Posts Tagged ‘Yves Saint Laurent’

HSN Jewelry Vendor, And Saint Laurent Cohort, Loulou De La Falaise Dies At Age 63

November 10, 2011

We were sad to read that Loulou de la Falaise, an HSN vendor and noted jewelry designer, passed away.

The New York Times ran an obit of her on Saturday with the headline “Loulou de la Falaise, a muse to Yves Saint Laurent, Dies At 63.” She died Saturday at her home in northwest France.

“Ms. de la Falaise was synonymous with the bohemian Left Bank world of Saint Laurent and with his 1970s-era entourage, whether it touched down for a weekend in Marrakesh or New York,” the obit said. “She was lean and radiantly beautiful, with a wedge of curly blond hair and a crackling laugh.”

One of Loulou's pieces for HSN

She worked for Saint Laurent for years, designing jewelry for him.

“In 2007, Ms. de la Falaise began to make costume jewelry for Oscar de la Renta,” The Times obit said. “She also created pieces for the Home Shopping Network.”

We enjoyed the offbeat jewelry that she brought to HSN, and enjoyed listening to her whenever she did an appearance on ths home shopping network.

HSN, which still has some of her items on its website, said this about her:

Loulou’s influence on couture and ready-to-wear fashion profoundly changed the industry. For more than 30 years, she was the muse for legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent. Yves revolutionized fashion as the first couture designer to create a ready-to-wear line, making designer style accessible and affordable for working women. Loulou was the source of inspiration and the brain behind his accessories.

“I met Yves through mutual friends. We had lots of fun together, and he must have liked what I did with clothes because one day he asked me to work with him [designing jewelry and accessories]. Then every day I would invent a new way of wearing the same clothes or use things gathered from the flea market … trying to be an inspiration to him, the studio, and myself,” Loulou says.

Yves was one of the first couturiers to put a strong emphasis on accessories, famously saying, “All one needs is a black turtleneck sweater, black trousers or skirt, and lots of chic and fun accessories!”

While at Yves Saint Laurent, Loulou and her work thrived in the limelight. She designed two couture, four ready-to-wear, and four license collections, as well as knits and hats.

Her reputation as a great luxury designer followed her when she opened a two-floor boutique across from the Ritz Paris. Now, her creations are coming to America from the worldwide fashion hub and will be sold exclusively at HSN.

The Loulou de la Falaise collection is for the “American woman seen through the Paris eye.” Loulou’s sophisticated and chunky designs were created for women who have what she calls “dash and dare” and those who like to entertain friends and family at home. Loulou has a lifetime of “dash and dare” memories, beginning in her childhood.

“My mother was born into a world of art and fashion,” Loulou says. “She made it her own world and shared it with me.”

Loulou’s mother introduced her to the New York fashion and arts scene, and Loulou later modeled for Vogue, designed prints for the iconic designer label Halston, and became friends with the most famous artists of the era, spending late nights at Studio 54 with the “Pope of Pop” Andy Warhol.

While Warhol is best known for his Campbell’s soup cans, Loulou is recognized for her signature wolf chomping on one of her favorite gemstones, either a pearl or a diamond. Loulou said she was drawn to the wolf because it is “untamable but faithful to his pack.” She also has a literal connection to her icon.

“Wolf in French is ‘loup,’ pronounced ‘lou,’ “she says. “So my name is wolf-wolf!”

Loulou believes that a woman’s favorite jewelry pieces become her lucky charms. Find your next talisman in the new Loulou de la Falaise jewelry collection.

QVC, HSN and ShopNBC Should Give Thanks For Home Shopping’s Sea Change: They’ve Attracted Luxury Brands Like Gucci, Badgley Mischka And Stephen Dweck

November 26, 2009

QVC CEO Mike George

We thought we were seeing things a few days ago when we checked ShopNBC’s Web site and saw that it was selling dozens of Gucci watches. What happened, did they fall off a truck? Why was Gucci, a premier luxury brand, being sold on a home shopping network?

Then back in October, we couldn’t believe it when a sharp-eyed poster on QVC’s jewelry forum said that upscale jewelry designer Stephen Dweck, whose chunky gemstone masterpieces are featured in Neiman Marcus, was on the No. 1 home shopping network’s schedule. THE Stephen Dweck?

We checked QVC’s program guide ourselves, and there it was: Dweck was doing a lower-priced jewelry line for QVC called Dweck’s Diamonds. His Neiman Marcus pieces didn’t even have diamonds. The high-end stuff is made with semi-precious stones.

Also in October, we were checking the press releases on HSN’s Web site when we saw the network had struck a deal with one of the most famous and elite fashion houses: Badgley Mischka, designers of bejeweled gowns for the red carpet and celebrities.

We’ve written bits and pieces of this during the past two months, but we thought we’d tie it all up in a tidy package for Thanksgiving: There has been a sea change in the home shopping world, prompted by the disastrous economy and the crash of the luxury market.

Yes, home shopping networks have seen their sales hurt by the economy, like everyone else. But they claim they are still managing to steal market share from brick-and-mortar retailers. In fact, QVC is making a full-frontal assault on them this Black Friday, with 28 hours of special products and programming stunts starting Thanksgiving night.

The consumer press will continue to mention “cubic zirconia” in every story it writes about QVC or HSN, oblivious to the fact that some of the most esteemed names in fashion, jewelry and cosmetics — brands you find in Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus — are plying their wares on the aforementioned home shopping channels.

ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart

Male journalists are blind to this. You still have the nerds at Gawker, a snide Web Site for the navel-gazing media, chiding HSN for selling “useless crap.”

If you have ever seen how male journalists dress or their fashion and style sensibilities, you will realize that you can’t expect them to know names like Badgley Mischka, Judith Ripka, Robert Lee Morris, our fellow Montclair, N.J., resident Bobbi Brown, Yves Saint Laurent, Smashbox, Lancome and Dweck. And these brands and artists don’t represent “useless crap.”

Luxury-good makers are hurting, and they need to make up their loss in sales. So they are turning to outlets like QVC, as CEO Mike George explained at a recent Liberty Media conference, as outlets to distribute new lower-priced lines to the masses. George cited fashion designer Vivienne Tam’s QVC alliance at the meeting held in Manhattan by his parent company, Liberty.

“This complete implosion of luxury retailing in America has caused all these folks to rethink their business model,” George said.

And that means partnering with QVC, HSN or ShopNBC.

As we said, it will take the consumer press years to figure out that home shopping channels are distribution powerhouses that have undergone a transformation, in part because of the infllux of talent like a Morris, who does couture jewelry for designers like Donna Karan and RLM Studio sterling silver jewelry for QVC.

The Big Three — QVC, HSN and ShopNBC — are aggressively trying to broaden their audience and potential customer base, those who don’t normally watch any of these three networks. That means the three are actually “programming” the channels, doing “shows” that have entertainment value, not just product shilling, so they will attract non-QVC or non-HSN watchers.

We remember once interviewing a QVC exec years ago and asking what the network’s ratings were. He said ratings were irrelevant: QVC was only concerned about how many products were sold in an hour.

HSN CEO Mindy Grossman

That’s a totally different tune from what we heard recently from QVC’s George, and from the strategies that HSN CEO Mindy Grossman and ShopNBC CEO Keith Stewart have initiated.

Like traditional TV networks, the home shopping players want viewers to “sample” a QVC or an HSN. These new audience members, hopefully, will then see products that they want to buy.

For example, singer Natalie Cole recently did a live concert on HSN to promote a new Holiday CD set she is selling on the channel. If you’re a fan, you might tune in to HSN to see her, and then actually decide to purchase her CD. Artists such
as Jose Feliciano have also performed live on QVC.

QVC alum Stewart on a recent third-quarter conference call pointed out that actress-entrepreneur Suzanne Somers, who came to ShopNBC from HSN, had succeeded in attracting new viewers to Minneapolis-based ShopNBC because she was “entertaining.” And these networks want new eyeballs.

And home shopping networks’ capacity to reach millions of consumers and do fulfillment of orders has not been lost on magazine publishers, celebrities or cable’s reality TV stars. With circulation falling, women’s magazines such as Lucky, Allure, Glamour and Self are partnering with HSN to sell subscriptions.

And stars have seen the light. In a recent interview in Oprah Winfey’s O magazine, Joan Rivers, who’s had a jewelry line on QVC for almost 20 years, told O she was on home shopping when “nobody except dead celebrities was doing merchandise on TV.”

Nowadays, it’s hard to find a celebrity or TV star who doesn’t have a home shopping line. Even Madonna was interviewed on HSN when she was selling her children’s book.

Here’s a partial list:

Paula Abdul, HSN, formerly “American Idol,” Fox

Rachel Zoe, QVC, “The Rachel Zoe Project,” Bravo

Isaac Mizrahi, QVC, “The Fashion Show,” Bravo

Padma Lakshmi, HSN, “Top Chef,” Bravo

Ramona Singer, HSN, “The Real Housewives of New York City,” Bravo

Susan Lucci, HSN, “All My Children,” ABC

Carson Kressley, QVC, “How to Look Good Naked,” Lifetime Television

Dr. Robert Rey, ShopNBC, “Dr. 90210,” E! Entertainment Television

Tori Spelling, HSN, “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood,” Oxygen

Paula Deen, QVC, Food Network

Rachael Ray, QVC, “The Rachael Ray Show,” syndication

Ingrid Hoffmann, HSN, Food Network and Univision

Home shopping is a big business. ShopNBC is the also-ran in the group, but in the third quarter Stewart made some nice progress cutting its losses. Sales for the Big Three were all down, but down less than previous quarters.

And we are not talking chump change for these networks. The three home shopping channels generated $8.3 billion in net revenue in 2008. QVC domestic posted $4.9 billion, HSN netted $2.8 billion and ShopNBC had $568 million.

Even with revenue still slipping this year, for the first nine months QVC had revenue of $3.308 billion; HSN had net sales of $1.4 billion; and ShopNBC had $372.6 million in net sales.

Happy Thanksgiving!