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5.1- Culture

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    #Chtchoukine à la Fondation #Vuitton : les coulisses de l'expo de tous les records

    ARTICLE BFM BUSINESS | INTERVIEW DONNE LE 11-03-2017 | NINA GODART

    Interview de Philippe Jourdan, CEO, Promise Consulting

    LIRE L'ARTICLE EN LIGNE : http://bit.ly/2q0dErL

    Obtenir le prêt par la Russie de 130 œuvres de la collection Chtchoukine a réclamé une débauche de moyens humains et matériel pour LVMH et Bernard Arnault. Pour un retour sur investissement qui ne se compte pas en euros.

    Objectif atteint pour la Fondation Vuitton, qui visait 1 million de visiteurs. 200.000 de plus se sont même pressés à l'exposition "Icônes de l'Art Moderne - La Collection Chtchoukine", qui vient de s'achever. Autant que le record historique détenu jusque-là par le Petit Palais, avec "Toutankhamon et son temps" en 1967. Et encore, la Fondation privée du numéro 1 mondial du luxe a atteint ce total en un temps bien plus court: un peu plus de 4 mois contre 7 mois et demi pour les trésors du Pharaon.

    paris, lvmh, louis vuitton, Chtchoukine

    Un succès à mettre au crédit notamment de Jean-Paul Claverie, proche conseiller de Bernard Arnault depuis 1991. C'est lui, l'homme qui conçoit le projet fou de cette exposition il y a presque trente ans. Dans les années 80, alors qu'il officie au cabinet de Jack Lang, il rencontre le petit-fils de Chtchoukine, André-Marc Delocque-Fourcaud, lui-même fonctionnaire au ministère russe de la Culture.

    Ce dernier rêve d'exposer à Paris la collection de son grand-père, l'homme d'affaires russe Sergueï Chtchoukine. Un rêve partagé par Jean-Paul Claverie. La collection en question comprend des centaines de chefs d'œuvres de l'art moderne, des Gauguin, Matisse, Picasso, Manet, Monet, Van Ghogh. Ce trésor valorisé à plus de 6 milliards d'euros a dû être abandonné en Russie par l'amateur d'art avant-gardiste qui a fuit le pays après la révolution de 1917. Il ne remettra jamais la main dessus. Ses héritiers non plus. La collection est confisquée par l'administration russe, remisée sous Staline qui y voit un art bourgeois honni, puis dispersée en 1948. Ce qu'il en reste a été réparti entre deux musées: celui de l'Ermitage à Saint-Pétersbourg, et le musée Pouchkine de Moscou. Jamais, depuis, les tableaux n'avaient été réunis, et encore moins dévoilés ensemble hors de Russie.

    paris, lvmh, louis vuitton, Chtchoukine

    Monter une telle exposition a donc relevé de l'exploit. Y compris sur le plan financier? La Fondation a-t-elle par exemple dû payer pour présenter les 130 oeuvres exposées à la Fondation Vuitton, parmi lesquels 29 Picasso, 22 Matisse, 12 Gauguin? Selon plusieurs porte-paroles de musées, les "fees" (droits à payer pour exposer des oeuvres) sont une pratique courante pour les fondations privées. Mais Jean-Paul Claverie assure que Bernard Arnault s'étant engagé à prêter, en échange, des œuvres de sa collection personnelle, aucun contrepartie financière n'a été versée. Reste que la Fondation a dû consentir à d'autres investissements très coûteux, que n'aurait sans doute pas pu se permettre un musée public.

    Comme pour chaque prêt de musée, l'emprunteur a dû assurer les œuvres inestimables qu'il a exposées. Là encore, impossible de connaître le coût de cette protection. Un représentant d'Axa Art admet juste que "même l'État français n'aurait pas les moyens d'assurer la Joconde ou l'Origine du Monde". Il a aussi fallu garantir la sécurité des œuvres, durant leur transport, et pendant l'exposition. Avec notamment "plusieurs gardes par salle, 24 heures sur 24", souligne notre source.

    Le groupe a dû prendre à son compte d'onéreux contrats de restauration, sur place en Russie, avant d'obtenir de transférer les œuvres. Comme pour "L'atelier Rose" de Matisse, dont les grands aplats de couleur menacent de se détacher, et qu'il fallait réencadrer (ci-dessous).

    Le groupe n'a pas lésiné non plus sur les moyens humains. Bernard Arnault s'est impliqué personnellement. Le dirigeant français se reconnaît dans le parcours de Chtchoukine, un homme d'affaire qui doit sa fortune au textile et qui achète des œuvres pour participer au rayonnement culturel de la France. Il a fait sien le rêve de son conseiller et déployé toutes les ressources à sa disposition.

    "Les experts du groupe, toutes les connaissances des différentes maisons de LVMH en Russie ont été mobilisées. Bernard Arnault a parlé à Vladimir Poutine à maintes reprises depuis une dizaine d'années", explique une source. C'est encore l'homme le plus riche de France qui a négocié personnellement la prolongation de deux semaines de l'exposition.

    Le patron du numéro un mondial du luxe est aussi parvenu à faire signer la préface du catalogue de l'exposition à Vladimir Poutine au moment où la situation géopolitique lui faisait renoncer à un voyage en France. Il a obtenu que les héritiers de Chtchoukine renoncent contractuellement à tout recours sur la succession, condition sine qua non de la tenue de l'exposition à Paris. Et du gouvernement français la publication d'un arrêté qui garantit aux musées russes l'insaisissabilité de toutes les œuvres prêtées.

    paris, lvmh, louis vuitton, Chtchoukine

    Le succès de l'exposition a-t-il permis de rentabiliser l'évènement? Pas sûr. Les organisateurs ne donnent aucun chiffre. Mais à 14 euros l'entrée à plein tarif et 5 euros le tarif réduit, on obtient une estimation grossière de 12 millions d'euros tirés de la vente de tickets. Soit juste de quoi rentrer dans des frais estimés entre 10 et 13 millions d'euros selon Le Monde. Jean-Paul Claverie, affirme, lui, que "c'est beaucoup moins"

    Quoi qu'il en soit, "le mot rentabilité n'a pas sa place dans ce type d'opération", analyse Philippe Jourdan, directeur de Promise Consulting et expert du secteur du luxe. Même si des évènements d'une telle ampleur "valorisent la fondation Louis Vuitton, le bâtiment de Frank Gehry en soi", reconnaît le spécialiste, le bénéfice qu'en retire le groupe ne se compte pas en euros. Ce coup magistral sert surtout à "associer le beau et le luxe à un moment où son image pâtit de consumérisme, de mercantilisme". Et à renforcer le statut d'un Bernard Arnault mécène "qui redistribue sa richesse en donnant accès à la culture".

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    #Skincare | #Chanel uncovers powerful plants in global tour | @cosmetics @Chanel

    FROM LUXURY DAILY | FROM SATRAH JONES | JANUARY 5, 2017

    France’s Chanel is exploring the anti-aging secrets of three far-flung populations with a shared claim.

    The beauty brand’s newly released Blue Serum took inspiration from Blue Zones around the world, places where the locals live remarkably longer lives. In an effort to prove the claims of its product, Chanel is inviting consumers to journey to these locales in a series of short films.

    Chanel was reached for comment.

    FEELING BLUE

    Chanel’s Blue Serum is being touted by the brand as “a new horizon for skincare.”Explaining the inspiration and ingredient sourcing for this serum, Chanel filmed travel diaries to the Blue Zones that contributed to the product.

    Against footage taken in Costa Rica, a female narrator says, “You can feel the life force in everything and everywhere.” Portraying this energy are images of waterfalls amid greenery.

    chanel, blue serum, skincare, costa rica

    Still from Chanel's Blue Serum film

    The voiceover explains how Costa Rica’s green coffee can only be found in the country, which may contribute to the locals’ long lives.

    In Italy, the Mediterranean locale is said to be the home of centuries’ old olive trees.

    Chanel turns its attention to the sun in Greece, which it says is in everything. This includes soil, plants and the lentisk tree.

    chanel, blue serum, skincare, costa rica

    Discover the Power of Blue Serum - Chanel

    All videos include the statement, “It’s something special. Some call it a mystery. It’s just life.”

    These ingredients—sourced from Nicoya, Costa Rica; Sardinia, Italy and Ikaria, Greece, all hold antioxidant properties. According to the brand, a trial found the serum to reduce wrinkles, even skin tone and firm skin.

    [LIRE L'ARTICLE EN ENTIER]

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    Tiffany procures retail solutions for Trump Tower-related security measures | @tiffanyandco @cotyincpr

    FROM LUXURY DAILY | DECEMBER 2016, 19

    [LIRE L'ARTICLE EN ENTIER]

    Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship’s proximity to Trump Towers has resulted in an unlikely branding effort for the U.S. jeweler.

    The jeweler’s iconic flagship, known for its cameos in Hollywood films and its annual holiday windows, finds itself on the same block as Trump Towers, the Midtown Manhattan home of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump. Since the election results were announced Nov. 8, protesters have been picketing outside the building, causing the Secret Service and New York Police Department to heighten security along Fifth Avenue, just in time for the holiday season.

    "The truth is that politics and business do not mix, and when those worlds collide, good things rarely happen," said Rob Frankel, branding strategist & expert at Frankel & Anderson, Los Angeles. "'Cause marketing' is a huge myth, often alienating as many (or more) prospects than it might attract. "Overall, I see this less as a political statement and more along the lines of the signs you see posted when a store is remodeling, which proclaim 'Pardon our dust! We're open for business!'" he said. "Nobody really notices and business doesn't improve until the signs are removed and foot traffic returns to normal."

    Branded barricades
    As a result of the extra security measures, storefronts near Trump Tower’s, including Tiffany and Gucci, which has its New York flagship within the tower, have seen decreased foot traffic as barricades deter shoppers and worsen congestion on the already busy thoroughfare in Midtown Manhattan.

    Barricades along the street caused Tiffany to cancel its holiday window reveal. While the store remains in business with normal hours, its sales are expected to take a hit this year, according to CNBC.

    In addition to the imposing presence of the metal blockades, security personnel have also been on heightened alert. Individuals headed to the luxury stores around the tower are the only ones getting through to the sidewalk, but this means potential shoppers enduring questioning by police before they are allowed to pass (Trump’s midtown Manhattan base causes problems for luxury retail).

    Tiffany, for one, has partnered with the New York City Police Department to make the most of the security presence by designing branded covers for the police barricades.

    The barricades, dressed in Tiffany blue slipcovers, have been positioned from 57th Street around to the jeweler’s entrance on Fifth Avenue, thus creating a Tiffany “safe zone.”

    Doing so provides a pathway for passersby to view Tiffany’s annual holiday windows. While this solution ensures some consumers get to experience its windows, Tiffany likely missed out on the attention and crowds that make it a point to see its display this year.

    The placement of the branded barricades also allows consumers to enter the flagship through its main entrance. Prior to the barricades being set up, consumers were encouraged to use the jeweler’s side entrance facing 57th Street.

    In a statement the jeweler said: “Tiffany is in frequent communication with the New York Police Department and U.S. Secret Service regarding safety and security along the perimeter of our Fifth Avenue flagship. We remain open for business with regular hours and welcome customers to enter the store via our 57th Street entrance while any barricades along Fifth Avenue are in place.

     “Our iconic flagship store windows, which feature sparkling scenes of New York City at the holidays, are now on display for all to see. Our façade has also been illuminated as planned.”

    Alternate viewings
    A digital solution has also been implemented to ensure that consumers who would rather not visit in person due to the barricades and upped police presence can still experience the windows

    Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and Cartier are among the 18 New York storefronts getting a digital audience this holiday season with help from Google. Google’s “Window Wonderland” recreates the feeling of strolling outside iconic retailers on a consumers’ desktop computer, mobile phone or tablet.

    While about 5 million tourists descend on New York this time of year, many located in other cities, states or countries will not be able to get to see these in person, making this Google experience the next best thing.

    (...)

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    Les blogueuses beauté se cachent pour mourir | @Leblogdelaura

    Après la presse féminine, les marques de cosmétiques ont tout misé sur les blogs de beauté, puis sont passées à autre chose. C’est moche.

    blog, beute, cosmetique, maquillage, publicite

    19 décembre 2016

    Il y a dix-huit mois à peine, la situation était sous contrôle. Délaissant une presse papier vieillissante, les industriels de la cosmétique misaient tout sur les blogueuses et les youtubeuses. Des dizaines de sites et de chaînes beauté en ligne ouvraient chaque jour. Les postulantes à la gloire se bousculaient au portillon. Dans une ambiance de casting permanent, il suffisait aux marques de choisir les plus prometteuses, puis de les couvrir de cadeaux : échantillons gratuits, invitations au festival de Cannes, voyages à Hollywood et places de concert VIP.


    Les professionnels avaient tiré les leçons de quelques bides spectaculaires, comme celui du blog « Claire, le journal de ma peau », ouvert en 2005 par Vichy pour vanter un exfoliant. Pendant les trois semaines que durait le traitement, une pseudo-blogueuse contait le quotidien de son épiderme. Huées des internautes, discrédit, retraite piteuse. Trop léché et terriblement artificiel, le blog de Claire était, de surcroît, superflu. Pourquoi dépenser de l’argent pour créer une fausse « influenceuse », alors que les vraies se bousculent pour collaborer et qu’elles sont crédibles aux yeux du public ?

    [LIRE LA SUITE SUR LE SITE]

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    Luxury Brands Seek a Way Into Generation | #generationZ #luxury @adetem

    ARTICLE PARU DANS LE NYT, ELIZABETH PATON, LE 05-12-2016

    [LIRE L'ARTICLE DANS LE NEW YORK TIMES]

    Millennials, the much-studied generation whose behavior has seduced and puzzled luxury brands in equal measure, are no longer the sole focus for companies hoping to attract new customers: Generation Z, the label given to those born since 1995, is the latest target audience, thanks to their future purchasing power and the influence they hold over the spending of their parents and grandparents.

    Unlike their older peers, who have watched technology gradually embed itself in their daily lives, members of Generation Z are known as “digital natives”: those who cannot remember what it is like to not have a cellphone permanently attached to their hand.

    “This is an impulsive group who will turn adverts off, call BS really easily and hate being talked down to,” said Meridith Valiando Rojas, co-founder and chief executive of DigiTour Media, a Los Angeles-based group that has led the way in a booming events trend in live entertainment. “They know there is always something else out there as they have always had that information at their fingertips. That is hard for many brands to contend with.”

    DigiTour Media hosts festivals where social media stars step out from behind their bedroom webcams and meet their teenage fan base. The festivals showcase people who have created mass followings on YouTube, Instagram and Music.ly, the lip-syncing app with over 100 million monthly users and that anyone over 21 is unlikely to have heard of. DigiTour Media group now puts on approximately 200 events a year, comprising both DigiFests (one- or two-day showcases) or DigiTours (groups of performers who rove the United States). The combined reach of the acts is 350 million people.

    “It is all about bringing the internet to life — their internet to life,” said Ms. Valiando Rojas at The New York Times’s Global Leaders’ Collective conference, held in Washington this past week. A former music executive, she recognized in 2010 that there was no equivalent of a music festival on the market for younger teenagers. She also saw that when it came to hormone-fueled popularity, 21st-century social media stars had as much clout as the biggest boy bands.

    “Generation Z are the most influential group of consumers right now. Whether or not they are buying luxury today, they will be tomorrow,” Ms. Valiando Rojas said. “So understanding where they think, where they go and how to advertise to them without rubbing them up the wrong way is crucial.”

    That more and more people are looking for experience-led luxury purchases over products is another factor in why brands should be looking to build relationships with this demographic, both on and off their phones.

    There is a distinction between Generation Z and millennials in how they behave within their social media communities. Millennials are keen to be unique, but members of Generation Z want to be popular and part of a group. Having grown up immersed in social media, members of Generation Z define their identity by how many “Likes’’ they get on Facebook or how many followers they have. They see their online personalities as extensions of themselves

    “That is why these influencers are so important: Teenagers today trust these voices,” Ms. Valiando Rojas said, adding that she booked acts based on their popularity and what the followers of her company’s social media accounts suggested. She pointed to Baby Ariel (age 16), Jacob Sartorius (age 14) and the Dolan Twins (age 16) as some of the biggest names to watch.

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    #Luxe, calme et volupté dans les palais dorés du millionnaire cubain Fidel Castro | #Cuba #FidelCastro #SegoleneRoyal

    ARTICLE PARU DANS LE JOURNAL LES OBSERVATEURS.CH, SUISSE, LE 05-12-2016

    [LIRE L'ARTICLE EN LIGNE]

    Fidel Castro, héros de la révolution marxiste latino-américaine, est mort depuis maintenant une semaine et sa dépouille croule sous les éloges funèbres dispensés par une pseudo-élite intellectuelle superficielle qui s’extasie devant les faux concepts humanistes du communisme international. Toujours les mêmes bobos conformistes de la pensée unique qui dispensent des bobards à longueur de temps et trompent énormément.

    Fidel Castro ne fut pas seulement un sanguinaire révolutionnaire, un dictateur féroce, un boucher pour les pauvres Cubains, un ennemi politique sans état d’âme, qui transforma, « l’île en une énorme prison entourée d’eau » selon les mots de sa propre sœur Juanita qui n’ira pas à son enterrement. Au nom d’une révolution des pauvres sensée libérer les prolétariens et apporter le bonheur à Cuba il en fit son domaine personnel pour son plus grand avantage et se maintenir au pouvoir. De révolutionnaire marxiste il devint millionnaire capitaliste tout en cultivant, pour le public et les médias complaisants, l’image idyllique du chef incorruptible et détaché des biens matériels : le pur des purs révolutionnaires qui en privé nage dans l’or pendant que son peuple meurt de faim.

    Selon le magasine Forbes, Fidel Castro faisait partie des hommes « les plus riches parmi les rois, les reines et les dictateurs. » La fortune de Castro est estimée à 900 millions de dollars dus en partie aux revenus d’une minière d’or et de nombreuses entreprises d’États sous son contrôle. Certains observateurs occidentaux et cubains expatriés parlent aussi d’une banque en Angleterre et de 270 entreprises de par le monde sous son emprise. On est bien loin des quelques pesos avec lesquels il se targuait de vivre, à l’instar de la majeur partie des Cubains.

    Yacht en bois rare, whisky de 12 ans d’âge, belles femmes, jacuzzi, étaient quelques unes des commodités que s’offrait le Lider maximo. Propriétaire d’une île paradisiaque proche de Cuba, Cayo Piedra, il aimait y recevoir des personnalités comme l’inhumain président de l’Allemagne de l’Est Erich Honecker qui décida de l’érection du mur de Berlin ou l’écrivain communiste Gabriel García Márquez.

    « Il laissait entendre que la révolution ne lui donnait aucun répit, aucun plaisir, qu’il ignorait et méprisait le concept bourgeois de vacances. Il mentait  » affirme un des ses anciens compagnons d’armes resté à ses côtés jusqu’en 1994, le lieutenant-colonel Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, réfugié ensuite à Miami et décédé mystérieusement après ses révélations sur le dictateur cubain parues dans un livre intitulé « Double vie de Fidel Castro ».

    « Il était convaincu que Cuba était sa propriété » écrit Sanchez. Outre la vie capitaliste, tant honnis en public mais si aimée en cachette, il aimait les femmes : il eut plusieurs épouses, plusieurs maîtresses et huit enfants qui tout comme lui aiment la vie luxueuse. Le colonel Sanchez raconte : « Pendant que son peuple mourrait de faim Fidel Castro a vécu avec toutes les commodités. Et cela est vrai aussi pour ses huit enfants, les diverses épouses et amantes. Le tout dans le plus grand secret ».

     

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    #Luxury #Shoppers Crowd #London for #Brexit bargains [@adetem @LuxuryDaily]

    NOVEMBER, 30, 2016.

    London: While the prospect of Brexit is weighing on much of the British economy, tourism and luxury goods businesses are cashing in on bargain-hungry visitors lured by the slide in the pound.

    [LIRE L'ARTICLE DANS BUSINESS NEWS] 

    London’s tourism agency says sales of goods eligible for sales-tax exemption have gone up by a third since the Brexit vote in June, which sent the pound sterling plunging against the euro and dollar. ”We calculated that over the last four months it’s been about 12% cheaper for Europeans to come and shop here,” said Chris Gottlieb, head of leisure marketing at the agency London & Partners. The pound is now at 1.17 euros compared with 1.3 euros before the shock vote to leave the European Union, while it has also fallen to US$1.25 from US$1.49. The result is that London has become the cheapest city for luxury goods shopping in the world in dollar terms, according to a study by Deloitte.

    ‘GOING TO SPEND MUCH MORE’

    In tourist areas, the effects are evident. ”We’re going to spend much more money than we planned to,” said Radostina Nonova, a Bulgarian tourist, laughing as she lugged her bags on Carnaby Street - in the heart of London’s shopping district. ”We didn’t plan to shop too much but it’s obvious that the prices are very good for us. ”So we shop and we can afford to eat and drink outside. That was not possible years ago,” she said.

    French tourist Christophe Disic said he did not come just because the pound was low but “when we changed our money we realised we had a few more pounds for fewer euros”. When speaking to US tourists, shopkeepers are quick to take out their calculators. ”We’re an American brand. Our products are designed and assembled in the States. But with the weakening of the pound it actually happens to be cheaper for the American tourists to buy an American product in London,” said Denis Sagajevs, who works in Shinola, a shop selling watches and leather accessories. ”It’s affected by the fact that they can claim VAT on their way back. We pretty much on a day-to-day basis explain that to customers from the States. It happens to be quite a strong sales driver,” he said.

    50 PER CENT INCREASE IN SHOPPERS

    Some shops are adapting their advertising and sales tactics to the new consumer behaviour. ”Before the vote, European tourists were couples who came to be together and maybe bought a couple of things,” said James, the manager of a luxury men’s clothes shop on Carnaby Street. ”Now, there are groups of friends who rush in. They grab everything they can carry.” James estimated that European and US shoppers coming to his store have increased by around 50%. Instead of spending on costly advertising in British newspapers as it did before, his firm is changing tactic to appeal more to overseas visitors. They have put up signs outside Underground train stations near the shop.

    But there are doubts about how long the boom can last. While the good health of the British economy was confirmed by solid growth of 0.5% in the third quarter, the official forecasts for 2017 have been lowered to 1.4% from 2.2%. ”Our British customer sales are not as strong as before the vote and we don’t even know if this tourism boom is going to last,” James said. - AFP

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    Inside #Fidel #Castro’s life of #luxury and ladies while country starved [#cuba @adetem]

    castro, new-york post, cuba

    FROM THE NEW YORK POST, BY LAURA ITALIANO, NOVEMBER, 27, 2016

    With his shaggy beard and rumpled, olive-drab fatigues, Fidel Castro presented himself to the world as a modest man of the people. At times, he claimed he made just 900 pesos ($43) a month and lived in a “fisherman’s hut” somewhere on the beach.

    But Castro’s public image was a carefully crafted myth, more fiction than fact.

    “While his people suffered, Fidel Castro lived in comfort — keeping everything, including his eight children, his many mistresses, even his wife, a secret,” wrote Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, Castro’s longtime bodyguard. Sanchez’s book, “The Double Life of Fidel Castro: My 17 Years as Personal Bodyguard to El Líder Maximo,” describes his former boss’s hidden life of political ruthlessness, mistresses and greed.

    Castro, who died Friday night at 90, made a personal fortune offering safe haven to drug traffickers, bedded a bevy of women over the decades, and once threatened his own brother, Raul, with execution when the brother lapsed into alcoholism in the ’90s, Sanchez’s book reveals.

    Amazingly, most Cubans had no idea how, or even where, their secretive strongman actually lived. Even his first and second wives were kept out of the public eye — as was their leader’s two-timing. Castro cheated on his first wife, the upper-middle-class Mirta Diaz-Balart, with Natalia Revuelta. “With her green eyes, her perfect face and her natural charm,” Revuelta was one of Havana’s most beautiful women, Sanchez wrote — no matter that she, too, was married at the start of their mid-’50s affair. Diaz-Balart would bear Castro his first “official” son, Fidel Jr. or “Fidelito,” and Revuelta would bear Castro his only daughter, Alina.

    Castro cheated, too, on his second wife, seducing “comrade Celia Sanchez, his private secretary, confidante and guard dog for 30 or so years,” Sanchez wrote. Castro also bedded his English interpreter, his French interpreter, and a Cuban airline stewardess who attended him on foreign trips, Sanchez wrote. “He doubtless had other relationships that I did not know about,” Sanchez wrote. Castro kept 20 luxurious properties throughout the Caribbean nation, including his own island, accessed via a yacht decorated entirely in exotic wood imported from Angola, Sanchez wrote. Taking control of Cuba on New Year’s Day 1959, after his guerrilla army routed the quarter-century-long dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, Castro vowed that unlike his hated predecessor, he’d share the nation’s wealth with its poorest citizens.

    But while he made good on some of his promises to educate and care for his people — building free schools and hospitals with the help of his Soviet sponsors — Castro’s legacy was also one of repression and hypocrisy. Deep poverty persisted — teen prostitution, crumbling houses, food rations. Political opponents were executed by the thousands by firing squad, or sentenced to decades of hard labor. Castro had as many as 11 children with four women — only two of whom he was married to — and numerous other mistresses, Sanchez wrote.

    Only those closest to him knew of these affairs. The only woman who dared to cause him any public scandal was his rebellious daughter, Alina Fernandez Revuelta. “I remember her in the 1980s, a pretty young woman who had become a model,” Sanchez wrote. “One day, when I was in Fidel’s anteroom, Pepín Naranjo, his aide-de-camp, showed up with a copy of the magazine Cuba. “Spread across its second page, Alina could be admired posing on a sailboat in a bikini, in an advertisement for Havana Club rum.” “What on earth is this?” Fidel exclaimed, according to Sanchez. “Call Alina, at once!”

    What followed was an epic father-daughter blowout.

    "Two hours later, Alina strode into his office, not in the least ­intimidated,” Sanchez recalled. “The ensuing argument was the most memorable of them all: Shouting reverberated all over the room, shaking the walls of the presidential office.” “Everybody knows you are my daughter! Posing in a bikini like that is unseemly!” Castro raged. Several years later, in 1993, Fidel learned through his secret service that Alina was plotting to flee to the United States.

    “I am warning you: Alina must not leave Cuba under any pretext or in any way,” Castro told his head bodyguard, Col. Jose Delgado Castro, according to Sanchez. “You’ve been warned.” Two months later, Alina put on a wig, packed a false Spanish passport, and, with the help of a network of international accomplices, sneaked out of Cuba. This, too, ignited the dictator’s temper. “One rarely sees the Comandante allowing his anger to explode,” Sanchez wrote. “In 17 years, I saw it only twice. But when Pepín broke the unpleasant news to him that day, Fidel went mad with rage. “Standing up, he stamped his feet on the ground while pointing his two index fingers down to his toes and waving them around.” “What a band of incompetent fools!” he cried. “I want those responsible! I demand a report! I want to know how all this could have happened!”

    Alina remains one of her father’s most outspoken opponents. “When people tell me he’s a dictator, I tell them that’s not the right word,” she told the Miami Herald. “Strictly speaking, Fidel is a tyrant.” Castro’s second wife and widow, Dalia Soto del Valle, is the least known of Castro’s women, Sanchez noted. They met in 1961. Castro noticed her in the audience as he gave an open-air speech, Sanchez remembered.

    “Fidel spotted in the first row a gorgeous girl with whom he rapidly started exchanging furtive and meaningful glances,” Sanchez wrote. After being vetted by his aide-de-camp, del Valle was installed in a discreet house just outside Havana. Eventually, they married and had five sons, who grew up in hidden luxury on an estate outside Havana. “With its orange, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit and banana trees, the estate resembled a veritable garden of Eden — especially if one compared it with the notorious ration book that all Cubans had to use to buy food,” Sanchez wrote.

    Each member of the family possessed his or her own cow, “so as to satisfy each one’s individual taste, since the acidity and creaminess of fresh milk varies from one cow to another.” Disloyalty exacted a heavy price. Dissidents were jailed for as little as handing out books on democracy. Castro himself displayed little loyalty, either professionally or personally. Even his closest aides faced execution if it suited his agenda. In the late ’80s, when an international scandal brewed over Castro’s exchanges of safe haven for cash with Colombian cocaine traffickers, Castro had no problem throwing those closest to him under the bus. “Very simply, a huge drug-trafficking transaction was being carried out at the highest echelons of the state,” Sanchez wrote.Castro “was directing illegal operations like a real godfather,” Sanchez wrote.Revolutionary Gen. Arnaldo Ochoa, who had fought alongside Fidel and Raul Castro, was at the center of the drug dealings, Sanchez said.

    But when the US caught wind, Castro vowed an “official inquiry.” Raul was forced to watch on closed-circuit TV as a kangaroo court tried and convicted Ochoa — and then to watch the general’s execution by firing squad. “Castro made us watch it,” Sanchez recalled. “That’s what the Comandante was capable of to keep his power: not just of killing but also of humiliating and reducing to nothing men who had served him devotedly.” After Ochoa’s death, Raul plunged into alcoholism, drowning his grief and humiliation with vodka. “Listen, I’m talking to you as a brother,” Castro warned him. “Swear to me that you will come out of this lamentable state and I promise you nothing will happen to you.” Raul, who perhaps knew best what his brother was capable of, complied.

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    [@pointsdevente]- Face à la crise, quelle posture pour les marques de luxe françaises ? [@adetem @luxurysociety]

    Quelle est la meilleure attitude à adopter pour les marques luxe françaises ?

    Propos recueillis par Cécile Buffard

    [Philippe Jourdan]. Elles possèdent de solides atouts. On ne construit pas une marque de luxe en quelques années. Les acteurs mythiques ont construit leur image, leur activité, leur savoir-faire et leur position sur un temps long. Après, ce n'est pas parce qu'on dispose d'un temps long qu'on ne peut pas le bousculer.

    Oui, il y a une élégance à la française, une vision de la femme française qui plaît avec une vraie tradition de savoir-faire. Ce qui est compliqué, c'est que nous ne sommes pas les seuls acteurs. Je crois beaucoup aux marques italiennes même si on a longtemps cru que l'Italie resterait l'atelier de nos marques de mode.

    De la même façon, il existe aux États-Unis de très nombreuses marques de luxe dont certaines ne servent que les clientèles américaine et anglosaxonne et qui sont de vraies concurrentes aux marques françaises. D'une façon générale, on ne développe pas de la même façon un secteur qui affiche 1 % de croissance au lieu de 5 %. Mais si le marché est compliqué, je ne crois pas à la mort du luxe. Ce n'est pas pour rien que dans toutes les civilisations, on a consacré autant de dépenses, d'énergie, et de ressources dans l'économie du luxe. Quel que soit le contexte, le luxe est intemporel. 

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    [@pointsdevente] Que cache le repli de l'horlogerie de #luxe ?| #montres @adetem @luxurysociety

    [Philippe Jourdan]. Deux facteurs importants sont à prendre en compte pour comprendre ce phénomène de repli. D'abord, il y a la lutte contre la corruption menée par le régime chinois actuel qui a engendré une focalisation sur ce type de biens de luxe possédés par l'élite chinoise. Ces objets ont été pointés du doigt car ils étaient susceptibles d'avoir été acquis à l'issue de corruption active. Les montres enregistrent des taux de recul de -10 % à 12 % depuis deux ou trois années consécutives. Cela devient inquiétant pour les groupes spécialisés où le poids de l'horlogerie est important. Ils vont devoir revoir leurs principes d'actions sur ces marchés.

    Ensuite, et ce qui est moins connu, c'est que cette lutte anti-corruption cache plus qu'un enjeu politique mais un vrai renversement culturel. Quand on relit les discours du président Xi Jinping, on s'aperçoit que derrière ce combat, le thème du retour aux valeurs de Confucius est récurrent. À savoir, renouer avec une certaine forme de sobriété. On ne condamne pas l'enrichissement mais celui-ci doit se développer dans une sphère privée, sans ostentation. Ce qui oblige les marques de luxe à réorienter leur offre, leur communication et leurs valeurs vers une sphère plus intime.

    Propos recueillis par Cécile Buffard

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