Happy Wednesday and welcome back to a new edition of The Spin. These days we seem to be obsessed with high heels. The bankrupted shoe brand Nine West is joining the ABG portfolio even while Christian Louboutin is celebrating European high court's judgement on his red soles patent. Men's loafers remain flat and luxurious, meanwhile, the British retailer, Harry's of London, is beginning its American expansion into New York. Finally, we will remark on the expectations of online shoppers who nevertheless, want to try before they buy. Enjoy the read, Caroline.


Under license. The American licensing company ABG (Authentic Brands Group) is paying $340 million for Nine West and Bandolino, the shoe and accessory brands who went bankrupt. Jamie Salter, chairman of ABG, thinks that the combined strength of the two brands will be useful to expand beyond footwear into apparel as well as helping to open new markets around the world. The well funded ABG earlier (paywall) acquired Nautica from VF Corp and is already the owner of both Aeropostale and Frederick's of Hollywood.


Red line. Christian Louboutin wins EU court battles over red soles. The French luxury shoemaker had been contesting Dutch high street chain Van Haren which wanted to sell its own shoes with red soles. The legal dispute in front of the top European court centered on the soul of Louboutin's trademark. Was it merely a color or just a shape that could not be registered as a trademark? The court sided with Maison Christian Louboutin, admitting that the use of a color in a certain context can be considered proprietary.



Guess who's leaving? The #MeToo movement has cost Paul Marciano his job. The investigation into alleged misconduct against the Guess chairman has ended up with Paul Marciano leaving his creative post. He will be obliged to pay out $500 000 in settlement agreements to 5 individuals. Paul Marciano will retain a seat on the board while his brother Maurice has been named chairman of Guess.

From Nike to Reebok. Karen Reuther joins Reebok as its Global Creative Director. She brings more than 25 years of experience. The Purdue University alumnus spent (paywall; in German) 12 years at Nike devoloping innovative performance products. More recently she was a team member at Cast Collective, a group of consultants focused on design and technological innovation. She did some research for Puma, Vans, Timberland, TJX... Reebok, part of Adidas, expects her to give the brand a sportive and chic sensibility.


Picture perfect. Online shoppers still expect (paywall) to try apparel before they buy. According to timthe Swedish bank Klarna, 74% of customers hesitate to buy online if they don't have the ability to try it on before paying and 71% choose the retailer offering that option over one that doesn't. To seduce them, several retailers have come up with innovative solutions. Rebecca Minkoff for example, has an app that overlays the photo of the customer with the garment selected.


Ultra fast. British online ultra fast fashion retailer Boohoo is winning the race in a brutal retail market: its revenue rose by 53% to £183,6 million in the 3 months preceding May 31. Its own brands clothing, shoes and accessories, budget friendly and renewed very often, resonate favorably with its core market of 16 to 30 year old consumers. The multibrand approach complemented by overseas growth has paid off. Its direct competitor ASOS follows the same formula: sales for the last 6 months are up 27%.

Ultra chic. Harry's of London has just opened its first American flagship in New York, at the corner of 57th street and Park Avenue. The luxury British shoes are presented in a store that mimicks historic gentlemen's clubs in London. The company was acquired last year by the New York real estate mogul Charles Cohen. The new owner wants to expand in America, Asia and the Middle East. Harry's of London has already a presence in Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. More openings are planned in Europe.


Ultra fluid. The South Korean brand Blindness made its international debut at London's fashion week: men's spring summer 2019. The designers Shin Kyu Yong and Ji Sung already nominated for last year's LVMH prize wanted to showcase a gender neutral collection that breaks all stereotypes. They used tulle embellishments, pearl accessories and Victorian imagery. A gender fluid aesthetic is quietly developing into a trend for well known brands such as Zara and H&M and for emerging talents.


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