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Pharrell Williams Faces Criticism Over $1 Million Louis Vuitton Handbag 

The new Louis Vuitton Millionaire Speedy bag from creative director Pharrell Williams is made from crocodile leather, and has the hefty price-point of $1 million, garnering criticism over the excessive and ‘insensitive’ focus on luxury goods.

balenciaga

Kim Kardashian Outraged Over Balenciaga Ads Featuring Children Holding Bondage Bears

Kim Kardashian put pressure on fashion brand Balenciaga to take action over their latest controversial ad campaign, which featured children holding teddy bear handbags dressed in what appeared to be bondage gear.

Another campaign for a black and white purse that retails at $3,000 sparked controversy when it was revealed that the photographs purporting to be of a “business environment” included genuine legal documents from a court case about child pornography scattered on a desk.

After receiving tremendous backlash, the high-end fashion label swiftly deleted the offending marketing photos and issued an apology on Instagram. Many people felt it fell short of taking proper accountability. As a well-known face of the brand, Kardashian received criticism for not responding to the controversy as soon as it broke. The brand continued to trend on Twitter for days amid calls for celebrities such as Kardashian, Bella Hadid, and Nicole Kidman to sever ties with the company. On Sunday, Kardashian issued a statement on Twitter addressing the campaigns.

“I have been quiet for the past few days, not because I haven’t been disgusted and outraged by the recent Balenciaga campaigns, but because I wanted an opportunity to speak to their team to understand for myself how this could have happened.”

She said she was “shaken by the disturbing images,” as a mother of four. Kardashian also added that “any attempts to normalize child abuse of any kind should have no place in our society—period.”

Kardashian acknowledged that the brand removed the campaigns and apologized and believes “they understand the seriousness of the issue and will take the necessary measures for this to never happen again.”

Talking about her future with the company, she said that she was currently re-evaluating her relationship with Balenciaga and will take into account “their willingness to accept accountability for something that should have never happened to begin with — & the actions I am expecting to see them take to protect children.”  

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After Kardashian’s tweets, Balenciaga reiterated its apology in an Instagram post but partially blamed external vendors for controversial elements of the campaign.

“The second, separate campaign for Spring 2023, which was meant to replicate a business office environment, included a photo with a page in the background from a Supreme Court ruling ‘United States v. Williams’ 2008 which confirms as illegal and not protected by freedom of speech the promotion of child pornography. All the items included in this shooting were provided by third parties that confirmed in writing that these props were fake office documents. They turned out to be real legal papers most likely coming from the filming of a television drama. The inclusion of these unapproved documents was the result of reckless negligence for which Balenciaga has filed a complaint. We take full accountability for our lack of oversight and control of the documents in the background and we could have done things differently.”

A few days prior, Balenciaga filed a lawsuit against North Six and Nicholas des Jardins, the production company and set designer of the Spring 2023 campaign. Balenciaga’s suit stated that the production company’s “inexplicable acts and omissions [were] malevolent or, at the very least, extraordinarily reckless.” They were also done without the brand’s knowledge. Balenciaga says it will seek $25 million in damages or more for the “false association” between Balenciaga and the “repulsive and deeply disturbing subject of the court decision.”

As for the first campaign, the brand said Balenciaga “made the wrong choice” in featuring children.

“The first campaign, the Gift Collection campaign, featured children with plush bear bags dressed in what some have labeled BDSM-inspired outfits. Our Plush Bear bags and the Gift Collection should not have been featured with children. This was a wrong choice by Balenciaga, combined with our failure in assessing and validating images. The responsibility for this lies with Balenciaga alone.”

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The fashion house also listed actions it would take due to what it called “a series of grievous errors.”

“While internal and external investigations are ongoing, we are taking the following actions:

– We are closely revising our organization and collective ways of working

– We are reinforcing the structures around our creative processes and validation steps. We want to ensure that new controls mark a pivot and will prevent this from happening again.

– We are laying the groundwork with organizations who specialize in child protection and aims at ending child abuse and exploitation.”

The agent for North Six and Nicholas des Jardins, Gabriela Moussaieff, told the Washington Post that his client was “being used as a scapegoat,” and that “everyone from Balenciaga was on the shoot and was present on every shot and worked on the edit of every image in post production.” 

Gabriele Galimberti, the photographer who shot the brand’s campaign, took to Instagram to address the “hundreds of hate mails and messages” he received as a result of the photos he took.

“I am not in a position to comment Balenciaga’s choices, but I must stress that I was not entitled in whatsoever manner to neither chose the products, nor the models, nor the combination of the same. As a photographer, I was only and solely requested to lit the given scene, and take the shots according to my signature style. As usual for a commercial shooting, the direction of the campaign and the choice of the objects displayed are not in the hands of the photographer.”

Galimberti went on to say that he suspects that “any person prone to pedophilia searches on the web and has unfortunately a too easy access to images completely different than mine, absolutely explicit in their awful content.”

“Accusations like these are addressed against wrong targets, and distract from the real problem, and criminals.”

In response to the photo containing the Supreme Court case papers, Galimberti said it was taken on another set by other people and “was falsely associated” with his photos.

The brand has been at the center of several controversies, with the latest surrounding rapper Ye, who was formerly known as Kanye West. Last month Ye, who has collaborated with the brand throughout the years, made antisemitic remarks, causing the brand to cut ties with the musician. 

Los Angeles Mansion Named ‘The One’ Could Become The Most Expensive Home Sold In The US At $295 Million 

The One is a mansion in Bel-Air that was once valued at $500 million. Now, the megamansion is being sold for $295 million and will be available on the open market until it’s auctioned off from February 28th to March 3rd. Concierge Auctions is the online auction marketplace responsible for the listing. 

The home will be sold without reserve, which essentially means the highest bidder gets the house. Even if it sells close to the listing price, it will likely break US real estate records. Currently billionaire Ken Griffin’s $238 million New York penthouse holds the record as the most expensive US home ever sold when it was purchased back in 2019.  

The One took more than 10 years to build and bring to life. Nile Niami developed the property, however, after his development company, Crestlloyd, filed for bankruptcy last year, the home has been redirected to auction as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. The home still has about 12 months of work left, meaning the buyer will have to put down around $340,000 as a deposit. 

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Aaron Kirman of Compass and Branden and Rayni Williams of The Beverly Hills Estates are partnering with Concierge Auctions to market the home:

“As the real estate community knows, there are a very limited number of $300 million homes and it often takes one to five years to sell ultra high-end mega mansions. An auction is the best way to sell the home in a specific period of time. The team is open to receiving offers prior to the auction, based on price and terms. It is highly probable that the auction will happen in order for buyers to compete to own the world’s ultimate estate,” Kirman explained

The One is one of the largest homes ever built. It’s twice the size of the White House at 105,000 square feet on a property of over 3.8 acres. Outside of the property there;s a moat of water covering three sides of the home, five pools, a 10,000 square foot deck, and a 400-foot outdoor running track. 

“What we have learned from the pandemic is that a home is one of the most important aspects of life. The property provides an extravagant life, where one doesn’t need to leave their home.”

“It has everything one can imagine, including five swimming pools; a wellness center with a juice bar; large salon and spa; game rooms; bars; bowling alley; a full-size theater; golf simulator;  rooftop; cigar lounge;  a charity pavilion or special event space; and numerous other astonishing amenities,” Kirman says. 

The home has 21 bedrooms, 42 full bathrooms, and seven half bathrooms. Within the home there is artwork that has been custom curated from artists Mark Fields, Stephen Wilson, and Simoe Cenedese. 

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“The One earns its moniker because a home of this size and magnitude simply can never be built again due to anti-mansionization laws that were passed in Los Angeles during The One’s construction. To have 3.8 acres at the top of Bel-Air with unobstructed 360-degree views from every single room is unparalleled,” says co-listing agent Branden Williams. 

The home also includes a putting green, 10,000 bottle wine cellar, tennis court, and night club. 

“The private gala event space with 360-degree views of the city and floating pod seating was an important vision to realize for the developer. He envisioned a home that would be the buyer’s own private resort and have the ability to host the world’s top philanthropists for charity events without ever leaving your estate. It’s obvious why the home holds value, but in a time when metaverse real estate is in the conversation, there’s something to be said about the importance of physical property,” Williams says. 

“These virtual assets have a value based on how much a consumer is willing to pay backed by a specific commodity, typically money, gold, property, etc.,” Kirman says. 

“Real property is an indefinite necessity with proven market values over time, so buying one of the most unique properties ever built in Los Angeles is an investment that cannot be quantified and will be worth it. Comfort is an invaluable resource, so purchasing a property with virtually every amenity available is impossible to quantify since it has never been done before. Supply and demand helps determine something’s value and this is one of one. The supply couldn’t be more limited.”

The home is expected to sell without reserve by March 3rd.

NYC’s West Village Now Has A 100,000-Square-Foot Amenity Space Of Luxury

New York Architect David Rockwell recently completed this project that’s located under the five-acre luxury development known as Waterline Square. The space itself is described as a 100,000-square-foot amenity level in New York’s Upper West Side that has attractions such as indoor gardening, a boxing gym, and a half-pipe skate park. 

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Purchases Blue Box Jeweler Tiffany for $16.2 Billion

In a move Holly Golightly may or may not approve of, Tiffany & Co has been sold off to Louis Vuitton for over $16 billion, ending nearly 200 years of independence for the luxury jewelry company.

The owner of the biggest luxury goods company in the world – an accolade gained following the 1987 merger with Moët Hennessy thus creating LVMH – billionaire Bernard Arnault claimed Tiffany has an ‘unparalleled heritage’ and would be a perfect match alongside his companies and brands, therefore giving him a larger grasp on one of America’s fast growing markets.

An icon of New York, Tiffany’s flagship store is based on 5th Avenue, New York City and became a household name thanks to the Audrey Hepburn movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961, leading to thousands of movie fans heading to the store to buy their pieces of jewelry.

And with over 14,000 people employed in the store that was founded in 1837, they now have around 300 stores worldwide.

Following Mr Arnault’s purchase of Bulgari for $5.2 billion in 2011, he has been looking at buying Tiffany to increase his company’s portfolio stating ‘we have an immense respect and admiration for Tiffany and intend to develop this jewel with the same dedication and commitment that we have applied to each and every one of our Maisons [brand houses].’

The acquisition of Tiffany has increased LVMH’s holding to 75 brands including Christian Dior, Dom Perignon, Kenzo and Tag Heuer. LVMH now operates over 4,590 stores with around 156,000 employees.

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LVMH first put a bid in of $14.5 billion for Tiffany in October however this was declined as it was felt the offer was to low for the brand. The agreed figure now puts shares in Tiffany at $135.

Roger Farah, Chairman of Tiffany confirmed the board had agreed the deal claiming it ‘provides an exciting path forward with a group that appreciates and will invest in Tiffany’s unique assets and strong human capital’.

The all-cash deal appears to be a great opportunity for fans of the Tiffany brand. Unlike companies who remove the heart of the brand when taking over, LVMH are renown for building on what is already there.

It has already been suggested that the move will ensure Tiffany can maintain its position in the luxury market as well as restoring its exclusive status. LVMH will also be looking at extending the brand into China as well as the US, making sure the brand can improve on its already iconic name.

Currently there are 36 stores in mainland China and through star endorsements, alongside a promotion for a limited edition Tiffany key diamond pendant via WeChat – China’s most popular social media platform, Tiffany has grown to become the second favourite jeweler of choice – after Cartier – therefore allowing LVMH to increase their popularity.

Tiffany CEO Alessandro Bogliolo released a statement confirming the sale saying, ‘this transaction, which occurs at a time of internal transformation for our legendary brand, will provide further support, resources, and momentum for those priorities as we evolve toward becoming The Next Generation Luxury Jeweler.’

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Following a drop in sales, Tiffany had comeback with a campaign focusing on their more expensive items rather than the ‘entry-level gift items’ that had weakened the brand, resulting in some of its exclusive clientele choosing to shop elsewhere.

With the lower end items generally cast in silver the brand needed to refocus their attentions and launched its first engagement ring in over ten years – a stunning colorless square diamond – with the option of either an 18-karat gold band or a plain platinum.

At the time Mark J Erceg, Tiffany’s Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer confirmed ‘we plan to invest even more behind our high jewelry offerings and have plans to continue introducing even more gold with and without diamonds and diamond products’.

If LVMH’s history is anything to go by, Tiffany should see an increase in sales thanks to LVMH’s experience in refreshing ‘stale’ businesses, with Bulgari appreciating a massive increase in sales in the last 8 years.

The sale to LVMH will allow Tiffany the opportunity to increase their watch and jewelry sales significantly. Currently LVMH sales in these products – via their six specific brands – was a reported $4.45 billion in 2018, which was similar to Tiffany’s top line during the same period, implying that LVMH will double their sales by the move.

It is also important that LVMH is taking control of the supply chain, with the improvement of their sustainable sourcing a significant concern to their younger customers.

HSBC’s Global Co-Head of Consumer and Retail Research, Erwan Rambourg believes this could be essential to increasing the brand’s awareness, saying the company – and therefore the employees – will be ‘able to tell you what this is, whether it’s from this or that mine in this or that country. It’s a key competitive advantage.’

Real Estate Agent

How To Advertise Luxury Real Estate To Multiple Generations

Real estate agents are finding it harder and harder to reach an intended demographic with content that will engage them and make them want to buy, so they’re changing the way they do business.