We'll give you two guesses where that quote is from. (Hint to the left). We knew you'd get it! It's from Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless, of course, which came to mind after reading the perfectly pitched pieces by Eric Wilson and Guy Trebay for the New York Times, that sum up the tone of Paris Fashion Week. In essence: 'who can enjoy the shows while the world is holding its collective breath until the November elections?' I suppose one could add, 'who can enjoy life when the markets, politics and world affairs are in such a state,' but really, would that attitude contribute positively to the well being of anything we care about? We've decided to take a break from discussing branding and trends for just for today and have taken Jean-Paul Belmondo's famous line to heart with a mini-round up of all of the fun, fabulous, and free activities to breathe life into our souls, in each of our favorite cities. After all, a little enjoyment could be just what the doctor ordered. Free, Fabulous, Fun ways to Come up for Air wherever you are:
New York: It's the last week of the season to tour the Hudson River by Kayak. It's all free, courtesy of the NYC Downtown Boathouse and a great way to breath in the crisp, fall air.
Los Angeles: Have you ever taken in the beauty of Los Angeles from high above the action? Our favorite two ways to do it are sundown at the Griffith Observatory or the Getty Museum (admission to the museum is also free.)
London: Catch the giggles at the quirky 'Portraits of the 1970s' exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. Lighter than air hair fun for everyone!
The bicycle trend returns with a bobo edge. Today's quote comes from Times photographer Bill Cunningham, who charmingly announced this as the year of the return of bicycles, while covering the shows in Paris. We couldn't agree more, but would add that from New York to Paris to Milan, this is also the year of the leg--perhaps as a result of all that bike riding--gams are out in all their glory on all the runways this season. This has caused some to lament 'Where Have All the Pants Gone?', but we say, who cares? Why not get your gams out girls, while the gettin's good? Consider this shorts slide show from style.com, particularly the luxe satin shorts from Lanvin, bow & lace-trimmed short shorts from Chloé, and slouchy boho prints from Wunderkind. Gets the mind racing about the possibility of zipping around en velo in style, no? The successful marketing of the bicycle has arisen by simply igniting the imagination of potential riders, making it once again, a chic, continental past time of yesteryear. This time around, the accompanying fashions and accessories to the bicycle trend have a more bobo feel, appealing to the young, affluent bohemian bourgeoisie, concerned with helping the environment, but wanting to stay fashionably relevant and on the cutting edge. Although we are reluctantly sliding into our autumn/winter attire, we are inspired by Mr. Cunningham and the immeasurable benefit bike-riding contributes to the environment, not to mention ourselves and our gams, we've decided to join the bicycle fray and start our spring training a little early. Here's a breakdown of New York City's intricate web of "Greenways" and our hit-list for hitting the pavement in style:
- Paul Frank Julius Hearts Me Cruiser at Target in black! SO CUTE!! : $380
- Spanx by Sara Blakely Patterned Tights, for keeping your tootsies warm: $28
- Protec Classic Helmet, great alternative to "mushroom" head: $44
- Sigg Butterfly Dreams Water Bottle: $21.99
- Rebecca Taylor cute, cuffed Tweed Shorts: $260
How the presidential candidates are using creative branding strategies to capture voters' imagination and attention. We all know that a teeny-tiny, ever-so-slightly, very important occasion is upon us. Come November 4th, the United States will have a new leader, one we fervently hope will usher in an era of peace, prosperity and respect for the dignity of all mankind. As true pillars of bipartisanism (and discretion), we would never reveal who we plan to vote for, but let the records show that we have unbounded respect for both John McCain and Barack Obama. What we CAN reveal is our equally unbounded respect for the level of ingenuity and creativity we have seen in the lead-up to this election by the supporters of both parties. Naturally, we are drawn toward the aesthetics, style, and effectiveness with which each party has delivered its campaign messages and objectives, with the result of making the public a) care about the elections, b) recognize that their vote does matter, and c) get out the vote in anticipated record numbers.
There are some serious iconographic images and slogans at work here such as, "Change We Can Believe in" and "Great AmeriCain Hero," which will be remembered along with classics like "I Like Ike," "Give 'Em Hell, Harry," and "Tipeecanoe and Tyler, Too." We delight in the myriad ways the parties and their supporters have expressed their messages, prompting celebrities from both camps like Halle Berry, Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel and Elizabeth Hasselbeck to pick their team and help spread the word. As our own tribute to the artisans and creative minds at work, we have compiled a roundup of our favorites. Clockwise, from top right:
- Artists for Obama: Poster artwork and imagery donated by artists to raise money. The two pieces here are by Scott Hansen and Shepard Fairey
- Great AmeriCain Hero: Logo designed by none other than La Hasselbeck, herself
- Obama Flowers Keds Shoes: Designed by VoteObama
- Palin Power mini buttons: Note the "i" is a lipstick -- Will anyone will soon forget the bulldog/hockey mom line? I didn't think so. Pure genius.
- Obama Necktie: Designed by the American Necktie Company
How brands are seizing the moment to offer affordable luxury to cautious consumers.
An interesting theory that developed after World War II was that lipstick sales are an excellent way to gauge the pulse of a flat-lining consumer. What economists found was that as the economy dipped, lipstick sales tended to rise, illustrating that to even the most fractious consumer, a small, attainable indulgence was considered necessary, a reviving jolt to the consumer’s heart.
Not only is this a smart idea—giving consumers an entry point to an otherwise unattainable luxury brand—offering “affordable luxuries” to consumers is a necessity in today’s economy. Ultimately, the consumer will do one of two things to squeeze a little luxury out of her diminished disposable income; she will remain a) brand-loyal, buying an item from her favorite luxury brand at the lowest price point, or she will become a b) brand-replacer, substituting a cheaper alternative for her favorite luxury brand, and the retailer runs the risk of losing her for good.
The scenarios are endlessly fun to dream up. Brand-Loyal Scenario: While this may not be the moment for a Nanette Lepore’s gorgeous “Cheek Cheek Velvet Coat” ($635), this is certainly a time to scoop up her collection of flats for Keds, ($20-40). Brand-Replacer Scenario: If Guerlain’s long-wearing KissKiss Laque ($28) is financially out of reach, L’Oreal’s Infallible Never Fail Lipcolour Compact ($8.39) is right on target.