Friday luxury news wrap  

Ruhi Gilder 
March began on a subdued note, as the world was bombarded with news concerning the ongoing Ukraine crisis. Luxury brands showed their support in the form of donations, statements, and relief funds. Knight Frank released its Wealth Report ‘22 which noted art as a popular investment, while  Sotheby’s reported the auction of yet another painting that broke price records.  
Luxury brands provide aid to Ukraine  
Luxury conglomerate LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) is providing its 150 employees in Ukraine with essential financial and operational assistance. The company announced yesterday its plans to donate €5 million euros to support the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to help victims of the conflict. Auction house Phillips, which is owned by the Russian Mercury Group will donate 100% of the buyer’s premium and vendor’s commission from their 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale, totalling £5.8 million to the Ukrainian Red Cross Society. British fashion house Burberry is also donating money to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal, as is luxury group Kering, who is supporting the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugees Agency. Gucci has contributed US$ 500,000 to UNHCR as well. Fashion conglomerate Only The Brave Foundation, parent company to Diesel, Maison Margiela, Marni, Viktor & Rolf, Amiri and Jil Sander said it was supporting UNHCR with an undisclosed sum. Balenciaga showed its support for Ukraine by clearing their Instagram feed and dedicating it to sharing reports on the war. 

 

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Sanctions on Russia 
While there is no implementation of specific sanctions blocking the import of Italian luxury goods, the value for Italian-made goods exported to Russia is estimated at roughly €1.2 billion annually. However, the EU, along with the US and other allies, have announced plans to block certain Russian institutions’ access to SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the global messaging system that enables bank transactions. This could have an indirect effect on transactions concerning Russians and Russian companies’ electronic business with international banks or companies. 
Luxury houses stop shipments to Russia 
YNAP, which owns Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter, Yoox and The Outnet, was one of the first companies to stop shipping to Russia, stating that all orders would be “suspended until further notice.” Other designers and brands have also halted shipments and closed stores in the country including the H&M group, Asos, John Lewis, Kurt Geiger, Ganni, Nike, Boohoo, and Nanushka. 
Legal battle over high jewellery trade secrets 
Cartier's Equinoxe necklace from the Magnitude Collection
Cartier’s Equinoxe necklace from the Magnitude Collection
Two of the world’s most popular luxury jewellery brands are embroiled in a legal suit. Cartier claimed that Tiffany & Co. stole trade secrets by hiring one of its former employees. Cartier’s complaint mentioned that Tiffany’s upper management allegedly hired the former’s junior managers for a position she was not qualified to fill. The complaint states that the employee forwarded an email containing confidential information about Cartier’s High Jewellery collection to her personal email account, days before resigning. This information was reportedly then shared with Tiffany & Co. Executives, who have denied all allegations.  
Pernod Ricard adds French winery to portfolio 
Photo Courtesy: Château Sainte Marguerite
Photo Courtesy: Château Sainte Marguerite
Pernod Ricard, one of the foremost wine and spirits groups in the world, has acquired a majority shareholding in Château Sainte Marguerite, Cru Classé Côtes-de-Provence rosé. Owned by the Fayard family since 1977, Château Sainte Marguerite is one of the 18 prestigious vineyards to fall under the cru classé, a high Bordeaux wine classification given to super-premium wines. The vineyard will continue to operate with its current teams led by Olivier Fayard. 
McLaren reveals Artura Art Car  
McLarenArturaNatBowen
McLaren Artura Nat Bowen
Supercar manufacturer McLaren collaborated with prolific British abstract artist, Nat Bowens, known for her colourful and multi- layered resin pieces to produce an Artura Art Car. The vehicle will be on display at the ME Dubai until 31 March 2022. It explores themes of ‘Art’ and ‘Future’ which are reflected in the name of the brand’s first high-performance hybrid supercar, the McLaren Artura. 
Mercedes-Maybach S-Class starts at Rs 2.5 crore 
Photo Courtesy: Mercedes Benz
Photo Courtesy: Mercedes Benz
The all-new Maybach S-Class limousine released in India with two variants. One is the imported S680, and the other is the locally assembled S580. This is Mercedes’ first venture into the ultra-luxury category in India, and the car even features gesture recognition allowing rear passengers to shut the door with a wave of a hand, something dubbed the ‘royal wave.’ The fully imported S680 Maybach is priced at Rs 3.2 crore while the S580 begins at Rs 2.5 crore.  
Record-breaking painting 
Photo Courtesy: Sotheby's
Photo Courtesy: Sotheby’s
A René Magritte modern art canvas named L’empire des lumières (1961) sold at auction house Sotheby’s for US$79.8 million, setting a record for that particular artist. The Belgian surrealist tripled his previous record of $26.8 million, which was for his painting, Le Principe du Plaisir (1937) sold for back in 2018. 
Knight Frank: India ranks third in billionaire count  
Real estate consultancy Knight Frank’s Wealth Report released early this week, detailing the state of local and global billionaires. India ranks third in billionaire count, after US and China. Art, jewellery and classic cars were the top three passion-led investments. The report also stated that real estate is set to remain stable in 2022; the market even experienced an influx of interest in 2021, as 29% of the wealth of Indian UHNWIs was allocated towards purchase of residential properties.  
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Milan Fashion Week  
Photo Courtesy: Dolce & Gabbana
Photo Courtesy: Dolce & Gabbana
Milan Fashion Week took place from February 22-28, and began on a somber note, as just three days into the event, news of Russia’s attack on Ukraine pervaded the atmosphere. Senior designer Giorgio Armani acknowledged this tragic crisis with a show free of music. However, the shows did go on, and this year’s fashion week was one to remember, especially for Indians. Designer Vaishali S became the first Indian woman to showcase at MFW, and had Masoom Minawala, content creator, and major fashion authority in India as her showstopper. Indian-origin model Avanti Nagrath opened the show for Versace in a historic move.  
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