his formidable negotiation skills. In fact, his estate outside Paris, the Château de Valencay, served as a frequent diplomatic gathering place where guests were treated to the cuisine of Marie-Antoine Carême, a father of French gastronomy. I was reminded recently of Talleyrand and the power of a good meal whilst attending Le Méridien's "Unlock Art" event during Frieze London.
The Luxe Chronicles is a collection of interviews, profiles and musings on various aspects of the luxury industry and occasionally, a rant on our celebrity obsessed culture and the dumbing down of our collective sense of style and esthetic.