BIDDING SEASON: Chanel has won the bid for the concession of the 2,030-square-foot space in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, currently used by Tod’s, for an annual fee of 2.35 million euros.
The auction was held Monday in Milan, and beside the French luxury fashion house, drew in six additional luxury brands including Loro Piana, Samsonite, Damiani, Swarovski and John Richmond, that bid on the location.
With its final offer, Chanel has more than quadrupled the value of the space, which started at the base price of 545,000 euros.
The store is arranged over three floors: ground, basement and the entrance, which overlooks the gallery. It will open in the largest portion of the gallery housing Tod’s, whose contract is about to expire.
But Tod’s will not move far. The brand will open its new store just a couple of meters away, where the former suitcase brand Bric’s had a store, right in the center of Milan’s luxury shopping mall. Tod’s secured the property for 1.8 million euros payed annually, for a concession of 18 years.
This is not Chanel’s first store in Milan’s Galleria. There is already a boutique that carries fragrances and beauty products.
Emmanuel Conte, Milan’s councilor for heritage, stated that: “Today’s price increases confirm how new forms of heritage enhancement can bring benefits to the whole city. The Galleria remains a unique and sought-after place, capable of expressing a commercial promotion value that goes beyond profitability.” — ALICE MONORCHIO
CAST IN BRONZE: Daniel Arsham, the artist famed for transforming items like Walkman cassette players and Nike sneakers into “future relics,” is bringing his weathered aesthetic to that most personal device, the mobile phone.
Known for collaborations with brands including Adidas, Tiffany & Co. and Dior, the U.S. artist has teamed up with Chinese consumer electronics giant Xiaomi on the Xiaomi 12T Pro Daniel Arsham Edition, whose packaging and case recall his eroded bronze sculptures.
Launching on Dec. 16 in a limited edition of 2,000, priced at 899 euros, the phone will go on sale in Europe exclusively on highsnobiety.com and mi.com, in addition to a Berlin pop-up on Dec. 16 and 17.
The project marks Arsham’s first collaboration on a smartphone, and Xiaomi’s first artist partnership branching into the international market, as it steps up its challenge to Apple on the high-end segment of the smartphone market.
“The phone today is the most ubiquitous object that we engage with. I’m always interested in bringing my work into arenas that are not typical art-world scenarios. This seemed like an interesting project to bring this type of erosion into something that people would engage with daily,” Arsham told WWD.
Mindful of the built-in obsolescence of consumer goods, he approached the project like a sculpture with a lifespan beyond its use as a functional object.
“In 20 years, there will be people who have this phone who no longer use it as a phone. It will transition into a sculptural object linked to a particular moment in time. In that way its use is carried beyond the functionality,” the globe-trotting artist said via email.
Xiaomi said it was interested in engaging with Arsham’s time-bending approach. “This collaboration is not only a smartphone, but advanced technology used to actualize the artist’s design. We believe it will be an exciting product for people today, and remain an interesting and collectible piece for decades to come,” the company said in a statement.
Arsham’s design has been completely customized, from the packaging to the phone exterior and the user interface design.
“The packaging was probably the most challenging to actualize. There were two key parts — the surface of the outer box made of special gold foil paper, and a multiple three-dimensional embossing process used to give the surface the erosion feeling I wanted to achieve,” he explained.
“The packaging was made of paper with a magnetic structure, weighted to match a wood box. The inner packaging is made with a matt UV technology, fully customized with new design,” he added.
Advance images show the phone screen blissfully uncluttered by apps, though Arsham said he has more than 70 on his own device, with the camera being the most frequently used. While Xiaomi touted an “imaginary future of digital dematerialization,” Arsham isn’t certain that the phones of today will eventually appear as clunky as the brick phones of the 1980s.
“It is hard to say. For a while phones were getting smaller, but lately they have been getting bigger to accommodate more technology,” he remarked. — JOELLE DIDERICH
DOWN TO IT: Having made significant inroads swaying international designers and brands from using fur in their collections, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been focusing more on other uses of animal products in the fashion industry, such as down feathers.
A new PETA Asia investigation claims that some down supplied to a few major brands relied on facilities that allegedly killed ducks gruesomely. But a few companies are pushing back against those claims.
A PETA spokesperson said Monday that the Vietnamese supplier Vina Prauden, which has provided down feathers to Gap Inc., H&M, Uniqlo, Lacoste and other labels — sourced feathers from facilities that allegedly killed the ducks violently. Investigators working on behalf of the animal rights activists group reported that in some instances, the animals’ throats were slit and their feet were cut off while they were still conscious.
PETA alleged that the down from some of these facilities were later sold under the “Responsible Down Standard” certification. The organization contacted all of the retailers with the findings of the investigation Tuesday, and is urging them to remove down from their supply chains, a PETA spokesperson said.
But a few of the retailers are disputing the allegations altogether. Approached for comment, an H&M spokesperson said Tuesday, “We do not have a direct connection to the supplier in question. However, we take these allegations extremely seriously. Animal welfare is very important to us and no animals should be harmed in the production of our products. We have a clear ambition level on how we want to improve animal welfare in our supply chain and the textile industry. We also work actively to strengthen the way we source animal deriving materials so that we can ensure the welfare of animals.”
In addition to H&M, PETA named the Gap Inc., Uniqlo, Lacoste and Guess in its claims. A Gap spokesperson said, “I am confirming that this is not one of Gap Inc.’s suppliers.”
A Uniqlo spokeswoman reiterated the company’s commitment to the responsible procurement of raw materials. Although she did not address the allegations specifically, she said, “It is our firm belief that animals should be treated and bred according to ethical husbandry practices, aligning with the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare: freedom from hunger and thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom to express normal behavior, and freedom from fear and distress.”
The Uniqlo spokesperson added that in step with that, the retailer established its Animal Welfare Guidelines, to stipulate the rules and practices when sourcing animal-derived materials.
“With regards to down and feathers, we prohibit sourcing from farms that practice live plucking or force feeding. We continuously work to ensure that this is followed throughout our supply chain,” she said.
A spokesperson for Lacoste acknowledged a request for comment and was looking into the matter at press time. Executives at Guess did not respond immediately to a request for comment. — ROSEMARY FEITELBERG
NEW HAT: As part of its continued revamp, storied hatmaker Borsalino has named industry veteran Jacopo Politi its head of style, a newly created role within the company.
Politi quietly joined the Alessandria, Italy-based company last April, taking over the creative studio, previously helmed by Giacomo Santucci, brand curator and a member of Borsalino’s steering committee, who’s remaining with the company in the same role.
Politi has a track record in the industry as a hat designer and consultant for several luxury brands, including Chanel-owned milliner Maison Michel, where he most recently served as studio director. He also worked at Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, among others.
Politi’s first collection for Borsalino is to bow for the fall 2023 season, with the men’s collection to be unveiled at Pitti Uomo in January.
He is tasked with overseeing hat collections, as well as defining the creative input for soft accessories and small leather goods, two recently introduced categories for the brand.
“We are thrilled to welcome Jacopo Politi because of his knowledge of our world as well as an added competence and wealth of experience. A talented visionary, we entrust him with the maison’s evolution while simultaneously enhancing our heritage in a contemporary way,” said Borsalino managing director Mauro Baglietto.
Politi, who briefly worked at Borsalino between 2009 and 2012, told WWD that his aim is to add a “fashion vision to the brand, to tap into a younger audience, that is more trend-driven.”
“I would like for Borsalino to become not only the most prestigious hat in the world but also the most desirable, for its quality and craft and for its ability to reflect current trends,” the designer said, adding that his first collection will embed “unisex styles” in response to clients increasingly buying hats interchangeably.
Santucci said that Politi’s task at the storied brand will follow in the footsteps of his work over the past three years, geared at rejuvenating Borsalino’s image and turning it into a lifestyle brand.
This involved inking two licensing agreements for the production and global distribution of leather goods, handbags and soft accessories such as ties, scarves, gloves and foulards, as reported, as well as linking with edgy brands including Ami Paris.
These moves are in line with owner Haeres Equita’s business plan for the company, set in motion after it won in 2018 the auction set up by the label’s administrators through a deal valued at 6.4 million euros. The auction put an end to the troubled journey that started in December 2015 when Haeres Equita first took over the hatmaker. — MARTINO CARRERA
TEAMING UP: There’s a new team in Japanese baseball.
The Yomiuri Giants, Nike and digital sports platform Fanatics have formed a long-term global partnership that applies the licensed sports merchandise model that has been used with the National Football League and Major League Baseball to a professional team for the first time.
Under the terms of the deal, Nike will become the on-field supplier of the Giants, designing uniforms and player performance items for the Tokyo team.
Fanatics will manufacture and distribute that gear as well as Nike-branded fan jerseys and other looks, sold online and in stores. The company’s memorabilia unit will also create collectibles for fans.
The arrangement has Fanatics serving as master licensee for the Giants’ merchandise portfolio and exclusively operating the team’s e-commerce and physical retail businesses.
Fanatics plans to launch a new online store for the team in January and refurbish the stores at the Tokyo Dome for the start of the season next year.
“Since we began our journey in Asia five years ago, we focused on creating values for the fans with a strong belief that our global vertical business model would benefit them and work in this region,” said Masanori Kawana, Fanatics managing director in East Asia. “This innovative model, which has proven to be successful with some of the biggest U.S. professional leagues and universities, will be a complete game changer for the Asian sports industry and will benefit Yomiuri Giants fans with a larger selection of high-quality merchandise available wherever they are and whenever they want it.”
Tsukasa Imamura, representative director and president of the Giants, said: “By combining Fanatics’ fan-centric philosophy of ‘Everything exists for the fans’ with the history and tradition of Yomiuri Giants, celebrating 89 years since the team’s founding, we are confident that we can provide one of the best fan experiences in the world.” — EVAN CLARK