New Record Set For Birkin Bag Sale: Hong Kong Auction House Sells Fuchsia Crocodile Birkin For $222,000



From ABC7:

A Hermes designer handbag sold at a Christie's auction house in Hong Kong on Monday morning for a record $222,000.

A mystery phone bidder bought the fuchsia crocodile Birkin Bag that's encrusted with diamonds and has 18 carat white gold hardware.

It sold for 1.72 million Hong Kong dollars, which is $222,219 U.S. dollars.

The sale smashed the $203,000 record for a handbag, another Birkin Bag in red crocodile skin, reached at a Heritage Auctions sale in 2011.

The Birkin Bag was designed for and named after British actress Jane Birkin. It's famous for having a price tag in the thousands of dollars and a years-long waiting list.

The bag was one of more than 300 that Christie's put on the block in Hong Kong, which has emerged as a global auction center thanks to wealthy mainland Chinese.

Christie's said a black Birkin Bag that's scheduled to go on the block later in the same auction may sell for even more than Monday's record price.





Dolce & Gabbana Cause Outrage Over Gay Marriage and Adoption Remarks: Elton John Calls For Boycott



From NBC:

Sir Elton John on Sunday called for a boycott of the swank fashion house Dolce & Gabbana after the founders declared their opposition to same-sex marriage and gay adoptions in an interview with an Italian fashion magazine.

D&G, which has clothed some of the celebrity world's top stars, was founded 30 years ago by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbano. Their designs have been worn by Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson, Christian Bale and many other movie stars.

But the founders, who were once a couple, told the magazine Panorama they supported "traditional marriage."

John, who married his longtime partner David Furnish last December, issued a furious retort on his Instagram account, saying he would never wear Dolce and Gabbana again and calling on others to join a boycott of the company.

The British singer-songwriter, who has two children born via a surrogate, was especially annoyed at Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbano for their comments about the children of gay couples. They told the publication that kids who aren't born into traditional families are "children of chemistry."


John responded: "How dare you refer to my beautiful children as "synthetic." And shame on you for wagging your judgmental little fingers at IVF — a miracle that has allowed legions of loving people, both straight and gay, to fulfill their dream of having children."


The boycott was quickly supported by other celebs, including tennis star Martina Navratilova and musician Courtney Love, who said they were dumping their D&G clothes.

Following John's boycott call, Steffano Gabbano appeared to respond via his Instagram account, which featured a photo of a woman embracing a young boy, and using the the hashtag #dgmamma #dgfamily.

Update: The company issued a statement late Sunday:

"We believe firmly in democracy and we think freedom of expression is essential for that. We talked about our way of looking at the world, but it was not our intention to express a judgement on other people's choices. We believe in freedom and love."




Neiman Marcus Goes High Tech with Shoe Merchandising: Launches Interactive Retail Tables That Allow Custys To Browse Everything Via Touch Screens



From Luxury Daily:

Department store chain Neiman Marcus is launching interactive retail tables that will allow consumers to browse inventory using touchscreen technology in three select stores.

The tables are currently active in the Austin, TX, Chicago, and Topanga, CA locations of the department store, where they can be found in the luxury shoe salons. They will assist consumers in browsing inventory that may not be available in-store but can be accessed online or at other Neiman Marcus locations.

“We know that our customers want access to our full assortments whenever possible,” said Ginger Reeder, vice president of corporate communications at Neiman Marcus Group Services, Dallas. “The interactive table marries form to function and allows the customer and associates ease of access to product.” 

Neiman Marcus worked with touchscreen technology producer T1Visions to create the tables. T1Visions partners with retail, events and exhibits, corporate, hospitality and education markets around the globe to provide multitouch, multiuser software in public environments.

The interactive retail tables are custom designed to complement the Neiman Marcus brand identity and the store’s visual aesthetic. Each table measures approximately 70 inches long, 34 inches tall, and 26 inches wide, features a 32-inch Ultra HD 4K touchscreen and is covered by continuous pane of customized glass.

The product is designed to be sophisticated and useful. The look is seamless and unobtrusive, highlighting T1Visions’ state of the art technology.

Consumers can use the tables to browse and search Neiman Marcus inventory, including items that are in-store, online or available at another store location. They can also add items to a Wishlist, which will be emailed to them.

Neimans image 3 

The interactive tables use T1Visions’ software application OneShop to provide consumers with easy and extensive access to all of the department store’s merchandise. The software will recommend products based on a consumer’s search results and can also be used to share the latest trends with shoppers.

“Creating a way for the customers to flow effortlessly between the store experience and their online or mobile experience is a cornerstone of any retailer’s omnichannel strategy,” said Dave Rodgerson, a retail business development executive at Microsoft Canada, Toronto.

“In this spirit, the consumer experience in store, on the table, at home on their desktop, through their smart phone or tablet would all complement one another with a consistent look, feel and navigation,” he said.

Neiman Marcus hopes to expand the tables to other locations and is planning additional software updates that will be released early this year. Ideally, consumers will eventually be able to use the tables to purchase items, allowing them to function as additional points of sale in the store.

Neimans image 5
Shoes displayed on interactive retail table

Online and in real life
Experts agree that it is essential for retailers to incorporate the online experience into their stores. Even as more consumers are shopping online, the in-store experience is still at the heart of retail, and luxury retailers need to find ways to bridge the gap between channels, according to panelists at The New York Times Luxury Conference.

The panelists agreed that the retail is still centered on the consumer, and allowing her to shop with them how they want, which often still involves the physical store. Ecommerce and other digital efforts therefore serve more to supplement an in-store experience, rather than replace it entirely (see story).

his is not the first time Neiman Marcus has worked to blend in-store shopping with the online experience. The department store chain recently updated its mobile application to provide a quick and easy shopping option for consumers through a new “Snap. Find. Shop.” feature.

Neiman Marcus paired with mobile visual search firm Slyce to create a shopping feature that allows consumers to snap a photo of an item they like and have the app find a similar item sold by the retailer. Snap. Find. Shop. will likely appeal to the younger, more tech-savvy consumer who is interested in finding the latest trends and styles (see story).

The interactive retail tables are the next step for Neiman Marcus in using the latest technology to improve its consumers’ experience.

“Neiman Marcus has implemented the table as a way to offer their consumers what the industry calls ‘an endless aisle’. It’s a tried and true means of linking the physical store to the consumer’s online experience,” Mr. Rodgerson said.

“It’s great to see a well-respected brand like Neiman Marcus deploying this new technology in the store as long as it’s part of an overall omnichannel strategy,” he said. “If not, this will become a very expensive piece of furniture with a display screen integrated into the tabletop.”