Spring, Stripes, Sezane

I just received a massive order from the unmissable French brand, Sezane. The brand has been a real success story, and from abroad I’ve seen all my Parisian friends get converted one after the other. I tried to order from them a few times and could never really make it work… Until this summer! I really liked what they did for their summer collection and I thought I’d share some of my favourite pieces that I tried and styled.

That’s their EĢdouard Shirt and I loooove the style: it’s long enough to be tied around the waste, which makes it both masculine and feminine. The jeans are from Gap Low Rise True Skinny and the sneakers are my new favourites: Ball Star from Golden Goose that you’ll find here. I love the look of the GG Superstar but they don’t fit my that well, I find the heel comes off and I’m in between two sizes. These work and add a very relaxed style to any outfit (including dresses) with their green sparkles in the back. The sunglasses are from Jimmy Fairly, they’re called Madison, and this is the blue model.

Nights on the town

Some evenings are meant for dressing up and putting some lipstick on. This week-end I got to see the new Annabel’s Club in Mayfair and it did not disappoint! I love what they did with the decor, luxury is in every detail, including the lavish bathroom where I didn’t miss the opportunity to powder my nose šŸ™‚

I’m wearing a cream blazer from Massimo Dutti (still available on line here Double Breasted Blazer) over a flowery dress from Sezane which is quickly turning into a summer essential: it’s so versatile! You can get it here: Aliette Dress

The place has a no-photo policy therefore I’ll stop here but if you have a chance to go and see it you absolutely should!

Xo

Coco

Give customers the tools to do their own marketing, and they will do yours

Every trendy person with a smartphone is turning into a reporter. We are scouting the world for interesting content to make us look good, fun and interesting on social media. Brands need to understand this trend and hand that content to customers on a silver platter. Do that and they will use it.

Chanel launched her Coco collection in London, and I was invited by a friend to go to the store on Bond street, get a manicure and then discover the collection. The best part to me was that they had set up a photo booth, where you could wear the jewellery along with other of accessories such as hats and clutches and take pictures that would be sent digitally to you later (great database acquisition tool). The concept was great, got me excited, and made me feel exclusive. But the execution fell flat. The photo booth was automated: you could only take four, with a few seconds in between to swap accessories, which made me feel rushed. The quality of the picture was very low, which did not fit with the Chanel image, and it only arrived in my mailbox a few days later. As a result, my pictures were not flattering, arrived too late, and I did not post them on social media.

When youā€™ve gone that far to create a memorable experience, how much more is it to your budget to hire a professional photographer to get the execution perfect?

When it comes to creating experiences, nothing can go wrong. The low bar is to create a space for customers to play with. To raise the bar, hire a professional photographer and get them to make the customer feel special. The key is to have a lovely background where customers can make themselves look good while playing with your products. It needs to be visual, engaging, playful and sophisticated. It needs to be differentiated, easy to photograph, and not too awkward to play with. Iā€™ve selected a few great examples below:

Give the tools to your customer to do their own marketing, and they will do yours.

Some illustrations:

ChanelcococrushAlthough Chanel set-up the photobooth specifically for social media purposes, the execution feel flat: IĀ did not like my shoot and never posted it.

Instragrammablespaces3This is from a perfume store in Paris called Nose, they set up this really cornerĀ for customer to play with their products. Lovely set for a shoot!

Instagrammablespaces2
Bicester Village partnered with Nikki Tibbles to create instagrammable spots for guests to createĀ and photograph memories.

Differentiated Uniforms: the paradox between the need to customise and the need to blend-in.

Everybody talks about differentiation these days: customisation, monogramming, stickers, bag straps – brands are thinking long and hard about how to give customers the tools to play with their products.

Sezane Bag Monogram

Fendi Bag StrapBut what I find fascinating is the contrast with the need to blend-in. Sneakers make a compelling example: last year, everybody was buying Stan Smith again. Unisex, comfortable, vintage, white, they had everything to please. The only area you could play with was the hint of colour: Iā€™m sure you thought long and hard about the colour you picked and how it would fit with your favourite pair of jeans.

Screenshot 2017-04-20 23.09.17This year, from what I see when I look at your feet in the street and on social media, Vans are winning the come-back game. And this time, not much to play with.

Screenshot 2017-04-20 23.17.14Photocred: instagram @sorayabakhtiar

We all follow the trend with docility and give those forgotten brands a lovely bump to their bottom line, allowing them to have a second life just before falling back into oblivion next year. We buy them to blend-into the trend. In an era that seems to be catering to the individual taste, I have never seen that many similarly dressed fashionistas. We all seem to be wearing the same thing. So, has anything really changed since our High School years?

Sezane MadwellMy take on it is that the world is a scary place right now, and while we want to express our personality, there is only so much risk fashionistas are willing to take. We are happy to play around with stickers, but we needĀ a controlled framework for us to play within. We are asking brands to give us the canvas, the brushes and the model before we can create our own version of the masterpiece.

We want to create Differentiated Uniforms.

img_3986.jpgI see a very interesting opportunity for brands: while they need to give their customers options to personalise, the object of personalisation needs to be mainstream and controlled. The it-bag is not dead, itā€™s just transferring the creativity from the designer to the customer, giving more space for the customer and less place to the designer. We all want the same bag, but we want it monogrammed and with our own key chain dangling. It needs to say: I master the trends but I also have taste and personality. Ā I am developingĀ my own version of your vision.

It needs to say: I am a designer. Just like you.

IMG_3717Bag from Coach, Stickers from Anya Hyndmarch, Sneakers from Vans, Scarf from Bimba y Lola.

Thoughts?

Coco, reporting from the front.

Red in Camden

I discovered Camden Market on a cold Sunday, with my aunt and uncle in town. Friends and family visiting always creates the best occasion to play tourists! The red booth was no exception to the rule…

  • Coat from Zara
  • Furry scarf from NPeal
  • Gloves from NPeal
  • Bag from Saint Laurent
  • Sunglasses from Jimmy Fairly

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