It's innovative thinking, dynamic in their presentation and flexible in their response
Kate Bowman, Sunday Times Travel Magazine
This month's news from luxury briefing reveals some strong trading results, cautious optimism and a great deal of innovation. News from the fashion and luxury goods world seems to be all about men - new men only stores in New York from Hermes and Coach; Matthew Williamson's first menswear collection and a brand new menswear label, Percival which has just launched in London. Conde Nast has launched an iPhone app that allows readers to access the entire current issue of the US edition of GQ.
Jimmy Choo has just launched the 24:7 collection and has created its first ever range of this season's must have designer trainers. House of Holland showed great innovation at London Fashion week by creating a new Blackberry app allowing guests to buy pieces from the runway collections they had just seen. A new website achica.com is an interesting new website launched by one of the founders of the hugely successful Asos.com. Achica.com works on a members only basis and runs sales of luxury goods and famous brands three times a week. Each sale only lasts 48-72 hours.
Two new magazines to look out for are Glass Magazine - a new publication covering fashion, art, music and design with a focus on sustainable luxury; plus Gentlewoman, a new London based bi-annual publication examining personal style and culture from the team behind Fantastic Man. It will be available in the UK, US, France, Italy and Germany and will have an initial circulation of 72,000.
The December upturn in global airline passenger numbers (up 4.5% on December 08) has boosted the performance of travel retail overall. The market is worth an estimated $37 billion worldwide with luxury goods and beauty accounting for about 35% and 31% respectively. Two brands - Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder saw a strong rebound of 32% and 24% in their 2009 Q4 travel retail sales.
The hotel sector continues to evolve at pace with the Soho House Group opening Berlin, West Hollywood and Beach Club Miami this year and an innovative collaboration between the Swatch Group and Jin Jiang Hotels who are creating the Swatch Art Peace Hotel from the legendary Peace Hotel Building in Shangai. The hotel will be exclusively for artists who will live, work and exhibit their work there. A Swatch Art boutique will sell Swatch Group brands including Breguet, Blancpain and Omega. India sees the reopening of the much anticipated Oberoi Mumbai in April plus the Park Hyderabad - a new flagship property from Park Hotels. The hotel and fashion worlds collide again with the introduction of a design competition from The Dorchester Collection offering the winning designer a £25,000 prize and the opportunity to hold an event in any of the Collection's properties. The competition, launched at London Fashion Week this year will move to a different global fashion centre each year. The Dorchester is also opening its new property, 45 Park Lane later this year. Beirut - the hot place for new hotels this year will see a Momo Souk open in June. Mandarin Oriental has announced plans to open an Abu Dhabi property in 2013.
In the spa world, two hotel brands have broken ranks and are opening spas outside their own properties - Aman Resorts and The Connaught in London have teamed up to launch the first Aman Spa outside an Aman property and Six Senses has launched its first Paris Spa.
For months there have been rumours of a forthcoming online paywall at the Times, as preparations for times.co.uk and sundaytimes.co.uk got underway. Today it was announced that both of the new sites will charge £1 per day or £2 per week for readers to access content, from June onwards. That is not much compared to the cost of a daily paper, but with so much quality English-language news content on the web for free, it will be interesting to see how many readers are willing to pay. This is not the first paywall in the world, but it is quite possibly the largest and The Sun and the News of the World are both planning to follow suit.
We hear on the SEO grapevine that there are talks at Google of introducing ‘real time indexing', if so, this is big news for the web, not to mention the world of online PR and social media.
If we feel frustrated by something should we abdicate, or articulate our frustration?
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