Versace for H&M…Yawn

pic: vogue

This is the least exciting news I’ve heard in the last 24 hrs.

Another designer collection for H&M. How boring and overdone. In the beginning this trend was exciting, yes. Owning a piece from Stella McCartney for H&M or Alexander McQueen for Target that I can afford- I couldn’t wait! But I’ve been disappointed by all these lines and the two pieces I own from Jean Paul Gaultier for Target and Sonya Rykiel for H&M, I now view as bad purchases. The quality of these garments is poor- cheap fabric, bad construction, and low-grade sewing.

These collections are not the real thing. They are representation of the real thing, an under a $100 illusion. I love Lanvin, but I didn’t jump at the H&M collection. I imagine it was one of the better qualities, but still I didn’t want that Lanvin, I want the real Lanvin.

I wonder what’s the motivation for top-tier brands like Versace, Lanvin, and Stella McCartney, to do these collections. Are they strapped for money? Do they just want hype? Are they somehow pressured by these big retail chains? Are they just following a trend?

These collaborations dilute a brand, not enhance it. When brands are out of reach, they are coveted, they are special. Now all these collaborations are turning real fashion into a commodity.

I’d rather save up for a year to own a designer piece than buy the watered down versions because I want the quality, I want the exquisiteness of the real deal.

“Seduction, Powerful, Accomplished”

According to Robert Polet, the soon to be former CEO of Gucci Group, these three words are the DNA of the Gucci brand. Polet’s style of marketing is about brevity- define your brand in as few words as possible. In his case it’s three or less.

Polet’s arrival to the Gucci Group in 2004, was received with much skepticism from the fashion industry, but in the seven years since, Gucci has grown sales to more than $1.5 billion a year. Thanks to Polet Gucci is well placed for the luxury boom decade that is now in sight. The seven companies under the Gucci Group: YSL, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Sergio Rossi and Boucheron have also transformed from inefficiency and loss into profitable luxury brands.

Polet immediately recognized that Gucci and the seven sister companies were unsure of their identities. He set about working with each team to capture the essence of each brand with no more than three words.

Sergio Rossi defined itself as “Sexy and Comfortable”, Boucheron opted for “Precious and Mysterious”.

It’s easy to believe more words equals more brand impact. The opposite is true. Every added work makes it harder for the brain to remember the message. And you want your message remembered in order to influence behavior. If you think customers and even employees are going to clearly remember the paragraph (no matter how small you say it is) that defines your brand, think again. Even if only one out of the two/three words you use resonates with a customer, your brand is in a good place. In this case less is definitely more.

Anyone can position their brand with a slew of words, but it’s a work of art to capture the essence of a brand in only a few. But those few will be the ones that stick in customers’ minds, not the paragraph spewed on the About page.

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