Archive for June, 2011

June 23, 2011

John Galliano Trial Report

John Galliano trial was held yesterday, June 22 in Paris. Following the incident in the Paris café on February 28, 2011 after which flamboyant designer has been arrested he was accused for anti-Semitism and racism. John was also fired by house of Dior the next day after the arrest. To date, John Galliano scandal is the loudest in the history of fashion.

First reports regarding the pace of the trial has appeared in press.

John appeared in court with the team of his lawyers and an interpreter. It was reported that he was dressed in rather reserved outfit if compared to his usual wear, however one could still say this was a man of fashion and art by his tie over the bare skin and long hair.

All witnesses spoke out in details describing Galliano behaviour and singling out offensive words he said under the influence of alcohol. What exactly he said, please read and watch here.

Galliano was given time to speak out his testimony. To our biggest surprise, all his testimony was directed towards turning jury into pity. He talked about his story with alcohol that began in 2007 and turned into addiction after tragic death of his best friend Steven Robinson. He testified that he is battling a “triple addition” to alcohol, Valium and sleeping pills. After a decade of his Dior tenure Galliano faced an immense pressure from corporation to not only produce several collections a year for both Dior and John Galliano label, but also promote it actively in the wake of financial crisis. In fact the pressure was so high that following his father death in 2005 he had to go back to work straight from the crematorium. His scandalistic behaviour in public places was not rare and knowing that he is famous, basically iconic figure, he was often provoked to say things he didn’t really mean. It is an undeniable fact that his love of Hitler came out in such public encounters with strangers several times. There are testimonies from direct plaintiffs and there is a video confirming the fact.

His lawyer Aurélien Hamelle argued that the video should be left out as evidence as Galliano spoke quietly and it should not be considered “public” speech.

The biggest surprise in all this trial is the lawyer team took defensive approach. Galliano has never apologized and now when lawyers are arguing against the video it is clear that apology will not come during the trial. If only Galliano would do what other celebrities did in similar cases, the whole trial would not be as public. If convicted all he will be facing is maximum $30,000 fine and six months in prison. Prison term is unlikely.

In a course of this defensive approach Galliano lost his job at Dior, was cut from the creative team of his own John Galliano label, faced the most negative press coverage by all national publications and even fashion press. All of this could have been minimized by a simple, public apology. Is it a matter of principle or a matter of a few thousand dollar fine? Is it worth a career?

The verdict is to be decided by September 8, 2011.

 

 

 

June 22, 2011

A Real Cost of Canada Post Strike

Canada Post, a Crown Corporation has been on strike for over 2 weeks. First rumors about possibility of strike appeared last year. Situation heated up by May of this year and on June 2, 2011 strikes began starting from Windsor, London and by mid last week, entire union was on strike.

While there is a lot of speculation on the fact that mail is declining business and no one needs flyers any more, national postal service is a basic necessity.

  • Many people felt the real inconvenience when their pay checks didn’t arrive in the mail putting their mortgage payments at risk or incurring interest for overdue bills.
  • Businesses suffered the most. Much buzzed story about bumble bee queens that were stuck at the warehouse facing imminent death.  Many other animals were stranded in dark rooms without food or water and limited air. Large shipments of live fish were delayed – both exotic and feeder fish that is used to feed another aquarium fish, leaving some again, with no food.
  • Online retailers were forced to look for alternative ways to deliver mail that in many cases are more expensive, thus losing revenues.
  • Lost sales tax due to lost retail opportunities would add up to the list of overall losses.
  • Some business, such as honey production may even need to lay off their own workers as they now are facing production deficit.

In our own calculation the real cost of the Canada Post strike is close $1 billion not including the losses of the Crown corporation.
According to Globe and Mail, Canada Post corporation alone lost close to $100 million in revenues due to cancelled contracts. I am sure that class action law suits to follow from businesses around the country.

While public opinion divide and some people support the strike idea citing to the fight for the general standard of living, others disagree referring to the fact that a country with true capitalistic system has no place for unions. Obviously in Canada human rights law is one of the most extensive in the world. There are laws protecting workforce from abuse, mis-pay and setting one of the highest in the world standard of working conditions. Minimum wage in Ontario is $10.25 per hour.

According to Toronto Star, the government had threatened back to work legislation if strike continues. The legislation assumes penalties for the union including up to $50,000 a day for union or company official, and up to $100,000 a day for the company or union. Individuals could face up to $1,000 a day. Whether the legislation would be effective we shall see, until now UPS is our only option.

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June 21, 2011

Donatella Versace to Design a Collection for H&M

H&M lovers have been waiting for this moment way too long. And here it comes: H&M announced today a collaboration with the house of Versace.

H&M is a trendy Swedish company that caters to young people. Label made a name retailing low priced, high quality and trendy fashion. Currently 2200 stores worldwide offer a huge selection of clothing, shoes, lingerie and accessories. H&M earned reputation for showing off the low price, $19.99 for a pair of jeans or $49.99 for a trendy coat at their super model ads. While company has been growing organically since its foundation in 1947, collaborations with premium brand designers have brought the H&M label to a completely new level.

First collaboration was in 2004 with Karl Lagerfeld. While it was a huge success with lineups stretching around the block and the collection selling within days, Karl criticized the organizers for underestimating the demand. His idea of the collaboration was that people would get a bit of Chanel experience when they can come to stores at the relaxed pace and try the clothing with no restrictions. He feared that H&M collection will cheapenize his lables’ luxurious image.

Since then H&M released close to 10 guest designer collections, most notable being Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, Viktor & Rolf and most recent Lanvin. All designers have expressed appreciation to participate and were happy with PR outcomes. Many low priced retail companies followed the idea and launched their own partner collections. For example Target had collections done by Alexandr McQueen, Jean Paul Gaultier and Milla Jovovich. Issac Mizrahi made collections for  Target in 2002 and Fairweather.

Versace collaboration news have already exploded the press. Bloggers and fashion journalists are very excited about an upcoming H&M – Versace release that is scheduled for late November, 2011. Donatella shared her vision for the collection: “The collection for H&M will be “quintessentially Versace,” inspired by the archives, and including clothing, shoes, accessories, and jewelry for men and for women.” Apart from clothing pieces collection will also include home pieces such as Versace for H&M pillows and a bedspread.

June 15, 2011

Gucci 2011 – Collection Additions

Gucci has taken an offensive market penetration approach this year and released a large collection of both ophthalmic and sunglasses collection. We covered details of the initial Gucci 2011 glasses collection in earlier post. But as year moves on, Gucci came up with more models that are lovely! Check them out before buying anything else:

2011 Gucci Glasses Frames

 

Gucci 1645 glasses Gucci 1650 glasses Gucci 2893 glasses
Gucci 1645 Gucci 1650 Gucci 2893
Gucci 2894 glasses Gucci 2910 glasses Gucci 3200 glasses
Gucci 2894 Gucci 2910 Gucci 3200
Gucci 3201 glasses Gucci 3204 glasses
Gucci 3201 Gucci 3204

2011 Gucci Sunglasses

 

Gucci 1647/S glasses Gucci 1649/S glasses Gucci 1656/S glasses
Gucci 1647/S Gucci 1649/S
Gucci 3206/S glasses Gucci 3207/S glasses Gucci 3208/S glasses
Gucci 3206/S Gucci 3207/S

As usually many of the models come in different color. And color – is the main element of determining the style, especially in plastic models. You may also notice that some of the models have a hint on cat eye shape with raised corners. Gucci is positioning themselves to appeal to younger market, people who are trendy, but in the same time value brand name appeal and quality. These recent models are made in this strategy in mind.

June 14, 2011

Google Sites – Our Review

Google Sites is an online open source platform for building static websites. It is fully configurable platform that is targeted to users with no programming knowledge or experience. Platform was launched in 2008. Today close to half a million sites are built on this platform. While most such sites are limited to community websites or just random small websites, the platform offers capabilities to create a very fancy, content rich and professional looking website. Here is our review of the technology:

 

Appearance and configurations capabilities

 
Google Sites platform offers over thousands of configuration options to bring any wildest design or layout idea to reality. You can either tweak the template or a theme or simply built a new page using Google Sites menu of Insert/Edit/Format. Amount of configurations are overwhelming. But among many here are few that I liked the most:

–       Ability to chose template/theme and then modify it

–       Ability to create your own page templates. Page template will be act as a page sample that you create once and then reuse. This is useful if you want to have different page types, say one for text, one for photo/media preview and one for displaying dynamic content. Instead of recreating each page every time from scratch you can use your own template

–       Ability to attach files. Say you have a word document, like your resume. You can attach it for your site visitors’ download. All with one click of one button.

–       Easy way to insert tables. I am a big fan of tables and as you noticed from this blog. Sometimes wish WordPress.com would have that. Today I hand type each table in HTML. I love to use tables to organize content. Google Sites has easy way to add tables and then fill them with your content hassle free.
 

Ease of use

 

I give it 5 stars. There is absolutely no need for HTML or CSS knowledge. Of course if you are happen to be geeky designer guy/girl – there is an HTML button to modify the source. But if you are not – you will be very excited to modify every pixel of the page via Google Sites configuration menu. Your web experience can probably be limited to using e-mail and visiting enough of other websites – that little.

Via very intuitive menu you will be building a site just like writing a Word document. Register a site, chose theme, configure navigation menu, add pages and modify them… step by step. You can change colors, fonts, add various media elements, documents, links on your website without even feeling that you are actually building a real website.
 

Integration with other technologies

 
Google Sites offer thousands of built in integrations with third party platforms and technologies. There is easy one click integration with Google Ad Sense, Google Ads, Picassa Albums, Google Webmaster Tools, Google Documents, Google Checkout now, Google Calendar and others. With one click of a button you can add a block go your webpage displaying content that derives from one of these technologies. Similar to Blogger, Google Sites calls these blocks Gadgets.

There is also integration with PayPal, Amazon Products and hundreds of third party widgets like news sites, financial applications and various thematical services.
 

Access control

 
It is quite fascinating but you can control who has access to your site. Either make it public or share with selected people only.
 

Custom URL

 
Custom URL is free provided that you already registered one with a third party registrar. Google sites offer free site mapping to your custom URL. There is video tutorial explaining how to map. However unlike with Blogger, Google Sites does not offer registrar service, so you will need to use Yahoo, GoDaddy or anyone else to get the domain name and use their service to change name servers.
 

Revision history

 
This feature puts the Google Sites to the professional level of web site development. Most of the websites written today don’t have recorded history of changes. But what if you want to revert to how it was before? Instead of redoing it back, use Revision History that contains all information of prior versions of your site.
 

Storage

 
According to Google Sites “There is no limit to how many pages you can create in Sites. You can store up to 100 MB in your Site” You can see how much you have left by going to More Actions > Manage Site > General under Site Settings. With static content you probably would be good with 50-60 pages or even more.
 

Odd limitations

 

A site name can’t conflict with other Gmail usernames

 
Google assumes that one day everyone who has Gmail will have their own Google site. So, say you want a site google.sites/site/japansesword.com but as long as some one registered an e-mail creativegardener@gmail.com you won’t be able to use this name for Google sites. Even if there is no google.sites/site/creativegardener.com Google Site yet. This limits site name choices terribly. Not everyone would want to purchase custom URL. I would be surprised that even 1 out of 10000 Gmail users will ever have Google site.

No integration with Blogger

 
It has been evident with recent Blogger issues that Google put the development of this technology on hold. Fact that Blogger is second to WordPress on blogger platform usage was not enough to put it on Gadget list.

Low integration with Social Media Sharing technologies

 
While there is integration with Twitter and YouTube, I didn’t see Facebook and other social icons on gadgets list. One would think this is what everyone is after today, but Google Sites took a defensive approach and purposefully excluded competing technologies from the gadgets list. I mean a simple Share button would be enough. Of course, with some extra digging you can always use native widgets offered by these companies, but today companies like WordPress and other commercial web development platform adopted support for social media as a must have.

No help or support

 
No one is arguing that technology is open source, but Google has failed in the area of help and support once again. I didn’t see any Help or Tutorial button on the main menu and had to search the web to find it: http://www.google.com/support/sites/ Some dashboard areas have links leading to tutorial articles and technology is very intuitive to use. But once you have a serious issue or simply have a question, you are in trouble.
 

Conclusion:

 
Google Sites is excellent technology to get a site of various complexity up and running with no programming or design knowledge. In a matter of few hours you can have a simple few page static site on the web. In a few hours more you can have eCommerce site configured or some very cool promotional website with video and document sharing capabilities.

I think Google Sites is a huge step forward and rival to WordPress due to extended hosting offering, configuration capabilities and ease of use. Compared to WordPress.com there are much more capabilities to build a simple static site.

Please read our article on WordPress and Blogger comparison to learn more about these technologies.

June 13, 2011

Princess Diana’s Dresses Auction Is Only A Week Away

Well promoted auction of Princess Diana dresses is approaching its historic date. And well on time. Just last week Michael Jackson’s Thriller leather jacket sold for over $400,000. Diana’s dresses are expected to raise over $5 million in Toronto next week.

14 evening dresses come with a story and hallmark photos – all nostalgic and recognizable. The dance with Travolta is perhaps the most memorable. The auction will take place in Toronto on June 23, 2011 at Waddington’s Auction House on Bathurst & King St.

According to the auction house appraisals dresses are estimated between $150,000 to $475,000. Experience shows that many times the estimated price is only to set approximate starting bid and most likely dresses will go for over $500,000 each.

Diana sold her collection of dresses just two years before her tragic death to raise funds for her charitable foundation. In reaction to Diana’s death entrepreneur Maureen Rorech Dunkel has created a People’s Princess Charitable Foundation to carry on Diana’s mission. They were used in the Dresses for Humanity Exhibition tour that over the years circulated the world delivering an illustrative story of Diana’s life. Kensington Palace also borrowed the dresses to be displayed as part of its Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection where the Princess lived from 1981 to 1997.

Dresses collection told a story of Diana’s journey as a “Peoples Princess” and described her personality and character to over a million of viewers who saw the exhibit. By looking at these particular 14 dresses one can draw a picture of Diana’s fun part of personality that was evolving over the time she was married to Prince Charles. From a 19 year old, newly wed princess Diana turned into an iconic figure of humanity in just one decade.

Mrs. Dunkel purchased dresses with a charitable purpose and now after undergoing bankruptcy is in need to sell. Proceeds from sale will go Canada’s National Ballet School.

diana travolta dress Diana Travolta Dance
Est. $800000 / 1000000 A famous Travolta Dance dress was worn in 1985 to a State Dinner at the White House hosted by President & Mrs. Reagan.
Diana's Voque Dress diana posting to voque
Est. $225000 / 275000 Also, Diana wore this dress to pose for Vanity Fair magazine in 1997. Same dress was also worn to the Palace de Versailles for “La Deuxieme Nuit International de L’enfrance” organized by UNESCO, 1994.
Diana's pink dress Diana in Pink dress
Est. $375000 / 425000 Diana wore this dress to a trip to India in 1992. It possesses the cultural elements of Indian traditional gowns – jewels, silky fabric, long sleeves.
Diana's blue dress
Est. $150000 / 200000 Diana was wearing this dress to a state occasion in Vienna in 1986 and to a film premiere in 1993
Est. $250000 / 300000 This dress is known from a Vanity Fair magazine cover in 1997. It was originally designed by Catherine Walker for Diana’s attendance at a royal banquet for the King and Queen of Malaysia in 1993.
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June 7, 2011

Dior 2011 Collection – New Additions

Dior eyewear team must be the hardest working from all. This year they have released over 40 new styles in various categories: trendy, retro and classic. The company has taken a utility approach to release many models to appeal to people of different styles, ages and even budgets. We can’t pass on mentioning the color versatility of the brand. Some models come in as many as 6-7 colors such as Dior Paname or Dior Ladycat 1/S. We talked earlier about eyewear industry trends and how companies are not following two seasons Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer- they are releasing new models few at a time adding them to the year collection. This makes sense because glasses don’t have a season – you wear them all year long every day and sun is shining no matter what. In line with this strategy please, enjoy a few new additions to Dior 2011 eyewear collection:

Dior 3213 Dior 3214
Dior C_DIOR 3213 Dior C_DIOR 3214
Dior 3754 C_Dior 3753
Dior C_DIOR 3754 Dior C_Dior 3753
Dior CHICAGO 2 Dior LADYLADY 1 Dior LADYLADY 2
Dior CHICAGO 2/S Dior LADYLADY 1/S Dior LADYLADY 2/S
Dior MOHOTANI Dior MYLADYDIOR 6
Dior MOHOTANI/S Dior MYLADYDIOR 6
Dior SIMPLICIE 1 Dior SIMPLICIE 2
Dior SIMPLICIE 1 Dior SIMPLICIE 2
June 7, 2011

Valentino Garavani Sketches – Lessons From a Professional

When it comes down to sketches, now retired Valentino took a special effort to make sure they are clean, descriptive and beautiful. He is classically trained at the famous Paris Art School and spent many years working under numerous designers before taking leading roles at Guy Laroche and starting his own label.

His sketches are probably closest to framable art among other designers because he often uses color and makes them look like real paintings as oppose to just sketches. Also, Valentino’s sketches are very realistic, full of details and clearly defined silhouettes which makes them easy to read on clothing models. The wedding dresses are his specialty! He even draws a face of a beautiful and happy bride to add joyful mood to the drawing. Enjoy the collection!

Kate Middleton Dress

Kate Middleton Dress Alternative View

June 3, 2011

Prada Sunglasses 2011 – Definite Head Turner

“We started with this idea of doing something fancy… but with the basis of sport.” – Miuccia Prada

Pradas are classic and always will be.  Prada is known for its classic sport inspired style. Prada sunglasses are made to last and most importantly to emphasize what we call elegant luxury. While following the trends in 2011 Prada tries to stay within its own boundaries. You will not find anything super decorated with rhinestones, super oversized or extreme. This is inline with the rest of accessories collection – purses and shoes. A little bit of black, silver, and of course signature red. Plastic is a dominating material because it is comfortable.

Prada Sport 2011 collection made for especially active people and each model has added details to make sure glasses really fit for sport – rubber inserts on the temples to hold head, ergonomic shapes to avoid wind and soft nose pads to allow better grab in front.

Given Prada’s IPO plans and announced whooping 150% increase in sales over the last year, company is set to succeed and this is only possible due to meticulous work of Miuccia and her super talented team. Enjoy the collection:

Ladies Classics

Prada PR 19MS Prada PR 23MS
Prada PR 19MS Prada PR 23MS
Prada PR 17MS Prada PR 08NS
Prada PR 17MS Prada PR 08NS
Prada PR 04NSA Prada PR 04LS
Prada PR 04NSA Prada PR 04LS

Men in Business

Prada PR 50HS Prada PR 54NS
Prada PR 50HS Prada PR 54NS
Prada PR 57MS Prada PR 54GS
Prada PR 57MS Prada PR 54GS

Ladies Trendy

Prada PR 09NS Prada PR 14NS
Prada PR 09NS Prada PR 14NS
Prada PR 05NS Prada PR 51NS
Prada PR 05NS Prada PR 51NS

Prada Sport 2011

Prada PS 01MS Prada PS 04MS Prada PS 02LS
Prada PS 01MS Prada PS 04MS Prada PS 02LS
Prada PS 51GS Prada PS 03MS Prada PS 02MS
Prada PS 51GS Prada PS 03MS Prada PS 02MS
Prada PS 52MS Prada PS 50MS Prada PS 54IS
Prada PS 52MS Prada PS 50MS Prada PS 54IS
June 2, 2011

Designer Mobile Phones and Smart Phones – Future of Tech Luxury Accessories

Designer phones and smart phones is an untapped market that presents opportunity of $10 billion. Such phones are created in collaboration between phone manufacturers and fashion or jewellery designers and launched with a collective effort through either distribution chain. In the past Nokia and Samsung were most active and have brought the idea to the mass market through collaborations with Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, Armani, Versace and others.

First phones started to appear in 2006, but by 2011 offering has surprisingly dropped. Today only handful of such collaborations is active and selling. Gucci, Hugo Boss had rumours that failed through. We did our research to see what is out there or what was out there. Our list includes Fashion and Jewellery companies only. Some of the auto manufacturers filled the niche quite strongly currently offering phones from Ferrari, Porsche, McLaren Mercedes in collaboration with Alcatel, LG and Sharp.

We would really like to see such companies as Bvlgari, Tiffany, Valentino, Gucci, Luis Vuitton join the game – this is really a serious untapped multi billion market. In fact we yet to see BlackBerry or iPhone join the game. Yes, there are many accessories such as cases, pockets in purses or chain links offered by almost every major designer label, but entire phones is something completely different.

Dior Nokia Phone

Are selling now on Dior website. First released in 2008. There are mother of pearl, gold sapphire, sapphire crystal and diamond designs offered. Diamond sells for $29,000 in case you wonder. Made in collaboration with ModeLabs, phone has a touch screen display and camera. Blogger reviews give the overall functionality low reviews, but design is definitely fronts the market right now.

D&G phone

Dolce&Gabbana Phone

What can make Motorola Motorazr still interesting? Initially released in 2006 in collaboration with Dolce Gabbana MOTORAZR V3i DG by Motorola phone is equipped with 1.2 Megapixel camera, MP3/Video Player, Bluetooth technology, and a solid battery life lasting 6.5 hours of talk time.

Armani phone

Armani Smart Phone

Armani collaborated with Samsung and in 2007 released design for SGH-P520 model. Minimalistic style seems to only include Armani logo with everything else coming from standard Samsung smart phone. Phone has been since discontinued. It included 2.6 in display, 3.15 Megapixel camera and battery allowing 6 hr talk time.

prada phone

Prada Phone

Released in 2007 LG’s Prada Phone KE850 has 2-Megapixel camera, also capable of recording videos, 8 MB of storage space, built-in MP3 and video player. Just like Prada sunglasses this phone comes with a Prada cell phone carrying case and cleaning cloth.

Levis Phone

LEVIS Phone

Jeans manufacturer LEVIS was not going to just watch premium brands play the game. Released in 2008 phone has a radio, an MP3/Video Player, 2 GBs of storage space and 2 Megapixel camera. Phone is offered in two colors “Silver Shiny” and “Gold Shiny” and a flip-open cosmetic mirror.

Giambattista Valli Phone

Giambattista Valli Phone

Giambattista Valli is a niche designer for Vatican, formerly with Fendi and Ungaro. His collaboration with Nokia produced 7373 model equipped with 2 Megapixel camera, an MP3/Video Player, a Radio, and Bluetooth Technology, built-in “Rhodium” ring tone.

Versace Versus phone

Versace Phone

Versace Samsung E500 was released under the youth label Versus in 2006. This flip phone is available in three colors and contained all specifications of typical Samsung’s basic SGH-E500: 1.3 megapixel camera, a music player, and support for Bluetooth wireless connections.

tag heuer phone

Upcoming Tag Heuer Phone

Tag Heuer is taking orders for over 12 designs of their signature phone. Design is inspired by their watch collection integrating several functions, such as reversible clock, 1/100 of a second chronograph and incoming call identification. Dual display is especially convenient as one shows time while the other addresses phone functions. 2 megapixel camera, long battery life and integrated Blootooth technology are the highlights of long list of specifications. Many design variations are offered with most luxurious being Full Diamond overall weight 7.42 carat with rubies on place of red and green button. Prices start at Euro 4250 for steel models.