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BUSINESS OF FASHION 2 (CREATIVE BRAND MANAGEMENT AND MARKETING) ROCHELLE LAMBOURN (B5022366)

VIONNET MARKETING STRATEGY


“When a woman smiles, the dress must smile with her� Madeliene Vionnet

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CONTENTS Product Areas

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Bags

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Shoes

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Clothes

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Accessories

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Fragrance

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Celebrity Endorsement

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Vionnet’s Celebrity Endorser

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Collaboration

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Product

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Collaborative products

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Packaging

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Strategic Plan

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Vionnet Today

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Critical Factors of Success

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Iconic Products

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Brands Identity & Positioning

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Product/ Collaboration

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Communication Mix

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References

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PRODUCT AREAS

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BAGS/LUGGAGE F or many consumers luxury bags are those statement pieces that add that extra bit of beauty to your outfit. But why do most gravitate

towards certain brands? And why do these brands sell so well? Chanel is a brand that is so iconic to everyone in the fashion industry and is one of the world’s second largest luxury brands according to Marsh (2016). For many buying a luxury handbag is seen as an investment piece, it’s a well-known fact that when you purchase a Chanel handbag they will only increase in price. Every year the price of the classic quilted bag increases, that means if looked after the bag could be sold second hand and the consumer would most likely receive a similar price to what they purchased it for. Chanel is so well established and this is a key factor for its success. Their promotional strategies involve advertising over a range of different channels including social media, television and magazines. They also use celebrities to endorse their products and usually have the same celebrity reoccurring through out their campaigns.

The handbag market currently applies to Vionnet, although they have a limited amount of styles they are currently sold as a product. However Chanel is a worthy brand for Vionnet to follow in their footsteps, they offer a wide variety of handbag styles in different sizes, colours and materials. They are also well known for an Iconic handbag; this is how Vionnet misses an avenue of revenue. They do not have a product that is iconic to the brand, Vionnet is well known as the innovator for the Bias cut. But the brand does not offer a product that is a timeless iconic creation. There is also a possibility for Vionnet to become more relevant and expand into the luggage sector. Increasingly luxury brands are introducing luggage as an option for its consumers. For example Chanel and Louis Vuitton currently offer their consumers this choice.

However another luggage/handbag brand that sells well is Raden. Although the brand is not well established, after four months of it opening they released a luxury luggage collection that received sales of over $52 million from their website and showroom alone. Customers are attracted to the simplicity of the brand; there are only two products at the moment selling and they retail for $295 and $395, which is pricey for luggage. Yet the bags feature built in chargers, an integrated weighing scale and sensors that allow consumer to check their bags location via an app. These luxury companies are both selling the same products, but Chanel is well established and has been around for years, however Raden was only established a few years ago. Raden realised there was an opening in the market for luxury luggage that did more then carry consumer’s personal belongings around, these products are targeted at the well travelled and digital savvy consumers. According to Hoang (2016) the luxury goods market in 2016 is expected to reach $4.3 billion and is predicted to grow by 16 per cent over the next four years to $5 billion.

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SHOES

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world” Marilyn Monroe

Sindicate hoes are often beautiful and sculptural objects that can regularly the wearer’s social and economic status. Aquazzura is one

AQUAZZURA

KURT GEIGER

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of the fastest growing self-financed luxury footwear brands in recent years due to its 350 stockists sold globally to stores like Barney’s New York, Net-a-porter and matchesfashion.com. This has led to them almost triple their business and production of footwear over the past two years. According to Hoang (2016) market sources estimate that the annual revenue for the company is $20 million however Aquazzura did not want to disclose any information on this matter. One of the many reasons why the brand does so well is because they want their consumers at the forefront at all times, Osorio (2016) quoted “We are always interested in listening to our girls. What they want, what they need, they don’t even necessarily need to tell you. They tell you without telling you”. Their brand strategy involves them being very precise; every step is clearly mapped out and executed impeccably. The company’s success came at a very important time, according Hoang (2016) last year the luxury footwear market sector grew by 4.4 per cent and reached $28 billion. Social media also plays a big part in the brands success, Aquazzura launched just as social media and street style were exploding. At the beginning they used all of their funds to make the actual shoes, this jeopardized the advertising aspect. So the pair simply put the shoes on the right girls and they were photographed, which then went viral. (Fashion, 2016) Another shoe brand that is also dominating the luxury shoe market sector is Kurt Geiger, according to Taylor (2016) Kurt Keiger doubled its core earnings for the year to December 31st, 2015 to $20.4 million. The company has a large private investment backer called Cinven, this equity firm acquires successful companies to help them grow and develop. This could potentially be the reason the Geiger sells so well. They are a well-established brand and many people know about them. However having a large equity firm backing the company has possibly given the brand that extra funding and push they needed to be at the forefront of the luxury market sector. Kurt Geiger is also heavily reliant on celebrity endorsements; they often use supermodels such as Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid to promote their footwear. According to Kurt Geiger’s buying and creative director “A popular personality wearing the best statement shoe in the media translates into immediate sales” Which is a business proposal that brand takes very seriously. There brand also heavely featured in magazines, mainly high end luxury editorial. Although Vionnet has a higher price range than Kurt Geiger, its important that the brand takes into account how they promote their product. Currently Vionnet does not have a celebrity endorser promoting their brand and this could potentially be where the brand is going wrong. On the other hand Aquazurras price range is similar to Vionnet. Currently Aquazzuras footwear retails from £400 and upwards, which is similar to Vionnet’s prices. At the moment Vionnet sells trainers and they retail from £460 to £730, so Aquazurra would be a key footwear brand to take into consideration if Vionnet were to expand footwear.


IMAGE FROM: PINTE REST

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CLOTHES Iaccessories n terms of Luxury goods, the largest type of personal goods is with it dominating 29% of the market share. However, the second largest is apparel taking 25% of the market. (Mintel, 2015)

One particular brand that’s doing well in this market is Gucci. This particular brand a few years back was not a popular choice for consumers. But in 2015 Alessandro Michelle became creative director and completely revamped Gucci. The brands downfall was that it had been disguising its heritage; however, Michelle delved into Gucci’s archives and simply reinvented the heritage of the brand. There’s a fairy-tale attached to purchasing the garments created. When consumers buy the apparel there essentially buying into the creative mind of Michelle. A strong brand identity is also vital to Gucci’s success, they are known for their high-end luxury goods and their classic Gucci logo. Fashion evolution proves that people wanted to be slick, symmetrical and perfect, now people want to express their individuality. The brand speaks to people’s actual true desire to be unique. Gucci also uses celebrities as leverage for the brand; being one of the most popular brands at the moment when a celebrity wears Gucci the photos go viral. Everything about Gucci at the moment is excellent, the Public relations, the amount of accessibility, celebrity endorsement and street style endorsement. After a Korean survey that showed Gucci as the most popular luxury brand to be purchased online. According to Halliday (2016) Gucci has risen by 15 per cent this year on the most wanted list compared to last year, one because of its new influential status but also for its marketing spend. This has led to more print magazines feeling like they should give the brand more coverage. In keeping with brands that belong to the Kering group Saint Laurent is another brand excelling in the apparel sector of the fashion industry. Today its one of fashions most prominent fashion houses of the 21st century. The brand offers a wide range of female and male ready-towear apparel. In July Kering (2015) announced revenues of €547.9m in a half-year report, which is 24.2 per cent up. Similar to Gucci Saint Laurent is a heritage brand. So when Vaccarello first became the creative director he used Saint Laurent’s archives to help him revive the brand. Their creative advertising techniques involve using older models; in 2015 they announced seventy-one year old Joni Mitchell as the new face of their campaign, which was a music project. This is not the first time Saint Laurent has used an older model for an advertising campaign; however for some using models is a controversial issue. But it clearly worked for YSL! Social media also plays a big part in the brands advertising strategies; photographs of their new collections and campaigns are released onto their Instagram page prior to their release in print magazines. Furthermore Saint Laurent will only increase in popularity within the apparel market as they are tapping into the heritage of the brand and introducing iconic pieces from YSL that were released in the 1980’s.

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Unlike Vionnet, Gucci and YSL understand that focusing on keeping products iconic to a brand is important for them in succeeding. For example they both have introduced collections that involved them using the brands archives as a resource. This has proved successful for Gucci especially! Another important factor to consider is that Gucci and YSL both cater to the Asian market; according to Mintel (2015) Chinese tourists travelling outside and inside Asia have been identified as one of the main drivers of the ocean-cruise market. This is fuelled by the increasing affordability and reduced travel restrictions. Vionnet currently has not utilized the Middle Eastern and Asian market to their advantage, as there online service does not offer this shipping option. This could potentially be where Vionnet would need to expand their clientele.


IMAGES FROM GOOGLE

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ACCESSORIES A

ccessories are produced to be a separate to what a person is wearing; the objective of them is to complement the wearer’s fashion. Accessories cover a broad spectrum of products, from bags to broaches. According to Mintel (2015) costume jewellery counts for the second largest sector behind handbags in the accessory market place. However they have forecasted that in 2018 the fashion accessory market will grow by 30% and reach £3.2 billion. The market will then be driven by fashion trends and the rising numbers of 25-34 year olds who will start to dominate purchases. With Michael Kor’s introducing wearable technology to their products, it has allowed them to have dominance in the luxury accessory market sector. In autumn 2016 the brand will introduce a smartwatch range that is focussed on style and innovation for the fashion-conscious consumer who wants to stay connected. According to Mintel (2015), Kor’s watches have fared well among female shoppers, particularly watches. In 2004 Kor’s began to license there watches to Fossil, they were then available in Michael Kor’s retail stores and wholesale customers. As a marketing strategy this worked well for the brand, it created products that were more affordable to the everyday consumer. This includes their accessories for the MICHAEL Michael Kor’s collection, which is a collection that focuses on accessories and is more affordable. As a brand Michael Kor’s is known for constant changes and innovation in new collections. The ideas, inspirations and designs are constantly evolving. Their customer experience is a number one priority; a luxury experience is the main priority. However by licensing their products does this contradict this? Another factor that enhances the brand is the fact that Kor’s is up to date with technology. This in tern works well with the social media platforms the brand features on; they are constantly posting on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. The brand is quick to adapt to new platforms of promotion, this essentially is why the brand is doing so well. Vionnet currently only sells a small amount of accessories to their consumers, the brand offers a small selection of bracelets, earing and key chains. They retail from £110 to £300 and they only offer a limited amount of styles. This particular area is one that Vionnet does not need to expand on, the main focus for the brand should be on the apparel. Accessories are an added area of Vionnet that is a distraction from the main product.

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FRAGRANCE

Approximately the same proportion of women and men often buys fragrance and aftershave. However prestige lines have fared better then fragrances that are part of the mass market, well-known brands are seeing a decrease in their sales as their perfumes are being sold at discounted rates. Chanel has recently released a new Chanel No. 5 L’Eau scent that apparently is similar to the original No.5 but is aimed at a younger audience and presents a fresher scent that isn’t so sophisticated. Recently Chanel has tried to emphasize its entry level products by introducing millennial and generation Z ambassadors for the brand, with their social media savviness they can create more brand awareness. Chanel’s perfumes are a symbolism of eternal femininity, it’s not simply one of the bestselling perfumes in the world, it’s a work of art that was released by the women who selected it and it was a woman’s embodiment for more than half a century. One of the reasons for the success of the fragrance is ‘mystery’ according to Jacques Polage the houses perfumer. No single essence of the perfume should stand out; a perfume should be instantly recognizable and unique. The second reason is the ‘quality’ most of the fragrances natural components have never been changed since it was created, until now. However the most expensive component the perfume has is Jasmine and at the time of the perfumes creation Chanel wanted as much as possible in the fragrance. (Bott, 2007)

Armani is another luxury company that has brought their fragrance into a niche market. Luxury houses now want to make their fragrances more exclusive, for example brands like Roja Dove and Guerlain offer their consumers custom made fragrances priced at around £30,000. However there is a separate market for this and definitely one for Fragrances priced in the hundreds rather than the thousands. This offers their consumers a sense of exclusivity, in doing this Armani can then offer their customers a collection of scents that are essentially be-spoke and fitted to the customer’s needs. Armani’s fragrance is called Privé it allows the perfume to have the best ingredients and to have more freedom of creation. Fisher (2015) quoted “In 2015, Niche fragrances represented 4 per cent of total Fragrance value sales, but contributed to 69 per cent of the growth”. This sector of the market proves that they have continuously been showing a strong performance. Armani have made it clear that their prestige perfume only include a few ingredients at the most twenty to twenty five unlike the mass of fragrances that have a few hundred. It’s also actually harder to reduce the amount of ingredients involved in a fragrance, hence why the price point is increases. (Fury, 2016) Currently Vionnet does not have a fragrance, however this could be a crucial aspect that the brand is missing out on. Fragrances appeal to a mass market, if the average consumer does not have a high income but wants to buy into luxury, purchasing a brands perfume allows them to have a small part in the luxury lifestyle. Vionnet is high-end luxury and not everyone can afford an item from the brand, so introducing a fragrance to the brand could widen the consumer appeal. However they could also introduce a line of fragrances that are only available in a niche market, which would add exclusivity to the brand similar to Armani.

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CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT T oday certain brands choose to utilize celebrities as their brand endorsers; this is one of their many marketing strategies. The purpose of this report is to analyse and evaluate why brands use celebrity endorsements as a means of promoting the brand. It will look at case studies that will provide examples of when companies have got their celebrity endorsements right and wrong. It will also include an understanding of Shimps (2003) TEARS model and no TEARS model.

Why use celebrities?

In the early 1930’s advertising started to play an active role in developing the economy and society. Celebrities acted as spokespersons for companies to help promote products, services and ideas. Many of these celebrities came from the art scene, sports, modelling and the movie industry. Today the industry uses a similar technique; brands use celebrities that are constantly in the public eye, which are more than likely models or actors. Promoters depending on the specific marketing needs at the point in time use these celebrities in a multitude of ways. Today’s celebrity fashion relatives extend to Hollywood’s’ highest paid actresses to “wannabee” reality TV stars, all of which fit into a specific niche with the fashion brands. According to McCracken (1989) Celebrity endorsement can be defined as “an individual who enjoys public recognition and who uses this recognition on behalf of a consumer good by appearing with it in an advertisement”. Celebrities are well-known personalities that are known in the public eye for their accomplishments in other areas besides product endorsement.

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TEARS model and no TEARS approach

But how do companies choose a celebrity to endorse their brand/ product? This involves stereotyping and endorser, Shimps TEARS model and the no TEARS approach will help to understand these factors. Stereotyping involves designing a role that impersonates a stereotype rather than reality. An example of this type of stereotyping is only using females in a cleaning advert. Shimp (2003) believes that credibility and attractiveness is important when it comes to deciding how effective an endorser may be. The first attribute refers to the belief or trust of someone, when an endorser is believed to be credible the attitude of the audience around them changes. The T in the TEARS model refers to trust, so is the endorser believable? And are they someone that consumers can trust. If the celebrity is endorsing the product for selfinterest the persuasive effect will be lower than if the audience sees them 11. as having nothing to gain from endorsing the brand. The audience’s perception is the key driver in the success of an endorsement. The second component of the model is expertise; this explains whether the endorser has specific skills, knowledge or abilities that are related to the company. However this is irrelevant, it’s unimportant whether the endorser is an expert or not. If the audience perceive the endorser as an expert it is more likely to change the consumer’s opinion. Identification occurs through attraction, this is the third component of the model and the second general attribute. If a member of the brands audience takes a liking to the endorser, persuasion will occur. This is essentially identification, the consumer will more than likely to adopt the endorser’s behaviours, attitudes and interests if they find the endorser attractive. However some celebrities necessarily will not have accomplished much in the public eye, but their physical attractiveness can sell the product on its own. How much is the endorser respected? This is the fourth component. A respected celebrity endorser can improve a brand just by the positive effect the consumers may get. Respect represents the amiability due to one’s personal qualities and accomplishment’s. Nevertheless celebrities can lose this respect quickly an example of this is Rick Ross and Reebok, in April 2013 Reebok ended their partnership wit Ross due to concerns about lyrics that were on one of his tracks that condoned rape. Reebok reported “Reebok holds our partners to a high standard and we expect them to live up to the values of our brand” although the rapper continued to wear Reebok products describing his relationship with the brand as “super cool” from an interview with the Huffington Post live (2014). The final component of the TEARS model is similarity, how does the endorser match the audience in terms of their age, gender and social class etc. Shimp (2003) says that this is an important factor because consumers tend to like people more that share the same characteristics. The more the endorser matches the audience’s expectations the more trustworthy they are.

The no TEARS approach

The no TEARS approach explains how companies select particular endorsers to match with their brand. It’s essentially a tool that helps advertisers select the right celebrity that will not result in a downfall from making a bad decision. There are fundamentally eight factors that the no TEARS model involves. The first factor being Celebrity and audience match up, primarily this is probably one of the most important factors that a company has to consider. Advertisers have to consider if picking a certain celebrity will target their market positively and whether they are able to relate to their consumer? For example choosing an athlete for a sportswear brand, this would match with the celebrity’s career and personality.

Celebrity and brand matchup is the second component to consider, a celebrity’s image must match with the brands values and decorum. For example if a brands image is sexy, then they want someone that has this attribute so a catwalk model or an actor such as Margot Robbie would fit in with this image. Linking back with how trustworthy celebrities are, Celebrity credibility is when the endorser has knowledge of the brand or the product. This makes them the best person to convince the company’s audience that their product or service is the best one for them. In other words celebrity credibility is important when determining how effective the endorser is. Similar to the TEARS model a company has to consider Celebrity attractiveness, however it’s multifaceted and physical attractiveness is not the only element they have to take into consideration. Another important factor is Cost considerations how much does it actually cost to use that particular celebrity as an endorsement service? This is dependent on the company’s long-term financial situation. If everything is held constant, it’s better for them to use a less expensive celebrity over a more costly alternative. On the other had when an expensive celebrity is being decided on the company will carry out a cost-benefit analysis. This is essentially to see if using an expensive celebrity can be justified in terms of revenue. What many consumers don’t realise is, when selecting a celebrity endorser a brand must think of the working ease and difficulty factors. Some celebrities are easy to work with and there are those who are difficult, stubborn and noncompliant. Companies are hesitant to work with celebrities that are difficult, so prefer to choose people who are ‘hassle free’. Brands like to have a celebrity associated with their brand, so saturation is another factor that should be considered. How many brands is that one particular celebrity endorsing? Are they overexposed? The celebrity’s credibility might be at stake. The final factor companies have to think of is the trouble factor how likely is it that the celebrity will get into trouble while endorsing the brand? This is a risk many companies have to take and to also think what potential negative effects it will actually have on the brand. For example Nicole Kidman was featured on an advertising campaign for United Arab Emirates’ Eithad airways and this did not go down very well. The company had previously been slated for imposing abusive labour practices on female employees. This led to more bad press on the company. The Vampire effect also applies to the trouble factor, for every company that uses a celebrity to endorse their brand or a product there is always a risk that the celebrity will overshadow the actual brand. Rather than enhancing the brand and helping to sell the product, the celebrity will reduce the effectiveness of the advert. They are essentially sucking the life out of the brand and the audience will then remember the celebrity and the product is forgotten about. An example of this is the Super bowl according to Smith, J (2014) the average celebrity recognition was 78% for the adverts, while the actual recognition for the Super bowl was 28%. Celebrities from the likes of Drake, Terry Crews and Kim Kardashian have featured on a Super Bowl ad. The ads provide evidence that in some cases they do better in gaining celebrity exposure rather than generating notice of the brand.

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V

IONNET’S CELEBRITY END

Consumers are constantly bombarded with messages that are persuading them to change their attitudes towards certain things. These persuasion techniques range from logical arguments to intimidation from peers or brand promotion from celebrity spokespeople. Currently this is Vionnet’s disadvantage; they do not have a celebrity at the forefront of their brand. Their Instagram account features images of celebrities in the brands gowns on red carpets, however there is no real endorser. Few brands are starting to distance themselves from using celebrities in their ad campaigns and are moving forward to a more creative approach. Some will even begin to avoid human presences all together. However Vionnet could benefit from involving a celebrity status to the brand, Vionnet herself was a big believer in using a celebrity to wear her apparel. She even took inspiration from celebrities of her time, for example Isodora Duncan a performer took to the stage in 1906 dancing in bare feet, without a corset or a bra. This was a sensation at the time and she essentially inspired Vionnet to create her first Doucet collection. One celebrity that matches with the whole persona of Vionnet is Sophie Turner, with the brand appealing to a young to middle age audience she is a perfect fit for the house. She has recently featured on the front covers of ‘Self’ and ‘The Edit’ magazine and has received numerous nominations for awards. As the brand is dated, Turner’s quirky style would add a new fresh take on the Parisian fashion house. Turner herself has recently gained a lot of positive press from her roles in Game of Thrones and X-Men. Her celebrity status would attract new attention and potentially a younger audience of consumers to Vionnet. Turner is also a young up and coming actress that has an enthusiastic approach towards fashion and this has not gone unnoticed.

Summary

It is clear when using Shimp (2003) TEARS and no TEARS model that celebrity endorsement is an ingenious way for advertisers to appeal to their audience. However after researching into examples of when companies get their celebrity right and wrong, it’s clear that there are a lot of other various factors that go into choosing a celebrity.

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DORSER

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VIONNET’S COLLABORATION


W hen a brand wants to create awareness of a new product or their business they often introduce a collaboration of some sort as one of

their marketing strategies. The technique can also be used as a tactic of targeting a new audience. This often relates to how consumers tend to focus on uniqueness and interchangeable values when purchasing a product. However, there are often various reasons as to why a brand collaborates, usually when a designer/brand collaborates they are creating a luxury experience for their consumers. If they were to focus on collaborating with another designer, photographer or artist it would help differentiate them from their rivals. Which in turn would allow them to stand out with their own design style, gaining a competitive edge. (Cope & Maloney, 2016) Brand collaborations are a perfect way to increase revenue. They may work well with consumers but can potentially have quite the opposite effect on a luxury brand. A collaboration could possibly weaken the status of a company among its existing clientele. An example of this is luxury and high-street collaborations, exclusivity is the cornerstone of what creates a luxury product. When a luxury brand associates itself with a high-street brand its essentially defeating the purpose of its existence. The idea of a collaboration is to take a brand to a new level that neither the brand or designer could achieve on their own, or alternatively it utilizes the power of branding to change the meaning and perception. (Cope and Maloney 2016)

T hrough extensive research it is clear that the future of fashion will involve more technology as the year’s progress. Fashion brands like

Zara, Ralph Lauren and Levi’s are already incorporating technology into their stores and products, along with many other brands. According to Mintel (2016) Levi’s introduced ‘The live music project’ in a bid to drive engagement with younger consumers, this involved putting music at the forefront. The project involved partnering with various celebrities from the music community to unveil a music education programme that supports youth culture and communities around the world. We now belong to a digital age; the moving image truly transforms the way fashion brands communicate with their customers. Short fashion films are one of the most engaging immediate ways to propel inspirations and moods beyond traditional print campaigns. The medium has been used for a number of year from the likes of Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin and Steven Meisel. They all have utilized the aesthetics of cinema, wanting to outline a new visual language for fashion by introducing movement and time. Fashion film will be Vionnet’s strategy to place them at the forefront of the fashion industry, their spring/summer 2018 collaboration will involve them collaborating with Nick Knight. As one of the world’s most influential and visionary photographers, Knight is known for having a commitment to experimenting with the latest technologies. This was where his idea for SHOWstudio came from in 2000, in Knight’s own words “showing the entire creative process from conception to completion”. Knight himself is now recognised as one of the leading forces behind the new innovative medium. One of Vionnet’s first initial inspirations for a fashion film came from Miu Miu’s series of short films called ‘Women’s tales’. The series was launched in 2012 in partnership with the Venice film festival, its aim was to pay homage to the modern woman. The project involves distinctive female filmmakers with different intellectual backgrounds that will explore the feminine love affair with Miu Miu. Vionnet focused her designs around women, she wanted to celebrate the natural female body shape. She was the innovator of the bias cut, which introduced fluidity into garments. That is why Fashion film and Vionnet are a cohesive match for a collaboration. (Miu Miu.com, Llanos 2012)

THE PRODUCT The Spring/Summer 2018 collection will introduce five distinctive bias cut dresses inspired from the archives of Vionnet’s work. The dresses will essentially be a classic Vionnet design with a modern twist. The size ranges for the garments will start from a UK size four to sixteen and will be manufactured from materials such as silk and viscose. The modern twist will in-turn come from the collaboration with Knight, Vionnet have chosen to feature one of Knights previous exhibitions called ‘Flora’ into their designs. Constantly challenging the conventional notions of beauty, Knight has reinterpreted the boundaries of contemporary fashion photography. Not only does Knight collaborate with an array of luxury designer brands but he also works on numerous personal projects, one of which is Flora. Knight’s installation of ‘Plant Power’ in 1933 at the Natural history museum involved choosing plants from the museums six million specimens, to create a collection (Llanos, 2012). Fifteen years later Knight produced and released Flora a limited edition portfolio from the original forty-six specimens he captured for the book. The compositions showcase fresh and beautiful poised simplicity, which contradicts the complex bias cut designs of Vionnet’s gowns. Although the designs are intricate the Knight’s art fits harmoniously with the elegance that projects from the gowns. Throughout the development process Knight was able to manipulate the photographs with heat and water. This created a unique technique blurring the boundaries between photography and painting. (Styllure, 2011) Vionnet’s inspiration for introducing the Flora print into their gowns initially has come from one of WGSN’s trend analysis reports for 2018. The Comocrea trend for S/S 18 links with WGSN’s editor of print and graphics Wharton (2016) quote “Designers are heavily influenced by recent catwalks and offer commercial favourites updated with contemporary techniques for the Italian market”. The trend analyses how designers revert to the sketchbook and introduce renewed florals to create an artistic flare. The specific trend that the collection was inspired by was ‘Watercolour Blooms’, the trend reports how after seasons of highly graphic and stencil like florals are featured on the catwalk, softer blooms are next in line to take centre stage. Designers want to follow the more romantic approach when introducing floral patterns into their garments, this is where the water colour technique is introduced. The technique expresses a vintage pastel palette for an overly feminine feel; this is key for the delicate story Vionnet’s dresses showcase. (WGSN, 2016)

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COLLABO PROD

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ORATIVE DUCTS

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THE PACKAGING

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T he packaging idea for Vionnet’s new collection has come from a combination of influences. The two trends the brand has chosen to follow

from WGSN’s trend forecast for 2018 is ‘Youth Tonic’ and ‘Pyschotropical’ both are very different but link with Vionnet’s packaging choices. Youth tonic experiments with geometrics, it introduces transparent containers that are refillable and customisable. The use of sculptural shapes will make it easy for the pieces of the packaging to slot together. This type of packaging would usually be introduced for beauty and would act as a collectable for the consumer. (WGSN, 2016) Vionnet’s packaging will involve a Perspex box that will contain the product; the box will be transparent to an extent. However this is where the Psychotropical trend influences the packaging. The trend is driven by the growing convergence of the virtual and the real and has a particular focus on nature. It remains true to the fact that some packaging is meant for keeping. Exotic creatures is a topic that has become apparent in the Psychotropical trend, it is originally a trend for beauty and skincare. However unusual plants and flowers fit into this category, which also correlates with the floral prints incorporated into the collection. The trend introduces the idea of the florals being encased in glass or 3D printed for bottle lids. As the spring/summer collection has an evident floral aspect to the whole design, Vionnet thought that it was fitting that the packaging should have an influence of this. The design for the outside of the box will have roses pressed into the Perspex, this fundamentally will make the packaging feminine. It also creates a piece of packaging that the consumer could keep after the product has been removed. The container will have a detachable lid that you can slide in an out to gain access to the inside of the container. However once removed completely from the top of the box, the Perspex slide becomes a piece of art. With a chain attached to the top of the lid it will allow the slide to be hung as a piece of wall art. Each consumer will always have different packaging; no two boxes will be the same, which essentially makes the packaging unique to the customer. Nevertheless this packaging presents a minor problem, it is not sustainable if the consumer chooses to discard the Perspex box. According to trend bible plastic presents a significant problem for the pollution worldwide. Which in tern has led to an increase in biodegradable packaging. It would be Vionnet’s job to explain to a consumer purchasing a product from this collection that the packaging therefore after could potentially be used as storage or a piece of art. Incorporated into the swing tag on the dress will be the Layar logo, which will allow the customer to access the fashion film. The consumer would have to download the Layar app and scan the logo to allow them access. This essentially makes the short fashion film exclusive to the customers purchasing the dresses. According to Layar it allows us to connect our digital lives with the physical world. The creator enhances the packaging, permitting the product to come to life.

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STRATEGIC PLAN The purpose of this strategic report is to provide information on the re-launch of the French fashion house Vionnet. The report will involve the brands plans to promote a new product with the full use of business objectives explaining how it will be achieved and managed. It will also include an evaluation of market conditions, external factors, affecting success, competitor activity and a number of other concerns. More importantly it will explain the brands history and any iconic products the company offers.

The history of Vionnet

Madeleine Vionnet was born in 1876 and grew up in Aubervilliers, France. Known as the queen of the bias cut she had training with the Callot sisters and also worked for the House of Doucet in 1907. Throughout her time at Doucet she experimented with the bias cut which became a great success after the First World War. During her career she gained the reputation of being one of the greatest names in Parisian haute couture, Vionnet was well known for her accomplished techniques and how she was faultless with handling fabrics. Her inborn sense of harmony allowed her to enhance the client’s femininity by the balance of her creations. Whilst working at Callot Soeurs she began to understand the importance of draping fabric directly onto a live model. Rather than sketching a design, this approach allowed the designer to focus the attention on the body and the relationship to how the fabric was draped and sculpted. (Kirke & Foreword 1997)

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Iunfortunately n 1912 Vionnet’s house opened in the rue de Rivoli and was short lived due to the outbreak of War in 1914 Kirke

(1997). Shortly after Vionnet moved to Rome for the duration, her experiences there as well as the studies of ancient Greek art became a crucial influence on her work. Classicism and design philosophy provided Vionnet with a voice to articulate her belief in geometric form, mathematical rhythm and the strength of proportion. All of which allowed Vionnet to design and create striking garments. In 1919 the house reopened and with Vionnet gaining a loyal clientele within the two years the house was open prior to the war, she did not have a shortage of customers. During the reopening fashion was changing, suddenly women wanted to discard their corsets and embrace diets and the gym in an attempt to keep their figures slim. Essentially a true turning point to twentieth century fashion, Vionnet’s unique solution was to introduce the movement from the body to the movement of the fluid shapes she was working on. Boning, rubber and elastic that was added to garments to provide support for women, was no more. Vionnet’s knowledge of ancient Greece allowed her to become obsessed with the soft flattery of clothes, clothing that “moved like water” McDowell (2015). (Kirke 1997, McDowell 2015) Fortunately Madeleine Vionnet continued to fight business struggles, however in 1940 the company went into liquidation and Vionnet retired. She was a female designer that changed the way clothes could be cut, but many would not even know this. She is one of fashions well-kept secrets, despite all of her towering achievements.

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VIONNET TODAY

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Iessentially n 1988 Vionnet’s label was acquired by the Lummen family and turned the brands focus to accessories and fragrance.

The family has essentially built a successful business from reviving dormant fashion houses and selling them to investors Johnson (2014). The profile of the brand was kept low and it avoided new fashion collections. Vionnet completely disappeared from the fashion map and was only known by the most fashion initiated, Lummen wanted to differentiate the brand from other recent revivals like Halston and Rochas. He thought Vionnet was unlike other clothing brands as it was never put on some form of support, through on-going licensing activities Amed (2009). The first designer chosen to revive the brand was Sophia Kokosalaki; she was presumed the perfect fit for Vionnet and went on to produce collections for two seasons in 2007. However according to Amed (2009) the reason for Kokosalki’s short lived time at Vionnet was due to her own business being purchased by Renzo Rosso’s staff international. It created a friction between the time the designer would be able to spend with Vionnet and her own collections. Retailers in response to this were upset as they had bought the collection due to its link with Kokosalaki and at the time she was influential on the Paris fashion scene. (“Sophia Kokosalaki” 2016) Following Kokosalaki’s departure, Marc Audibet was introduced in 2008 as Vionnet’s new creative director, a highly respected individual amongst many fashion industry insiders. It’s believed that in Audibet’s time at Vionnet he created technical mastery, Lummen says that it was “the closest to Vionnet herself”. While technically and intellectually brilliant, the limited resources to present collections held the brand back. Also having grown up at Prada Audibet was accustomed to a more elaborated set up and believed that he deserved a richer financial package. (Vogue 2007, Amed 2009) In 2009 Lummen realised that possibly Vionnet’s story wasn’t his to finish and with this Matteo Marzotto purchased the brand. Heir to the Marzotto textile fortune and former chairman to Valentino Marzotto didn’t quite preserve the same aesthetic or spirit of the original Vionnet Zargani (2009). However, he was undoubtedly the success in generating revenues and editorial coverage. Within the first year of Marzotto’s take over the brand earned five million euros in sales according to Amed (2011). Without a doubt Marzetto was a perfect fit, with years of hands on experience turning around the Valentino business. Due to Audibet’s departure from the brand Rodolfo Paglialunga was introduced as the new creative director, prior to this he was Prada’s collaborator for almost twelve years. Nevertheless days after his Spring/Summer 2012 collection he announced his departure from Vionnet.

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CRITICAL FACTORS OF SUCCESS Vionnet continued to see two more creative directors one of which is still the current creative executive and claims full ownership of the brand after purchasing it in 2012. Businesswoman Goga Ashkenazi purchased a majority stake hold in the brand prior to buying out Marzetto. Ashkenazi’s collections have received mixed reviews, including regards to her social status. She has been described as an “Oxford University-educated socialite, billionaire and entrepreneur” according to TFL (2016). This could suggest Ashkenazi leads a lavish lifestyle. Nonetheless she lacks experience in the fashion industry and does not have any formal training in design. Rumours that the brand was not thriving were quickly diffused in an interview with Harpers Bazaar (2013), Ashkenazi mentioned, “sales has surged to more than fifty percent”. It’s possible that the brand has taken on too much with regards to its product areas, before it has established sufficient recognition. Too many areas could create a distraction of the main focus which is the ready-to-wear apparel of Vionnet. (“Madeleine Vionnet” n.d.)

However the failure of Vionnet is due to its lack of creative direction, the Lummen family that purchased the brand were inexperienced and this unfortunately set the brand on a downward spiral. With so many creative directors passing through the brand in a short amount of time it projects a sense of unreliability upon Vionnet. Another factor to consider for its demise could be due to the fact an Italian entrepreneur purchased the company and many French people reacted badly to this acquisition; Zargani (2009) stated French customers felt betrayed as Vionnet had been a classic French brand for seventy years. Creative directors and their design team are essentially the backbone of a fashion brand. With Ashkenazi taking on the role of the director and business woman role, she may have taken on too much. A creative director in a fashion house provides a recognisable face that both fronts and reflects the label. The key factor of success for the brand could potentially be introducing a director that has a direct connection with the brand and a French culture behind them. For example someone like Hedi Slimane or Jean-Paul Gaultier, although they do not necessarily fit the aesthetic of Vionnet, they are French designers. A positive reaction could be an outcome from this, as the French public could see it as the brand returning to its true original roots.

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The identity of Vionnet is a delicate balance between two extremes, one side belongs to the bias cut and fluidity the other is the evidence of juxtaposition of geometry and 3D. The bias is without a doubt the most important identity of the brand and provides integrity. Not only was the bias a geometric concept it provided a character of rebellion, going against a decided diagonal. The cut was reinterpreted by Vionnet from her influence received from ancient Greece and especially the trend it had across the first two decades of the twentieth century. The cut created a fluid movement to the cloth with also an aspect of delicacy and femininity. Vionnet’s geometric approach to pattern cutting allowed her garments to be extremely modern almost too modern for that period of time. The body of a female was always at the centre of Vionnet’s work which she learnt from Madame Marie Gerber whilst working at The House of Callot Souers, however Vionnet wanted to liberate women with her work. Kirke (1997)

ICONIC PRODUCTS Today the brand offers its consumers womenswear that includes ready-to-wear, resort and pre-fall collections. These collections also include shoes and accessories, however the content from the two product areas is minimal. The products also have no clear identity, for example the shoes the brand sells are trainers. The clothing the company produces are not Athleisure items therefore the trainers have no connection to the main product area. This links back to why Vionnet is not well known in comparison to its competitors, for example Chanel and Celiné, because of its incoherence. There are no clear objectives of where the brand wants to be.

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BRANDS IDENTITY

T he main objective of reinventing Vionnet is to increase the brands recognition amongst the public and within the luxury fashion segment.

Vionnet’s brands Identity it’s currently its weakness, it does not have a clear identity to promote. According to Kotler (2000) a brands name, term, sign, symbol or design or a combination of these elements identify the goods or services of one seller or a group of sellers and differentiates them from their competitors. When comparing Vionnet with its biggest luxury competitor Chanel, they are completely unalike with how they communicate their brand. Chanel from a global perspective adopts the communication codes of a luxury brand. In maintaining an elitist tone Chanel develops a more human brand image, their spirit of their advertising campaigns is minimalist and simple. The brand values involve staying true to the distinction of its past and the founder Coco Chanel, it maintains the legacy of the brand while successfully moving into the future. Ashkenazi quoted TFL (2016) “I believe in heritage; I believe in history. I believe especially in Vionnet because the tools [Madeleine Vionnet] has given the fashion world form the basis of fashion. For me, the story is extremely important”. This is an integral part of Vionnet and unfortunately is not broadcasted in the brands character. The company maintains a luxury identity with regards to its pricing strategy and quality involved in the manufacturing of its products. However, it fails to have much recognition.

THE POSITIONING

V ionnet is a highly innovative and uniquely crafted brand; it has precision and perfection giving its female consumers an ultimate

satisfaction of apparel. This is currently the brands unique selling point, it provides its consumers with luxury items that are produced from high quality materials for example garments from previous collections were produced from silk, mohair, merino wool and viscose. As stated by Kotler (2003) “positioning is the act of designing the company’s offering and image so that they occupy a meaningful and distinct competitive position in the target customers mind”. With the quality of the products being reflected in the pricing, consumers are happy to purchase the items at a luxury price because they are provided with the information. Another important factor to consider about the brands position is how Vionnet have fifty-eight stores worldwide, which in tern would suggest that the company is creating revenue from their products. However it’s quite possible that Vionnet’s consumers have a confused positioning of the brand, they are a high-end luxury brand, but do not have a strong establishment in comparison to its competitors Chanel, Celiné and Chloé. During the forty’s Vionnet was extremely popular with its clientele and celebrities and was seen as a strong Parisian haute couture brand within Europe and the USA. However, after its closure and Madeleine Vionnet’s retirement, the brands recognition decreased as time progressed. (Vionnet.com, Kotler 2003)

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PRODUCT/ COLLABORATION P art of Vionnet’s revival strategy is to introduce a collaboration that will produce a product within the brand. The collaboration will

involve the brand partnering up with Nick Knight, one of fashions most influential and visionary photographers. The concept developed from Vionnet’s love of movement, a still image of a product for example a dress, does not showcase how it moves when worn. Knights SHOWStudio opens up the studio of artists and designers and allows everyone to witness the creative process behind a photoshoot. Knight quoted “SHOWstudio is based on the belief that showing the entire creative process from conception to completion—is beneficial for the artist, the audience and the art itself”. Although many of Knights films are free for the public to watch and comment on, Vionnet’s complete film will be exclusive to those who purchase the product. However, prior to the launch of the collection the public will receive snippets of the film, which will be viewed on various social media platforms, for example Instagram. Viewers will be allowed to share the short clips, in the aim to increase viral promotion. The actual product itself is a collection of five bias cut dresses that have incorporated floral prints from a previous exhibition of Knight’s called ‘Flora’. The collection will only have a limited amount of garments produced for the re-launch, therefore it will make the dresses rare collectables. When consumers purchase one of the dresses and receive the item, it will then allow them to access the behind the scenes film. The tag attached to the dress will be interactive, permitting the consumer to scan the Layar icon which will access the film. (Kane & Dazed, 2013) As a whole the fashion industry is constantly evolving and trend forecasting plays an important role in this. The forecasting process involves looking at colour, inspiration, fabric and moodboards used in the fashion prediction process. It was vital that when Vionnet thought about a new collection for Spring/Summer 2018 it followed a future trend. WGSN’s (2016) Comocrea trend for S/S18 has initially been the main inspiration for Vionnet’s collection. The trend reports that designers will revert back to their sketchbooks and introduce renewed florals that will create artistic flare. Within the report there are various styles of floral prints that will be introduced in 2018, however the style that Vionnet chose to follow was ‘Watercolour blooms’. The trend presents a vintage pastel palette for an overly feminine feel that correlates with Vionnet’s designs. (WGSN, 2016) Traditionally trend forecasters today still use Everett M. Rogers (1931) theory of the ‘Diffusion of Innovations’. The percentage divisions and ‘types’ are still utilized to calculate the size of each group overall in any society or sector the forecasters have been asked to study. Vionnet for example falls under ‘Early Majority’ they make up a sizeable and influential thirty-four percent of any overall group. However they are not opinion leaders, they are highly sociable, unusually active online and do not necessarily have thoughts or ideas designed to lead or direct.

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COMMUNICATIONS MIX V ionnet will coordinate marketing efforts across a multidude of various channels featured in the communications mix. Advertising

is a key component of promotion which Vionnet already ultilizes, however not to its full advantage. With regards to advertising there are three types, Earned, Paid and Owned media. Vionnet uses both Paid and owned to promote their brand currently. Owned media refers to any web property a company can control and is unique to them, this alo involves any social media platforms. Vionnet presently has their own website, online store, instagram and Facebook however all are dated and do not involve much interaction with their current consumers. In terms of paid media this refers the brand being featured in magazines, social media ads and display ads. Paid media is a good way to promote new content in order to drive earned media and also create exposure. Vionnet features editorials in high fashion magazines, however alternatively they could benefit from having a Youtube presence. Youtube presen¬tly is an important platform for teens/ tweens and is the most used/popular social media network among the age group. According to Mintel (2016) online video is becoming the key format for content creators and advertisers. Dredge (2016) reported that in October 2015 there were 17,000 Youtube channels with more than 100,000 subscribers and nearly 1,500 with more than 1 million. Youtubers offer a direct form of contact for the public, ‘vlogging’ offers a sense of intimacy. Youtuber’s like Inthefrow and Tamara Kalinic are sponsored by luxury brands for example, Dior, Gucci and Bulgari to review new products, which essentially promotes them in a positive way. Vionnet could potentially benefit from having a strong Public Realtions team working for the brand. A company uses PR firms to convey messages and to create the right attitudes, images and opnions. It can essentially improve the publics general awareness of a brand, which Vionnet lacks. If the brand had a favourable PR team behind the company it could build and maintain a positive public image. The more Vionnet would create publicity in the media, the public would perceive the brand to have more credibility. For a brand to succeed, defining the target market is essential. If a brand is unsuccessful in doing so, a brand is more likely to waste time and money on marketing to the wrong consumer. Vionnet does not have a strong clientele, Dillon (2011) states that “Fashion begins and ends with the consumer; the primary task is to satisfy the consumer and their needs”. As human beings we express our identities through the way we dress, fashion provides us with a means of expressing ourselves. Vionnet’s customers are usually females aged in their late twenties to mid fifties and have a high disposable income. They are often not price sensitive when it comes to purchasing products from a luxury brand. With the retail industry increasingly becoming more competitive, customer retailer loyalty is a critical goal for most brands. Jacoby and Chestnut (1978) suggest that having strong customer loyalty generates numerous benefits, hence why it’s a critical aiming strategy for many companies. Loyal customers often buy more, are willing to pay higher prices and spread positive word of mouth. The unique selling point of Vionnet is that it has quality, but unfortunately there is not enough recognition surrounding the brand to promote this.

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CITATIONS, QUOTES & ANNOTATTIONS

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Madeleine Vionnet


Vionnet Marketing Strategy  
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