China: The new hotbed of luxury

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It seems not even an anti-graft campaign can stop the wealthy Chinese from conspicuously consuming luxury goods. But in Nanjing, one of the busiest commercial districts in China, the luxury alleys were almost empty. If anything, the government’s anti-extravagance drive has encouraged VIPs to shop online to fulfill their passion for pricey cars, fashion, and beauty products—the major players in the Chinese luxury market.

Image source: pursuitist.com

Image source: pursuitist.com

According to Digital Luxury Group’s The World Luxury Index™ China – 2nd Edition, Chanel is the most sought-after brand in fashion, overtaking Louis Vuitton due to the increasing demand for product segments. Audi and BMW maintain their top positions in the car category while Estée Lauder, Lancôme, and Dior edge out the rest of beauty products. The complete list of the top luxury brands in China is found here.

So, what exactly makes these top luxury brands sell? In this Jing Daily article, the four vital characteristics shared by the top brands in China are:

1.) Patience to endure market shifts, a trait espoused by menswear brand Ermenegildo Zegna

2.) Great history and heritage which form the foundations of brands, as iconized by Coco Chanel, Enzo Ferrari, and Mario Prada

Image source: carnewschina.com

Image source: carnewschina.com

3.) Effective communication skill sets for relaying the brands’ key assets to consumers

4.) Knowledge of when and where to add changes in the product line.

Overall, successful luxury brands in China knew that Chinese consumers are not a monolithic consumer base mindlessly absorbing marketing ideas. Diversity matters a lot for Chinese luxury consumers.

Image source: businessinsider.com

Image source: businessinsider.com

Roman Magnus Palatine, Il is haberdashery owned by a man so vigorously opposed to, but made dependent by the luxury goods industry. Visit this Facebook page for more fashion and lifestyle news.

REPOST: Interior designer and architect David Collins dies

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Olivia Bergin bids farewell to one of the world’s fabulous interior designers. The article below recounts David Collins’ work in numerous luxury brand boutiques, including Alexander McQueen and Miuccia Prada. 

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Image Source: telegraph.co.uk

Irish-born David Collins, 58, designed The Wolseley in London as well as numerous boutiques for luxury brands such as Jimmy Choo, Alexander McQueen and parts of Harrods.

David Collins, the man behind some of the most glamorous interiors in the world has passed away after suffering from a virulent form of skin cancer. Vogue.com report how Collins’s illness was only diagnosed three weeks ago.

The 58-year-old Dubliner studied architecture at the city’s Bolton Street School of Architecture before making his name in the restaurant world, designing interiors for the iconic London eatery The Wolseley, the Berkerley Hotel’s Blue Bar and the Claridge’s Bar.

“David’s death is a real shock,” said Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman. “His work merged luxury, glamour and heritage in an inimitable fashion and his company was always of the first and most enjoyable order.”

Collins founded the David Collins Studio in 1985 and had recently enjoyed numerous commissions from the fashion world. In collaboration with Alexander McQueen creative director Sarah Burton, his studio was contracted to redesign the brand’s boutiques around the world; the Shanghai and Bal Harbour stores were unveiled last year. The company has also masterminded interiors for Harrods, Jimmy Choo and New York department store Bergdorf Goodman.

“I always tell myself, if I am going to do this job, how can I make it more interesting or make it different, that’s what has driven my career” Collins told Business of Fashion in May.

“And sometimes I try something that Miuccia Prada inspired me to do, which is I transport myself into a more difficult place and say ‘what if chromium yellow was my favourite colour, how would I do that?’ Because sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to be creative.”

Collins is survived by two sisters, a brother and his mother.

David Collins’ creative legacy is kept alive in Roman Magnus’ humble shop in Palatine, Il. Learn how the shop fuses fashion and architecture by reading this blog.

REPOST: From the Archives: Bathing Suits in Vogue

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Summer has always been one of the reasons to shimmy out of frigid, mostly characterless attires and be bare–except for where the bathing suits provide cover, that is. Vogue celebrates the season with a slideshow of its bathing suit features over the years.

It’s officially swimsuit season, and while choosing which itsy-bitsy Missoni to wear to Montauk may be giving you pause, stop and ponder for a second the style transformation this little piece of clothing has undergone over the years. Back in the day, a bathing costume was made up of many über-conservative components (think loose-fitting tops, long sleeves, knee-length skirts, belts, and matching bloomers). In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the trend was 100 percent full coverage when it came to hitting the beach. Waves were made in the twenties when suits started showing slightly more skin, and while 1946 marked the official introduction of the bikini, the two-piece style didn’t stick until the sixties when liberating skin was finally widely in. To see this metamorphosis, we’ve gone through the Vogue archives and selected images of some of our favorite bathing beauties. From Patti Hansen and Charlotte Rampling sporting sleek, sexy one-pieces to Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez working futuristic maillot cutouts, dive into our slideshow for an in-depth look at the evolution of the bathing suit.

Featuring covers, advertisements, articles, photographs, and illustrations in their original context, the Vogue Archive offers a glimpse of Vogue’s unparalleled record of fashion, social, and cultural ideas.

Vogue.com registered users have access to a selection of editor-chosen issues from the Vogue Archive. Vogue magazine subscribers have access to a selection of 36 issues, including the very first issue of the magazine from 1892. To access the Vogue Archive, go to voguearchive.com and use the Archive Login in the upper-right corner.

Follow Roman Magnus on Twitter for links to fashion stories, musings, and more.

The man behind the Iron Man: Dumas would have approved

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Image Source: thecoast.ca
Image Source: thecoast.ca

Robert Downey Jr. packs the punch in the new Iron Man. When unlikely superheroes have become commonplace, the witty millionaire wins over mutants, photographer geeks, and brooding billionaires in making things interesting again.

Iron Man 3 is limp on action shots and maybe even cowed by hand-to-hand combat. Maybe it’s because Iron Man’s alter ego, Tony Stark, never tested the limits of his physique by hauling himself unharnessed out of a deep prison-well. Instead, his superhero training transpired in rowdy hotel rooms and (his) ruthless condescension of the social scene. He proves, however, a landing maestro and a cunning armor technician, almost by consolation. As Tony Stark, he’s an easy target, and he’s Tony Stark more than half the time in this installment.

Image Source: leonhart90.blogspot.com
Image Source: leonhart90.blogspot.com

Tony Stark is the departure from saleable superheroes like brawny Batman and lithe Spiderman. Impishly flawed and eager to annoy, he represents today the foolish anti-crime band of bluffers and decadents unseen since Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. How many tragic iterations will it take to inflate him into a hulk of fearsome prowess, like Batman? None, going by Stark’s selfish ways. He’ll happily tinker with his robots because, as a man of enough principle, his inventions and intellectual self-importance seem to define his moral targets, not the other way around.

Image Source: eonline.com
Image Source: eonline.com

True, showing a superhero’s human side has become a cliché but not when done up in satirical script worthy of the arrogance Alexandre Dumas would have fed into his own masters of loony heroics. Some heroes are just meant to save the world from drama.

Yes, I, Roman Magnus of unrivalled artistic pretention snobbery, watched Iron Man 3 and now feel the need to justify. I could have just tweeted about this.

Stylish Diet Coke cans courtesy of Marc Jacobs

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Image Source: blogs.wsj.com

Image Source: blogs.wsj.com

Diet Coke is celebrating its 30 years of being one of the world’s favorite beverages and Coca Cola has tapped into the artistic prowess of no less than Marc Jacobs to mark the milestone in style.

I’m not really a soda drinker, but when I learned about Marc Jacobs’ participation in Diet Coke’s ‘Sparkling Together for 30 Years’ campaign, I became curious as to what would become of the eclectic union of fashion and beverage. As it turned out, the campaign has become nothing short of an emblem of whimsical twist and provocative artistry that’s Marc Jacobs.

As the Creative Director of Diet Coke, the influential designer got his hands full designing three cans and bottles and directing three advertising campaigns headlined by Latvian model Ginta Lapina.

In a press release, Marc Jacobs says, “Diet Coke is an icon… and I love an icon.” Iconic as it is, the whole lot of the campaign delves into feministic ideals which materialized in the ‘80s, ‘90s, and ‘00s captured artistically through an extraordinary heritage of style collaborations.

Image Source: fashionbeans.com

Image Source: fashionbeans.com

The three editions of the Diet Coke symbolize female empowerment for each decade, focusing heavily on the fusion of feminism and fashion. One can is designed with a bow-tie pattern and a tuxedo-clad model while another can features pink and purple birds which more or less depict flower power. The third can is ingrained with red polka dots surrounding an image of a woman in striped clothes.

Image Source: coca-colacompany.com

Image Source: coca-colacompany.com

I’m Roman Magnus, a haberdasher who’s always on the hunt for news and information on fashion and French artistry. Visit this Facebook page and read what I’ve gathered so far.

NYFW: Alexander Wang and similar snowflakes

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It’s really happening…that odd collision of two creative vortexes that, in terms of astrophysics, just never gives way to a formula. I’m talking about the transition of a successful Parisian fashion house from one established creative director to a veteran ingénue, as I’ve always called Alexander Wang. The star of New York Fashion Week’s winter wonderland is mentioned like some sort of passcode to a cavern of fashion’s most magical secrets, but he’s really just taking over from Nicolas Ghesquière at the helm of Balenciaga. And I’m not over it.

Image Source: project-oona.com

No doubt, Alexander Wang as a label hits like a cold, metallic graze, and the American designer always manages to tip classic couture lines into a dated, garden class look many palettes away from his urban bedheaded sub-class of un-tailored youth.

Image Source: vogue.it

I call his style alternative because, really, it snips away at amorphous “patterns” for the slouches. My affinity for Ghesquière could be interpreted as a Victorian call for proper clothing, and my prejudice is built from 15 years of Ghesquière’s creative directorship. Balenciaga’s clothes fit into my patterns. Rather, I studied my craft anticipating the Parisian hoardings — those were the patterns of the tradecraft, the real secret codes. Wang is a visionary and all, but he represents the American luxury of loosey-goosey casualness that has been adopted for glamor. Some describe it as cutting edge, a more tempered parallelism to Diesel Black…I am really just missing the Old World frills.

Image Source: mtv.com

Prior to the New York Fashion Week everyone was brimming with Alexander Wang lovin’. His actual runway was classic him at best — part ninja, part exclusive leisure class club who can wear clothes a certain way and get away with it. I perked my sights for the sweater mules. They were interesting but I don’t recommend them for wearing. Looks like a real haute couture collaboration out there.

My atelier, meanwhile, is a dusty, makeshift world galaxies away from all this haute couture nonsense. Have a look at Roman Magnus Palatine, IL here.

“Republican codswallop” and the many things Victor Hugo had been accused of

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It’s a pleasure to hear midriff-bearing youth in my quarter bursting into a Les Misérables tribute, following the movie’s release. Problem is, they’ll probably have none of that 19th-century Parisian revolt blue-baller for the ecstasy they’ve found in the musical. I am not appalled by this; each generation is entitled to screw up their noses at the mention of politics, or worse, by the politics of an illustrious French author not even his countrymen could fully understand.

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Image Source: answers.com

Politics in France is a many-colored flag obscured by the generalities of the tri-color. Liberty, equality, fraternity are upstanding concepts for a musical, yet are mere folk song lyrics for a thumping many-volumed political novel about 19th-century France.

All film and musical adaptations are bound to tighten around Misérables’ central characters, all of whom are socially pathetic. The bigger notion of state-sponsored poverty is a pain of a montage to develop, and not something to sing about.

LesMiserablesFeature1Jan2013_large
Image Source: irishexaminer.com

The diminishing aspect of Victor Hugo in all this is that he made a novel in the liberty-equality-fraternity mode and propped up a watershed historical insurgency as its medium. As a result, the geeks are raising hackles over a watered-down though undeniably moving film, while those attempting to read the volumes for the first time are put off by Hugo’s winding route to politics, anti-monarchist after all, as the author’s political life had been.

Les Miserables illustration
Image Source: tabathayeatts.blogspot.com

The reader’s fatigue is so much as to Wiki Hugo and to find initial vitriol for the novel issuing from great contemporaries such as Flaubert and Baudelaire. But no one can deny Hugo’s ideological contributions to the modern politics of France. He was an avid supporter of Republicanism and denounced the abuses of Louis Napoleon.

I’m glad I started “Fantine,” at least. It took me three years to complete all the volumes of Les Miserables, and each year was a slog! I can offer a reading support group of Les Mis in the Roman Magnus Palatine, IL atelier. That’s also where I hold shop. Details here.

The treatise against knit clothes (part II)

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Winter is nigh, and so is the end of style for the remainder of the year. The season is my pet peeve, the un-doing of everything haute couture designers have worked hard for all their lives: helping people go on a romp of homoerotic sophistication and socially accepted self-aggrandizement. Now we’re all cooped up blathering in a blog.

And in all likelihood, knitting and actually wearing what we knit. I’ve pointed out before that “ROMAN MAGNUS DOES NOT KNIT” but the truth is I end up doing so on a harsh winter day, because my precision fingers are hidden in some (you guessed it) hideous knit gloves.

Image Source: aliimg.com

Heaters are sometimes not enough to beat the cold for what I do. I reserve my atelier for the creative moods of spring and summer. Fall is an afterthought, and winter I just leave to the high street or the real designers to pile on the trends. I’m barely in the market to dress up men in fancy clothes during the white months.

Image Source: styleex.com

Why do I hate knit clothes so much? Apart from the fact that they’re lumpy and occasionally itchy, you can’t really mold them into sophisticated patterns, unless you go for a heavily stitched-up look. They’re not flattering to the figures of both men and women. And they represent everything about winter that I couldn’t care for: whiling indoors, looking for inspiration from a window.

I’m Roman Magnus. My thoughts here reflect what I do: tailoring. For your comments, feel free to message me on Facebook.