Monday, January 23, 2012

Richemont’s Shanghai Tang celebrates the year of the Dragon with Imperial style

The current trend for luxury fashion brands comes down to two words; consolidation and China.

Outside of a handful of exceptions, most major luxury brands seem to have been purchased by either the LVMH group, or PPR. So it comes as no surprise that a few years ago Shanghai Tang was purchased too but not by either of these powerhouses.

Compagnie Financière Richemont or as it’s known: Richemont is the parent company of such names as Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Dunhill, and approximately 20 other brands. With an emphasis on European businesses they do not appear in the US press as often as the two, but it they are indeed growing. They have even managed to tap into one of Ralph Lauren’s new brands - fine watches & jewelry found at .

Back to Shanhai Tang. In preparation for the Year of the Dragon they expanded their offering of mythical beasts on everything imaginable. Here are some of my favorites.

The Imperial Table Collection is a dining collection drawing its inspiration from the grandeur of Chinese Emperors' dining traditions and it features the Dragon, emblem of the Emperor and most auspicious symbol of great power, and perfect celebration of the Chinese New Year of the Dragon.

Dragon bowl and spoon set
Dragon chopsticks with rests (set of 2)

Dragon Champagne Bucket
Silver plated handles add an elegant finish to this Dragon Champagne bucket and brings you the taste of luxury. Made of brass with silver plate.

Photos courtesy of the company's website

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

From Studio Andrée Putman - spectacular lighting collection for Lalique


“To not dare is to have already lost. We should seek out ambitious, even unrealistic projects, because things only happen when we dream.”
Andrée Putman

This quote could not be more appropriate for the new ‘Orgue’ lighting collection from Studio Andrée Putman for Lalique. Andrée's daughter Olivia will be assuming control over the company. Olivia Putman says, “I wanted this collection to be very contemporary utilizing a different approach of LALIQUE’s know-how: associated with the new possibilities that LED offers, the crystal of these chandeliers produce the effect of a rain shower of light.”

In October the collection was featured at the showroom of Cerruti Baleri in Milan. Video highlights link below.

If you plan on attending the Maison & Objet the Paris trade show for the gift and home market (starting January 20th), Lalique will be located in Scènes d’Intérieur section

Hall no. 7, Sections F51 - G52

images courtesy of Studio Andrée Putman

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

New from Violette Editions – two exhibition catalogs featuring Lucian Freud and Louise Bourgeois

These two late-great artists are both celebrated and highly respected in their unique genres of art and were perhaps equally complex personalities. Each season Violette Editions features a small but quite special selection of new titles. With the exception of limited editions the books are distributed in the US exclusively through D.A.P. Publishing.

Lucian Freud Drawings- Essays by William Feaver and Mark Rosenthal
Published by Blain|Southern and Acquavella Galleries
256 pgs / 100 color
U.S. $55.00

Lucian Freud (1922-2011) was indeed a grandson of the Freud - famous psychiatrist and founder of modern psychology. Lucian began his painting career in the surrealist realm and is widely considered the pre-eminent British artist of his time. His works are noted for their often discomforting examination of the relationship between artist and model.

This publication coincides with a show at Acquavella Galleries / New York that opens in April.

Louise Bourgeois: The Return of the Repressed
Psychoanalytic Writings
Edited by Philip Larratt-Smith
500 pgs / 113 color
U.S. $75.00

Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) is known for inventing a new kind of language for sculpture. She has written extensively about her life and depicted many significant traumatic moments involving sex, family, and perhaps too many anxieties to count.

This definitive two-volume set comprises Louise Bourgeois’ previously unpublished psychoanalytic writings and a complete overview that includes works made up to the artist’s death in 2010. How appropriate that the Freud Museum in London would host this exhibition opening in April.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pushing the limits with fashion as fine art – 2012 schedule of fashion exhibitions

Back in 2007 The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles ( MOCA ) hosted an unusual show: © MURAKAMI, a retrospective of Takashi Murakami's career. A very significant chapter in his career was the work his studio produced for Louis Vuitton.

The opening party for the MOCA show attracted huge crowds. From a commercial standpoint – this exhibition created a tidal wave of controversy over having a fully functional LV retail boutique right in the middle of the art exhibition. Here crowds of women rushed to pay more than $1,000 for the ltd. edition fashion accessories. Many would wait for an hour as the ‘boutique’ was full to capacity. Later there were reports that some of the printed leather hides framed as art were not so limited after all.

It took other art museums a few years to realize this business model. However the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s McQueen blockbuster exhibition ‘SAVAGE BEAUTY’ reinforced the lure of fashion in art museums and the revenues that followed.

As we look to 2012- will any museum stores dare to be as bold as LV and MOCA? Time will tell.

The pressure will be on the MET Museum’s Costume Institute to comp. McQueen with the PRADA show opening in May. How interesting that Amazon is the corporate sponsor for the exhibition. One can already see the digital frenzy of marketing and mobile commerce opportunities. The exhibition catalog is already available to pre-order on but the current pub. date of May 29th has it arriving a few weeks late.

So, anyone planning to attend the NY Stationery show (starting May 20th) should allow time to shop/see the show - and the related retail merchandise. Meanwhile, please note the calendar below for the 2012 schedule of major fashion exhibitions.

“IMPACT: 50 Years of the CFDA”
The Museum at FIT, New York
February 10 – April 17, 2012

“Yves Saint Laurent — The Retrospective”
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
Opens March 25

“Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs,” a retrospective of Jacobs’ work at LV
Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris
March 9 to September 16

“Christian Louboutin,” a retrospective of the designer
Design Museum, London
March 28

Diana Vreeland
Fortuny Museum, Venice, Italy
March 2012

“Fifty Years of James Bond Style” with pieces from Giorgio Armani, Prada, Oscar de la Renta and other designers
The Barbican, London
April 2012

“Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: On Fashion”
The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
May 10 – August 19

“Ballgowns: British Glamour Since 1950″
Victoria and Albert Museum, London
May 19, 2012 – January 26, 2013

Also planning to stage retrospective exhibitions next year are Balmain and Chloé , though no further details are known just yet.

Schiaparelli’s trompe l’oeil Tear Dress & Miuccia Prada’s shoe-and-sock boots from the 2011/12 Winter collection.