Meet the Guys that are reinventing Classical Music’s Appeal: “Il Volo” 

What happens when young talented Italian tenors reach back in time to revive the classics of great Italian music for a whole new audience? You have Il Volo, a three man powerhouse crew of talented tenors who are honoring the “Three Tenors” repertoire.  They are quickly achieving rock star status (I have just met them in person with a group of lucky fans). The group is very commtited to their classical repertoire (with the help of some heavy hitters in the world of classical music) and the brand of fun they bring to this arena is truly refreshing. They are the ‘boy band’ of classical music and don’t show any signs of stopping now! This is not to say they are not all acomplished musicians, but their technique is not evident in their soulful and hearfelt renditions of many operatic and popular music classics. 

We talk about brands and reinvention at Artifice Atelier on a daily basis so here is a perfect example of how a musical genre can be refreshed, renewed and celebrated. We are new fans and couldn’t be happier to spread the w0rd. 

Be sure to see the dates for the USA 2017 tour at Facebook and Twitter for more information. 

Cartier Holiday: Its all Wrapped Up!

My favorite landmark in New York as a devoted Francophile is the CARTIER building that each holiday season wraps up the building with a large red ribbon on its exterior reminding us that the ultimate gifts, were within.  After a 2.5 year renovation the building will be more elegant than ever.  A building next store in this seamless expansion will offer additional retail space that will showcase gifts, small delights and yes, things wrapped in that red ribbon and glorious leather box.

What is always extraordinary about CARTIER from a branding standpoint, is they are always authentic, solid, true to their message of luxury and history.  These two features alone make the Cartier brand one of the world’s top contenders for consistency of message the lifeblood of a luxury brand.  Watch how CARTIER launches its new store and offerings for the holiday season along with this historic new look and take note.

Collaborations:  Fresh Eyes to Lifestyle Luxury Brands for Fall 2016

Getting ready for fall in both the world of beauty, fragrance and fashion/lifestyle means that you will experience many collaborations. In the world of lifestyle marketing, this means that someone who knows something unique, or creates something unique, can get together with resources to create a partnership. This enables both parties to benefit and prosper from the wealth of information and expertise.  Some partnerships catch fire from a business standpoint, but never get out of the gate with the consumer.  Perhaps some of the most notable partnerships are designers who work with mass market retailers like Target or H&M and this is obvious to the public:  Sally Consumer is allowed to purchase  version of a designer item which has a measure of cachet.  When Lily Pulitzer did a Target line, that literally crashed the Target website which could not handle the demand of shoppers who were waiting to purchase the “Palm Beach”  lifestyle.  This type of marketing can be characterized as a “High/Low” brand partnership that expands exisiting audiences. 

Partnerships in the luxury industry are somewhat different: When Hermes got together with Apple for the watch the leather bands created by HERMES were a perfect match for the iwatch.  Two types of luxury brands, getting together to capture the newly techno-savvy crowd.  Cars, vacations, hotels, and many other luxury brands are getting together to create a new twist on their product offerings, reaching a new audience  and most importantly, sharing brand stories.  What we can expect is that not all of this is “branding gold” as some partnerships, like some marriages, hit the rocks.  

Here is a list of some of Fall’s new partnerships, curated creations and product offerings that benefit from this unique way of marketing we found this fall.  

  • Iris Appel and INC. fashion’s at Macys.  Nothing short of genius for the Style Craved. 
  • Sarah Burton (Alexander MQueen’s former assistant) collaborates on a fragrance for the House of Alexander MQUEEN in an exotic floral “night blend”. 
  • Kenzo Fragrance Debut features muse “Margaret Qualley” who will dance her way into every video and presents her impressions to lift the scent. 
  • Sandra Choi English Countryside penchant for Flowers’s enliven’s the new Jimmy Choo collections with flowers, sprays and blooms. 
  • Christine Nagel and Hermes Create the new parfum, “Galob” De Hermes inspired by the traditions of the house with a new fresh eye. 
  • Beautycounter, an organic beauty line will debut at TARGET taking a boutique line to the masses, always a unique partnership. 

We hope you will experiment, try and explore these beauty, fragrance and fashion collaborations this Fall! 

The Editor

Next Chapter on Unique Collaborations:   Media, Artists, filmmakers, Illustrators and their powerful influence on marketing to the lifestyle luxury audience. 

The Art of Collaboration:  A Series on Creativity 

The world of art and culture are filled with unique collaborations; musicians, photographers, filmmakers, all collaborate in teams to create the art or vision that drives them. Working in a team atmosphere is something people say they can do at job interviews; but unique visions while created by a single person must be executed by a collaborative process that makes for partnerships in some of the most extraordinary places. Collaboration is a very important skill to have.  The art of collaboration is one of the most important qualities a creator develops to reach his or her vision.  The business world has already “co-opted” this word to explain why they need teams of people to populate their administrative chains of command.  The mis-characterizion of what the collaborative process is became clear to me when I heard that Google was working incredibly hard to define it:  They had an entire department analysing the art of “collaboration” and its important features that make for success in this type of work environment.  Perhaps you can set the rules of engagement so everyone can feel both successful and empowered by the process.  That is admirable.  But, like trying to capture a snowflake, can you really put something as elusive as “collaboration” into words or instigate a system that “explains it all”?   I say, no, not possible.  The art of collaboration relies on a number of highly honed skills that are separate, but equal and rely totally on the chemistry of the people involved.  Collaboration, for me is alot like “love” because you never know how things will go in your relationship but you are willing to commit to the process; its messy, not always perfect, and frought with personality differences.  One of the greatest collaborations for example, “the Beatles” was a combination of many aspects that made them one of the most successful bands in history.  If you see them together in a typical press interview of the 1960’s or 1970’s when they were actively touring and recording they can’t really explain it. It just worked. That’s the miracle, the magic, the mystery of a unique collaboration.  

Join us for the next few months as we look at successful collaborations and explore what makes unique ideas, art, products, engineering, and life as we know it in the 21st century a series of collaborations that make for a better world. 

Palo Alto, CA 2016

Family Ties:  Looking at family history in a whole new light.

When my mother passed away, just a short month ago at the age of 95 years my friends all marveled.  “What a life, what a unique and extraordinary woman!” My mother was part of a century that represents an entire age as did  my father.  Both members of “the greatest generation” each with their own unique stories l0ng before they met.  What happens when your parents go to the next life is that you realize that there are entire conversations you wish you had or histories you are just beginning to discover; even that last few words that you might have wanted are unsaid.  I was lucky. I spent that last year living in my mother’s home after quitting my job and just enjoyed what I could of this unique life and her take on what history had made in the last ninety-five odd years.

Who were my parents?  Who indeed, are yours?  We often forget in the rush of new technology and faster paced lives that the world just 50 years ago was entirely different.

My sister and I discovered we had many generations to look at, not just our own; our mother’s family who were Norwegian immigrants, our father’s family of Irish, English and Scottish ancestors who ranged in station from hired Irish mercenary to Lord of the manor. By the time I came along, this was already a known history. As a kid growing up in the 1960’s my father’s wonderful “KODAK Carosel” of images from my childhood was like a dull evening after a network TV news show; all shot at every waking moment which drove us crazy.  This is now a huge libary of images that I will go through, one by one; I don’t want to miss a thing and yes, I will be ready for things I may not want to see.  Now, I can finally open the boxes, unearth the treasures and put together the fleeting images and stories I remember as a kid.  There is a unique value in this and with the help of technology it will be pretty easy.

My dad was the son of a 1920’s flapper and handsome debonair professional movie stunt man and cinematographer; their marriage was in the local papers, she a stunning local Irish beauty and my grandfather looking like a dashing version of an English lord.  His family went back almost 500 years in England.  They were successful merchants who bought a  title and a castle outside London during the time of Henry VIII who visited there with his then wife, the ill-fated  Catherine Howard (who was busy sleeping with one of the King’s courtiers).  The Hickman’s, my grandfather’s family owned the castle and dutifully hosted the King even while practicing their own Catholicism in secret. This family name is still in the Royal Register, today.  We are related to what is today, a Baronetcy.  So, I guess you might say we are a bit posh, but the family lineage is just distant enough that we might not be invited to the castle.  Oh, darn.

The Hickman family is a very large one in the U.S. and many of our relatives have unique connections to Hollywood (My great uncle Howard Hickman was a secondary role in GONE WITH THE WIND) so when I got to Hollywood, it was no wonder I was already in the family in the business. My Hollywood realtives were part of early Hollywood and its inception; my great AUNT BESSIE was the film star “Bessie Barriscale”  the “oyher’ girl next door to Mary Pickford as the “queen” of silent pictures.  Her star is today on Hollywood boulevard just shy of Cherokee Street. She worked with Cecile B. De Mille and made many many films and later even becomming her own producer.  Columbia University has honored her as one of the founding women of the film industry. It took about 100 years for her to receive the recognition she deserved.  She was a trouper, making movies even after her blockbuster silent career had all but ended. She remains one of our family “treasures” for her contributions and will hopefully come to light in the future.

My father was always my greatest fan. I discovered my talents as both a performner and writer and was lucky he was all for it.  My mother wanted me to become a lawyer.  She did encourage my musical training however recently telling me if I wanted to become a professional cabaret singer that it would be alright with her.  Needless to say this approval took about 45 years to attain.  Thanks, mom!

Judith (pictured with her camera) was the daughter of Norwegian immigrants and had her own unique history, too.  We discovered that her mother was a servant in the family of the Vanderbilt’s (we found documents of the paycheck from them) and my mother was a simple country girl from upstate New York and the first daughter in her family to go to college at the COOPER UNION on a full scholarship. She majored in art and design graduating in 1944. Sunday dinners at our mother’s childhood home were filled with all the relatives who were the servants of the wealthy founders of New York’s elite. Tables were set with family crystal, linens, china and everyone wore their Sunday best to celebrate.  This was a unique group of people much like the servants at Downton Abbey, their own lives part of the changing times and social history of the city of New York.  This taught us the importance of family gatherings and traditions and  the art of the table setting.

Mother was full of stories, but like many of her generation, she did not boast, brag or share. She recently told me her office in Manhatten (her window overlooking the rear of a very distinguished old hotel) was a cavalcade of movie stars, illicit romances, large dark cars driving up to its back door and movie stars sneaking into the back of the hotel while she looked on as a silent witness to their indescretions.  She confessed this one morning, at breakfast after some prodding from me.

There is more to tell with the opening of boxes of photos and the unearthing of family treasures that is not for the faint of heart.  You might find things you don’t want to know and the revelations you don’t want to re-visit. Either way  you must own all of it, good and bad; realize that is is part of you no matter where you are in your life. We plan to go forward and take on the responsibility of storytellers, with a century of lives behind us. My sister and I feel compelled to go forward into our own future, by acknowledging our past.

May the family force, be with you, too.