As Time Zooms By: Aston Martin

1915-aston-martin-coal-scuttle_100389581_mIts been 100 years since Lionel Martin and Robert Bamford came together to create one of the worlds most iconic automobile. The name Aston Martin came later with the joining of Mr. Martin’s name with the Aston Clinton Hillclimb where Bamford had many a victory. While the Aston Martin we know today isn’t a “10 cent” vehicle, it is interesting that the Aston Clinton Hill Climb was essentially drag racing up hill – think Fast and the Furious located amidst the refined Buckinghamshire countryside.

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Racing up hill seemed to act as a metaphor for the vehicle as, Martin and Bamford’s “special” car took the high road, and drove its way into our books, screens and into the record books, as James Bond’s other half for half a century.

The Aston Martin DB5 is akin to the brilliant grey steed, Silver, was to the Lone Ranger: his trusted companion. Both modes of transport were quite similar in a manner of speaking: an ejector seat and were apparently bullet proof,  and most importantly they kept their driver safe to fight another day.

aston-martin-db5-1963-james-bond-car1Although the DB5 has not been the sole mode of transport for Bond, there has been the Vantage, Vanquish and the DBS V12, the latter of which seemed to take a great beating in both Casino Royale and Quantom of Solace, non is as iconic as the 1963 DB5 (which has appeared in 7 Bond films spanning from 1964-2013).

I will admit that while watching  SkyFall in the cinema I made a rather loud uncharacteristic yelp followed by an expletive, when the DB5 was blown up.  Thankfully I was in Los Angeles and such external outbursts are common during a film.

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The Aston Martin’s Bond association isn’t the only fetching attraction; what’s under its bonnet is just as captivating.

I drove my first Aston Martin a year ago , and will gladly admit that my love of Bond (spanning now two decades) more than shifted my desire to grab onto one of their leather steering wheels. It was however, not the sole reason of choosing it over the other cars at my disposal: an Audi R8, Maclaren , Bugotti , Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari, Porshe 911 (you get the picture).  The experience was amazing, and the feeling while going 130km around a race track in a DBS V12 shall remain with me forever.

Part of me has wanted to drive this car because its part of my my heritage and that of the Aston Martin. It isn’t the fastest car our there, Jeremy Clarkson’s wet dream, nor Its not the top luxury or  an exclusive  vehicle unlike the Koenigsegg, and Spada’s of today. But its British and that’s what I am most proud of.

Here’s to a zippy 100 years, Aston Martin, and looking forward to what future you have to offer us.

Did You Know?

The original DB Mark III that appeared in Ian Flemming’s Goldfinger, later to be replaced by the notorious DB5 in Broccolli’s 1964 the film adaptationimages

Aston Martin Through the Ages

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From Lion to Kitten: PPR to KERING

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PPR (Pinault-Printemps-Redoute) changed its official name to Kering. Not old news, but, it’s been palaver, and I’ve been  scratching my brain to understand the refashion of their image. The world of fashion has always been known for its  un-kering demeanor – no one has ventured into the business knowing that there were going to be fluffy puppies, rainbows and people gushing “its ok to make a mistake poppet, don’t you fret, have a cup of tea” if you didn’t get a second to iron a crucial piece before it’s strut down the runway. No. Fashion is an iron fist, wrapped in chain mail within in a silk couture glove. Vintage of course.  PPR, or my moniker for it, Power, Power, Roar – holds major subsidiaries such as, Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Brioni, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney, Sergio Rossi, Boucheron, Girard-Perregaux, JeanRichard, Qeelin, Puma, Volcom, Cobra, Electric and Tretorn….I say again Power, Power, Roar.

Unless you read François-Henri Pinault’s reasoning behind the company’s metamorphosis – which won’t be solidified until June 18, 2013- one wonders where the flip originated from. Regardless the entire transformation just prompts my recollection of ITV’s Twenty Twelve.

(Siobhan in Marketing)

The Name: Kering

“First and foremost, Kering can be pronounced as ‘caring’ in English, which expresses our company culture of taking care of our brands, people, stakeholders and the environment. The suffix ‘-ing’ expresses the idea of movement, one of the constants in the Group’s history, as well as its international dimension. The stem ‘ker’, meaning home in Breton, is a proud reminder of our origins in the Brittany region of France.”
That’s touching, if you’re a non-profit.

The Image: The Owl
“[…] the owl, represents vision, as well as being a sign of wisdom. A discreet and protective animal, it is a powerful symbol for a Group that spots potential and guides and nurtures its brands and people.
To be honest I thought it was a fairy – or a flower with a face.
Side-note: Owls sleep through the day, and then parties at night.

The Signiture (tag line): Empowering Imagination
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“[…]places imagination at the heart of our business, enabling us to create value in the widest sense. At Kering, we encourage and take care of imagination to push our brands and teams to new limits, to create, innovate and realise their artistic and financial potential – in the most sustainable manner.”

– Why hire a doctor to write it?  Find someone whose penmanship can be coherently read.
Otherwise one just reads Sug@mation.

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Sustainability

PPR/Kering is the forefront of  questioning regarding their transformation and not their “consultants” 
Brand strategy and signature: Dragon Rouge
Visual identity (name, logo), graphic universe and website: Havas Lifestyle
Launch campaign: TBWA\Corporate

If you know the marketing world, then one is familiar with the phrase “the client is God”.
If you aren’t familiar, watch a few episodes of Mad Men.

Many companies have been  revamping their image as of late; trying to change the old into something new but, that isn’t always needed. Nor does it produce positive results.

Kering Press Kit

Good Bye Bond Street – Hello, Vegas

It’s been confirmed, Bond Street is to be transformed into the into version of the Dubai Mall (minus the aquarium). While there are some that cannot wait to explore the insides of the super-sized multistory stone-and-glass walls’ of the new Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Fendi, Ermenegildo Zegna and Belstaff stores, I for one could wait. For a very long time. Do we need to install a Causeway Bay, Last Vegas strip in London? There is already Knightsbridge, Sloane street, Oxford Street, Regent street, Harrods?

Are we catering to those who own Harrods and Harvey Nicks? Who could in a shot could jet out and fly out have an aperitif whilst orbiting the moon, and be back in time for dinner?

Look how it turned out for 101 Champs-Élysées. Catastrophe.

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What Happened To You? J.Crew

J.Crew, a melange of fashion that continues to wander about the fashion world aimlessly – like a child who has just stepped into Harrods for the first time. This season, it certainly exhibited its diffidence and inability to draw upon the already established fashion houses as inspiration. There was a reason why Liberty and Lilly (Pulitzer) never merged, courted, or even met. And the reason is all within J.Crews “Collection” for Spring 2013.
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To recreate what has already been done for decades is a difficult feat to take on, but its knowing whether one should, there in lies the question.

FAUX-PAS

The Embroided Daisy Shirt: Five words: PLEASE DON’T WEAR THE DAISIES. There is perhaps person in the world could pull it off: Doris Day. (and I mean, perhaps)  And it just reminds me of an old ladies swim cap.
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The Bright Hydrangea – Hummingbird Print – The models face says it all.
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Color Block Print – One could jockey in the Palio di Siena with these trousers. All that’s missing is the horse and a bridle (no saddle in this race!) The Swiss Guard wear more symmetry.

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Bazaar Print –
No point in beating that into the ground.
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What perhaps muddles J.Crew, is not the cuts or the styles, but their choice of madcap prints, sequenes, and colours. J.Crew was always the store to rely on if you needed a simple Oxford blouse, Chino blazer, some nice capris (remember the Minnie pant?) – items that you could then add to with accessories or other brands. You could mix and match, but most of all it was reliable. Ask any prep-school(er) and they’ll tell you that at least 1/4 of their closet was J.Crew.
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Secondly, or thirdly (I’ve lost count) by selling classics, that are well known, as “uncommon finds” propels an air of naiveté on their part. Solodus, Comme des Garçons, Barbour, Saint James, Tretorn – are not surreptitious discoveries. They are already somewhat commonplace and, for those who know their salt, are already somewhere in our closet.

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I charge J.Crew to dig deeper, don’t reveal the pyramids, we know they are there, but go beyond. If its a boutique they want to be and the idea is there then they must try harder at discovering brands that perhaps are not already established but are on the cusp. Discovering their niche is akin to the undoing of a Gordian knot. But it must be done.

I wonder which way J.Crew will go next , I wonder, don’t you?

More Examples:

AbFab– Didn’t realise just how much influence Edwina actually had within the J.Crew world. Her and Ms. Selfridges.
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The Tatler List, or Why Not To Take Drugs and Write At The Same Time

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Titler, I mean, Tatler, published their “It List – The People Who Really Matter”, and I fear that someone(s) need a good hose down with ice cold water to bring them back to reality. Now Tatler is not the Economist or Foreign Affairs, and good thing to, for there there would be no fun involved when flipping through its glossy pages. With its juicy,sometimes, educational articles and the Bystander, one isn’t miffed that the latest news on North Korea’s nuclear progress has been omitted. However, it does have an obligation to its readers to have its stilettos somewhere on the ground, otherwise, we can all go read the Sun (I’d rather walk around London naked than read the latter).

Not to make too much of a meal with this so called “It List” just a handful points that need addressing:

1. Having the Queen numbered at #17
2. Having the Queen below Romeo & Victoria Beckham, Zac Goldsmith, The Delevinge’s, Cary Mulligan and husband – just to name 7 out of the 16.
3. Why is Romeo Beckham #1, when there is a spot at #568?
4. Where in the top 100 are the athletes that won Britain our biggest Olympic gold rush to date?  ( Zara Phillips, silver medalist, #184?)
5. Hasn’t Prince Harry been serving in Afghanistan – why is he at 54? Was his ex-girlfriend (Chelsy Davy #4?!?!) and supposed current (Cressida Bonas #27) partaking in enterprises with greater significance?

I do realise that this is tongue-in-check business but, after such a stunning 2012, where it seemed that the UK grew so much as a nation that Tatler could progress a bit, and take itself in this respect seriously. Creating the list should require more than just browsing through celebrity gossip website and publications, unless the magazine is searching for new readership. Expanding one’s niche to the demographic of those who enjoy the Daily Mail and Sun could end up with no parties to go to.

Tatler, you must be having the one, and only laugh – noone else is.

Absolutely Fabulous Splashes onto the Big Screen

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How Fabulous Darling, its Absolutely Official:
Edina and Patsy are back, and BIGGER THAN EVER!
(which is huge considering Patsy’s non-existent eating habit)

Oh how I have missed Pats viciously sharp tongue that slices like a drunk Samuri,  Edina’s prodigious penchant for Lacroix clothing (that I am positive can induce seizures). And last but not least, proving just how paramount PR is to the survival of the human race.

I can’t wait for their wheels to start burning up again,
go rolling down the road,
and explode onto the big screen

Cheers, Sweetie
and

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Best of Britain A-Z(ed): A

AGATHA CHRISTIE

There’s more to the ‘Queen of Mystery’ than her little Belgium detective and spinster sleuth.

Add her other works such as Towards Zero, And Then There Were None and They Came to Baghdad to your library ASAP!

More Agatha Christie: Here

Alexander McQueen
(coming soon)

Anya Hindmarch
Also known as being ‘Not A Plastic Bag’, (just joking) – but, we all remember 2007 as the year we walked around with our shopping causing all those plastic users to go underground and shrink into the shadows. Opening her bags in 1991, AH now has a brimming collection for every occasion: a night on the town, a night in with the girls, a night with the baby, in town or out in the country, or out of the country – there is a bag. A.H. has also launched a Bespoke line that one can safely say has the potential (if hasn’t already started to) to ruffle a few pages over at Smythson!
*And on a marketing note, I quite enjoyed the ‘I Spy’/Jubilee theme for her Spring/Summer campaign!

BAGS
This season ‘The Bruton’appears to be the ‘must have’ but, I’d stay away from white this coming summer (esp. if you are attending our forthcoming Games – you’re sure to end up with a brown or black bag come autumn. The Nevis
The Mini Gracie
BESPOKE
The Two-Way Journal (love the silver pen!)

ASPREY
Bling, that comes in all shapes and sizes you most definitely want to get your hands on. Always can be relied on and always classy (even in those not to classy situations)

Aquascutum
Not the first stop for items not of the outdoor variety i.e. the mackintosh however, they are gradually beginning to show a bit more leg, and leave the Baby Boomer kit to oneside. Worth consideration, but proceed with caution.
A nice outfit but loose the bag and the shoes.

Perhaps they should chose a model that
can at least pretend she feels comfortable
in front of the camera.