Margaret Thatcher – The Lady Who Strove to Serve the World.

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Margaret Thatcher was the female form of the “Churchillian” bulldog. A force of personality who stirred controversy overbreakfast, lunch, tea and dinner across the world that led the Russian press to ironically bestow her with the moniker “Iron Lady” – a mystery wrapped in an enigma was our M.T.  And don’t forget, (Aunt Spiker cried), she was our first female P.M! (M.P. would have rhymed better but that position was filled by Lady Nancy Astor in 1919)

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An Iron Lady before the Russians knew her, her determination and stamina knew no bounds – beginning as grocers daughter, earning a degree at Oxford in chemistry, dabbling as a barrister, elected as MP in 1959 and finally achieving what no woman had done before her. She possessed the keys to No.10 Downing street.
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She was a British bulldozer – our own Cold War Warrior; with her iron fists she accomplished lifting the “Iron Curtain” proving she would not desist, no matter the obstacle.  Meeting with President Gorbachev in December 1984, was the catalyst to begin negotiations with the Soviet Union and bring about the end of the Cold War. Her words, “we can do business together” formed a catalyst,  bringing the United States and Soviet Union to the negotiation table. The latter exhibits her savoir faire to act on initiative and appreciate the interests of both countries. Without Mrs. Thatcher its unlikely that President Reagan would have considered the thought of deliberations with General Secretary Gorbachev, who ruled what the U.S. President referred to as the “evil empire”.

Her domestic achievements included revitalising the British economy, emphasized deregulation, and lessened the authority of the trade and labor unions. Back over on the continent, she adamantly tried to prevent the very plague that is occupying Europe today, the Euro. Her support of the European Union was to ensure free trade and effective competition. One could say she was an augur who had her reasons and at times those reasons seemed harsh and cruel and resulted in negative situations. But she was of the people, for the people and like all humans, especially when placed into politics, people change and not always by choice.

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Margaret Thatcher was no fool nor a monster and was, I believe, demonstrably misunderstood and under-appreciated when she was in office and out. While at No. 10,  she not only battled those within Parliament, the Soviet Union, Falkland terrorism, the British economy, the people and lastly the press. Never before had a Prime Minister been the bunt of umteenmillion gaffes, cartoons, the monikers – the Milk Snatcher, Maggie, Attilla the Hen… a fetid of verbal and physical abuse. Yet she kept at her post and strove on as she had promised when elected. Her skin was akin to a medieval suite of armor – surviving the both Nazi and IRA bombs. Perhaps that was her undoing, that compromise was not a consideration.

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Mrs Thatcher was Great Britain’s 77th Prime Minister, succeeding James Callaghan (1976-1979), known for his little mess known as the “Winter of Discontent“. What comes as a shock is not the fact that she passed away, she was 87 and had been of poor health for sometime, but rather the British public’s reaction. Did people throw parties when Sir Anthony Eden died (ignited Suez Crisis), or Neville Chamberlain (Invasion of Poland) and while I’m at it, Stanley Baldwin and his major WW2 Hiccup. Politicians who could have perhaps help prevent World War 2, died without much more than a few hurrumps from some, and rather tainted images that are vaguely mentioned in the history books.

Its saddening to think, especially after such great unity and equanimity that we have shown as a country over the last few years (save for a few riots and other misconducts) that the world see’s how poorly certain citizens have reacted to the passing of one of our past Prime Ministers. Rather than mourn or be respectful, rejoicing proliferates.  In Brixton, Glasgow and Bristol street “death” parties took place – arrests were made, police officers injured and businesses damaged, all of which reveals nothing of her legacy but of the mind-state of those involved.
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The ANC (African National Congress) for whom Mrs. Thatcher had previously refused to recognise, as well her rebuff to isolate apartheid, published this statement which I believe says it all:

[Mrs. Thatchers] passing signal the end of a generation of leaders that ruled during a very difficult period characterized by the dynamics of the cold war. Her tenure as Prime Minister redefined British politics and public administration and these impacted greatly on the European politics and governance. The ANC was on the receiving end of her policy […] however we acknowledge that she was one of the strong leaders in Britain and Europe to an extend that some of her policies dominate discourse in the public service structures of the world. Long after her passing on, her impact will still be felt and her views a subject of discussion.[1]

For the people of Great Britain, and the rest of the world
may her passing call to mind a quote she once said:

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony.
Where there is error, may we bring truth.
Where there is doubt, may we bring faith.
And where there is despair, may we bring hope.

-St. Francis of Assisi

History of Mrs. Thatcher’s Downing Street Years in Film

Telegraph Documentary







BBC Documentary



Additional

[1] – http://allafrica.com/stories/201304090094.html

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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.

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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.