for what it’s worth

stories and stimulus from a consumer insight consultant



Ever wanted your own floating estate? The perfect toy for those in the billionaires club, the newest design from Monaco based Wally Yachts is in a class of it’s own- the newly termed ‘gigayacht’. For roughly £100 million the lucky buyer will surpass the league of the mere megayacht to become the exclusive owner of the largest private vessel known to man. At 59ft across and 2,730 tons at half load, the aptly named WallyIsland will have everything the super-rich could ever dream of (a tennis court, pool and five accommodation decks including a main saloon, dining room, library, cinema, spa and fitness area) and even a growing garden with shrubbery and flower beds that will be fed by an irrigation system. With fuel tanks big enough to enable five years of cruising, and space for 40 crew and 24 guests, two 45ft motor yachts, two 27ft sailing yachts, two cars and water-toys including six jetskis, the design company expect it to fulfil the dream of someone who wants to “live comfortably on board fulltime, like on their own estate”.


According to Wally Yachts:” This is a yacht where you have a piece of land that you can use to play your favourite sport, to grow your favourite plants, to enjoy your favourite outdoor activity. This will appeal to someone who wants to be completely independent”.

Before you scoff at the idea of this ever being built, know that the company are already in negotiations with a potential buyer, and with only 946 people in the category to be able to afford such a ridiculous extreme, any guesses as to who the over-indulgent individual might be?

via Daily Mail: On board the world’s first ‘Gigayacht’

Filed under: Luxury,

Hyatt goes boutique with Andaz


PSFK were kindly invited to the relaunch of what was previously the Great Eastern Hotel and has now been reinvented as Andaz– the first in a new chain of boutique hotels from the Hyatt Hotel group, and I got to go along and have a good nose around. Located next to Liverpool Street Station in London, the hotel sits in the heart of the uber-trendy East End, offering its 250+ rooms to city-slickers on business trips, or anyone else willing to pay the £400 per night rate!

Andaz (which apparently means personal style in Urdu) Describes itself as a ‘personalised casual luxury hotel experience’, and has replaced the traditional check-in desks with what they call dedicated personal hosts; title-less staff who use Tablet PCs to check you in, respond and cater to your personal tastes and preferences, and aim to build a one-on-one host and guest relationship- rather like a personal butler. The press release proudly states: ‘Guests are empowered to define their own hotel experience and live it with the same freedoms they have at home’, which supposedly translates to 24-hour service and the fact that everything from the mini-bar to the movies is included in the room charge, rather than encouraging you to wander round in your underwear or re-arrange the furniture.

Encouraging local collaboration, the hotel has been decorated with what they are calling a ‘permanent exhibition’ of quotes from local celebrities and creatives ranging from drag queen Jonny Woo to jewellery designer Hannah Martin, and curated exhibitions from local artists will be used to adorn the corridor walls. To enhance the local experience, not only are rooms equipped with pretty darn good magazine guides created in collaboration with Time Out, but as a great extra guests can also borrow ipods loaded with personal tours of the area from those who really live it; local policemen, artists, even the pub landlords.

Doing its bit for responsible tourism the hotel is also impressively eco-aware and includes a long list of energy and world-saving attributes including using 80% less water in toilets, a computer controlled boiler that reduces fuel use by 25%, and locally-sourced fair-trade food and drinks served in the rooms and restaurants.

All in all it seems like an impressive addition to the area, if anyone can afford it let us know what it’s like!

Andaz hotel

Filed under: creative ideas, Luxury

My views on the Luxury Briefing 2007 Conference

Yesterday I spoke on a panel at the 2007 Luxury Briefing Conference about why web 2.0 is critical for brands, and briefly offered some ideas on the ways in which the luxury arena could embrace digital for the future. For such an influential market sector it is incredible that so many major players are still so averse to understanding the potential for their brands, and much of the day seemed to be spent on explaining what luxury on the web is now, rather than ways in which it could – and should – be leading online.

Whilst the conference offered some interesting insights and re-ignited a conversation topic that these brands seem to have been trying to get to grips with for years, there was a lot left unsaid and so many questions still to be answered. Attention was focused on sales and networks, and speakers only briefly brushed the surface of the key points of focus for luxury brands, namely the importance of using connectivity to enhance the experience (rather than just the sales), and the personalized relationship than can be fostered with a new global customer base of varying ages. A couple of these were broached during my panel discussion, however there’s still so much I never got to delve into and I would love to continue the discussion with anyone who is interested. For example, there was not one mention of the rapidly growing market in luxury rentals online and the impact of this for the brands, nor of the changing forms of ‘luxury’ and how the web offers a chance for integration.

Filed under: Luxury, my rants

Perfume to help you smell rich

Perfume and accessories, once the links to luxury brand cache for the lowly masses, have been growing in price considerably over the past couple of years. Now you’ll be lucky to find a designer handbag under $1000, and as for scent- you can thank Tom Ford for his help in raising perfume from the lowest form of brand association to the ‘limited edition’ exclusivity and ridiculous prices we see before us.

What this means of course is that brands are stepping up the competition to bottle the scent of money luxury. Whilst smaller perfumers offer bespoke fragrances at prices upwards of $8000, for larger beauty brands the price tag has only been pushed tentatively. However Estee Lauder (the company behind the Tom Ford Beauty range) are about to change all this with their new Private Collection fragrance called Tuberose Gardenia which will retail exclusively at Harrods, costing a whopping $400 for 30ml.

Talking to, Aerin Lauder described the new fragrance as fulfilling a market need: “When my grandmother launched the first Private Collection scent in 1973, it was all about quiet, personal luxury and I think that’s something there’s a really strong market for today. The modern consumer wants something fast and easy and cheap, then she’s mixing that with something very high-end and luxurious. That’s where this scent comes in.”

[via Vogue]

Filed under: brand extensions, Luxury

Tom Ford launches luxury Menswear line

It’s been a long time coming but Tom Ford is finally launching his luxury menswear brand, and he’s bringing classic gentleman’s luxury into the 21st century. WWD has a 4-page article detailing the array of items available in the Tom Ford range, including ready-to-wear and bespoke suits, leather travelling accessories, eyewear and custom-made fragrances, but more exciting than this is the description of the amazing new Madison Avenue boutique that will house all these goodies.

Opening this Thursday, the store is Ford’s interpretation of a thoroughly serviced environment where every need is catered for to create the ultimate in luxury shopping-

For instance, the boutique will open by appointment from 7 a.m. to 11a.m., then open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and revert again to an appointment-only basis until 7 p.m. Salespeople will be on hand to take care of a client’s every whim — for the opening, he even flew in his personal butler, Angus Richards-Barron, to train the store’s butler — and there will be maids for such tasks as fluffing the cushions and wiping off the dust.

“I want someone to say, ‘Hello’ when you walk in. I want someone to call you sir, or, if they know your name, Mr., or Ms., or Mrs. I want them to get you a Diet Coke if that is what you want,” Ford said. “I want them to be nice to you with a smile, and I want them to be knowledgeable about the product and to be able to tell you about it, or if you don’t want to listen to them, to not tell you about it.”

Epitomising gentlemanly glamour and elegance, both the store and collection seem to be the perfect answer to Ford’s pressing question- “Where would Cary Grant shop if he were alive today?”

read the full article at WWD
or check out the collection from 12th April at

Filed under: brand extensions, Luxury,

Nike AF1 25th anniversary reaches London


As part of Nike’s ongoing 25th anniversary celebrations they have launched a very limited edition range of crocodile-skin Air Force One trainers, retailing at £1,400. Unveiled this weekend at Niketown in London, the trainers are part of a series of 5 updated AF1 designs, each of which have been hand-crafted in Italy in the finest materials and with impeccable attention to detail.

However, the use of crocodile skin (and Anaconda which is used on another shoe in the range), has angered animal rights groups and, as Brand Republic reports, is bringing a new wave of negative press to the Nike brand.

Check out the AF1 site and watch the making of the trainers- ‘crafting the perfect one’ at nike

Filed under: brand extensions, Luxury, stuff,

Designer Handbags at Extreme Prices

The Sunday Times reports on the frenzied demand for designer handbags by ’status-conscious women’, which has led to extreme levels of ostentation, enabling companies now to produce- and sell- such ridiculous creations as the Louis Vuitton Tribute Patchwork bag, priced at £23,484! The paper compares the price to that of a new Mercedes C 180 K Coupe SE, and finds the bag to be nearly £3,000 more expensive! And LV are not the only company taking prices to such extremes, Fendi are offering a bag made from chinchilla and sable costing £20,000, whilst the £10,000 mark is covered by several labels.

Apparently this price hike is not restricted to the extreme offerings, according to the Sunday Times “Selfridges, the department store chain, reports that the average price tag on designer handbags at its shops has risen by 55% to about £850 since 2005”. It’s a worrying phenomenon, but whilst brands can find insecure women willing to reduce themselves to debt and hunger for such items, the prices will keep on rising.

Read – A Handbag? That will be £23,484

Filed under: Luxury

London Loves a Dominatrix

With a goth revival apparent for A/W 07, a dark mood was in evidence at the London shows, where victoriana mixed with a heavy dose of S&M dominatrix. Collections entirely in black were shown by more than a few designers, with crushed velvets and silk fabrications mixed agressively with leather, rubber and PVC. A style favoured last season by Brit darlings Gareth Pugh and Giles, the dark vixen is making a welcome return this year.

Corpse brides floated down the runways at Gardem and Victim, whilst Nathan Jenden put an 80s pop twist on the victoriana shapes. Elsewhere latex bodysuits covered arms and legs- shown under even the brightest clothing collections (Manish Arora), and for those more demure designers, black tights added a sombre touch. With designers taking such an aggresive stance, it’s time to put away the girlie dresses and let women reclaim their power.Gareth_pughJens_laugesen


Nathan_jenden2images= Gareth Pugh, Jens Laugesen, Christopher Kane, Gardem, Nathen Jenden, Unconditional

Filed under: Luxury,

London Fashion Week: Gavin Douglas brings back the Glamour

A show that has received surprisingly little press yet was loved by fashion.psfk (ie me) brought glamour back to LFW on Friday, as last year’s Fashion Fringe winner Gavin Douglas took over the BFC tent. Entitled Queens of the Ocean, the collection referenced post-war luxury travel, showing beautifully cut 1940s-inspired shapes in sumptuous silks and satins, saturated with shimmering black and rich jewel tones.Gdouglas2Gdouglas

Douglas’ first solo catwalk showcased the designer’s clever fusion of historical interpretation and modern sensibility, with swathes of fabric wrapping elegantly around tailored silhouettes. Clearly referencing the era of Dior’s New Look with peaked shoulders, hourglass shaping and emphasis on nipped-in waists, the clothes were softened through the fluidity of the fabrics chosen, then given a subversive twist with aggressive rib-like gathered pleats and killer platform heels.Gdouglas6Gdouglas4

Sexy, sophisticated, and aspirational, the collection cleverly reinterprets and updates wearable glamour, a style which, considering the current proliferation of fur and hats both on and off the catwalks seems to be the direction of choice for many. Watch out for Gavin Douglas’ name in the future.

Filed under: Luxury,

Trussardi’s Moving Showcase


The coolhunter has some great photos from Trussardi’s display at the Milan menswear shows last week. The company cleverly showcased its extensive leather goods collection alongside its clothing range through the use of a conveyor belt.

Filed under: clever promotion, Luxury