SSense recently marked down several Marni Trunk Bags, and I finally caved and bought one. Some notable styles: Black Small Trunk Bag, Pink Small Trunk Bag, Blue Small Trunk Bag, Pink Medium Trunk Bag, Yellow & Grey Small Trunk Bag, and Black Medium Trunk Bag.

They See It. They Like It. They Want It. They Rent It. (The New York Times): “While paying to borrow décor, clothing and offices is nothing new, the options have grown substantially in recent years. Now, one can fill a temporary home with rented coffee tables and sofas from Crate & Barrel and West Elm, and refresh a wardrobe with rented outfits from clothing lines like Theory and Vince or mall chains like Loft and Express. Some of those garments can even be returned to special drop boxes at WeWork, where their short-term wearers might also rent office space. It doesn’t end there: Fancy camping tents, Vitamix blenders, Dyson vacuums and Oculus Rifts are all up for lease too. Some would say we’re living in the Gilded Age of renting.”

Forget the Mall, Shoppers Are Buying Gucci at Airports (The Wall Street Journal): “The world’s airports, drawing ever more travelers with time to kill, have become havens of high-end shopping … For the first time last year, Estée Lauder Co. generated more revenue at airports globally than at U.S. department stores, which for decades had been beauty companies’ biggest sales driver … An average person travels by plane three to four times a year, and spends about 72 minutes waiting between security and flight … Travelers, especially those coming from Asia, increasingly work high-end shopping sprees into their trips, planning layovers around access to lavish shopping … Global sales of duty-free and other travel-retail channels rose about 9.3% to reach a record $76 billion in 2018, up from $69 billion in 2017 … Travel retail consists of airport shops, in-flight purchases, duty-free stores neighboring airports, cruises and online orders picked up at the airport. All stores located beyond airport customs are duty-free.”

The Future of Marketing Is Bespoke Everything (The Atlantic): “… aided by advances in manufacturing and the direct-to-consumer nature of online shopping, personalization has become the hot new thing at much more accessible prices. That’s especially true in the wellness industry… Prose is one of a slew of new companies offering everything from custom-blended face creams to individualized vitamin cocktails. Together, these brands have attracted millions of shoppers … by tapping into something powerful: the idea that we’re all fancy and special enough to have something made just for us … Brands like Prose don’t just collect revenue—they collect data. Exhaustive surveys provide useful context when formulating a bespoke product, but they also give companies a level of granular information about their consumers that most traditional brands could never hope to acquire … data collection has always been a lucrative by-product of any customization program.”

Sale styles are now up to 70% off at ASOS. New customers can use code ASOSNEW15 for 15% off an order. My picks: Sexy Safari Tux Midi Dress, Lace & Dobby Mesh Midi Dress with Long Sleeves, Knitted Mini Dress in Fluffy Yarn, Woven Peg Pants with Obi Tie, Parisian Cami Strap Romper in Banana Print, Lace up Front Beach Maxi Dress in Stripe Palm Print, and Wrap Jumpsuit With Self Belt.

These Influencers Aren’t Flesh and Blood, Yet Millions Follow Them (The New York Times): “Why hire a celebrity, a supermodel or even a social media influencer to market your product when you can create the ideal brand ambassador from scratch? … Human simulations have existed for years … But lately they have become more realistic and more engaging … Virtual influencers come with an advantage for the companies that use them: They are less regulated than their human counterparts. And the people controlling them aren’t required to disclose their presence.”

Chanel Surpasses $11 Billion in Sales, Dismisses Rumours of Imminent Sale (The Business of Fashion): “While Chanel, one of the only independent luxury brands still in operation today, has long been admired and obsessed over by analysts and investors alike, its double-digit growth in recent years indicates that the ceiling for sales within a single luxury brand might be quite higher than what was once imagined … As its latest financials reveal, Chanel continues to dominate the luxury market amidst the increased scrutiny. In 2018, the company generated $11.1 billion in global sales, up 10.5 percent on a comparable basis year-over-year, with operating profit hitting nearly $3 billion, up 8 percent from 2017. Sales in the Asia-Pacific region soared to $4.7 billion, up nearly 20 percent year over year and surpassing Europe for the first time, where sales were nearly $4.3 billion, up 8 percent from 2017. In the Americas, sales were $2.1 billion, up 7 percent from a year earlier … The brand also saw increases across product divisions, including fashion … underscoring the excellent performance of ready-to-wear and leather goods.”

Facebook Wants to Create a Digital Currency (The Economist): “Libra, as [Facebook’s] new currency is to be known in honour of an ancient Roman unit of mass … could … if widely adopted … vest unprecedented power in the hands of its issuer … Facebook wants to outsource the running of Libra to a consortium of trustworthies recruited from the world of finance, technology and NGOs. The consequences for the global financial system could be far-reaching. So could the impact on Facebook’s business … Libra’s success … is far from assured. But it could prove useful even if it flops, for it offers a blueprint for how Facebook itself could one day be governed.”

Facebook Plans Global Financial System Based on Cryptocurrency (The New York Times): “… if the project, which Facebook hopes to begin next year with 100 partners, should come together, it would be the most far-reaching attempt by a mainstream company to jump into the world of cryptocurrencies … The project is being planned to address skeptics. The Libra digital token will be directly backed by government currencies like the dollar or euro … So unlike Bitcoin … it will not fluctuate in value any more than real-world money, and it is not likely to appeal to speculators … To acquire Libra … through a new Facebook subsidiary, called Calibra, users are likely to have to show government identification like a driver’s license, which would make it unappealing for black market transactions like buying drugs … Calibra would not be allowed to share any of its financial customer data with other Facebook divisions, though there may be exceptions in incidents like fraudulent activity … The currency itself is being built so that any software developer in the world can build a digital wallet or other services on top of it … The structure of the new Libra currency is based on the blockchain technology made famous by Bitcoin … Customers will be able to hold and spend their Libra with businesses that accept the currency, and there will be services that quickly convert Libra into traditional currencies and send the money to traditional bank accounts … While Libra is meant to be independent of Facebook, the social networking giant has clear plans for making money from the venture. Initially, the Calibra subsidiary will offer little more than a wallet to hold and spend Libra. When Libra is released next year, the plan is to make the wallet available to the billions of people who have accounts with Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. If Libra catches on … Facebook’s Calibra could offer financial services to customers, such as lending and investing.”

Sale styles have been further reduced at Michael Kors. My picks: Crepe Tie-Shoulder Jumpsuit, Gramercy Large Satchel, Mercer Medium Accordion Crossbody Bag, Small Camera Bag, Gramercy Large Chain-Embossed Satchel, Ava Extra-Small Saffiano Crossbody, Alice Patent Leather Sandal, Jayne Pebbled Leather Trunk Bag, and Whitney Large Quilted Convertible Shoulder Bag.

A Growing Problem in Real Estate: Too Many Too Big Houses (The Wall Street Journal): “Tastes—and access to credit—have shifted dramatically since the early 2000s. These days, buyers of all ages eschew the large, ornate houses built in those years in favor of smaller, more-modern looking alternatives, and prefer walkable areas to living miles from retail. The problem is especially acute in areas with large clusters of retirees.”

Mission Impossible? Maker of Plant-Based Burger Struggles to Meet Chains’ Demand (The New York Times): “Impossible Foods … has experienced a 50 percent increase in revenue since it introduced the second version of its meatless burger in January, it said, and its signature burger is now on the menu at 9,000 restaurants.”

How Luxury Brands Are Raising the Stakes on Instagram (The Business of Fashion): “LVMH increased its total marketing spending at the fastest rate in seven years in 2018 to 5.6 billion euros, reaching 12% of group revenues … Louis Vuitton … also now allocates half its marketing costs to digital media … As digital investments rise, mid-sized luxury labels are now in an increasingly awkward spot as they try and stay visible. ‘The ones that are suffering are those in the middle, of an average size, which are stuck between the small innovative pure digital players and the big groups with big means,’ … Italian shoemaker Tod’s is among a clutch of brands in turnaround mode investing more in social media in a bid to revive sales — a strategy welcomed by analysts but which will likely keep weighing on its profit margin.”

Could Donor #2065 Be My Father? (The New York Times): “Donors to fertility banks — they accept eggs as well as sperm — can choose to be anonymous, although anonymity can no longer be guaranteed because of DNA testing and the internet. Only recently have some donor-conceived children begun to fight to do away with anonymity in an unregulated system that accounts for some 30,000 to 60,000 births in the United States each year. Some donor children have filed petitions with the Food and Drug Administration requesting … the creation of a universal database for donor records. While some banks already preserve all records, others remove them 10 years after a child’s birth.”

♥ Take 30% off full-price styles + 50% off getaway must-haves at J. Crew with code GETAWAY. A recent order: Romper in Summer Paisley, Tie-Back Tulip Skirt in Kaleidoscope Floral, Point Sur Wide-Leg Tailored Jumpsuit, and Stretch Tie-neck Sleeveless Top.

♥ (Video link) The Weekly: Baby Constantin (Hulu)

My Dad Obsesses over His Lawn. I Ripped Mine Up. (The Washington Post): “Having a cropped, uniform lawn has also long been a way of keeping up with the Joneses. But do younger generations really aspire to murder the clover, the wild violet, the dead nettle and the dandelions in the name of impressing their neighbors? I don’t think so.”

Gen Z Loves TikTok. Can Fashion Brands Learn to Love It Too? (The Business of Fashion): “Fashion brands are only just starting to test the waters with TikTok, which has rocketed to the top of the app charts with over one billion downloads … Its simple interface, which allows users to upload 15-second video clips … has proven particularly irresistible to Gen Z: 66 percent of the platform’s 500 million global users are under 30 … TikTok hasn’t set up infrastructure available on other platforms that allows brands and influencers to monetise their followings. Users can’t click through to a link, or buy products in the app.”

♥ The Coach Polished Pebble Pop Up Messenger (reviewed here) that I find really useful is now on sale in black at Zappos. Some more Zappos sale picks: LAUREN Ralph Lauren Rain Balmacaan, Salvatore Ferragamo The Studio Mini Handbag, Sam Edelman Yaro Ankle Strap Sandal Heel, Nike In-Season TR 8 Premium, and Lacoste Short Sleeve Pique Polo Dress.

Why Teens Are Selling Clothes Out of Their Closets (The Atlantic): “Most Depop users sell old clothes and vintage garments. If sellers are successful enough, sometimes they’ll start their own brand and distribute it exclusively through Depop. The app is similar to other social resale apps such as Poshmark and Thredup, but Depop has distinguished itself by courting young users … One of the things that make Depop so popular is its low barrier to entry. It’s as easy as setting up a profile, snapping a picture of the item you want to sell, and uploading. The prices are also remarkably affordable … But the real secret to Depop’s success is that it allows users to amass two of the most valuable modern currencies: money and clout. Becoming a top seller on Depop is a springboard to fame on YouTube or Instagram. It also provides built-in monetization for a future career as an influencer. In the scramble to secure brand deals and launch merch lines, having a successful Depop store can be a lifeline. Plus, you can’t be called a sellout when you made a name for yourself as a seller.”

‘Little Fresh Meat’ and the Changing Face of Masculinity in China (The New York Times): “… ‘little fresh meat,’ a nickname, coined by fans, for young, delicate-featured, makeup-clad male entertainers … Their rise has been one of the biggest cultural trends of the past decade. Their image — antithetical to the patriarchal and stoic qualities traditionally associated with Chinese men — is changing the face of masculinity in China … the little fresh meat have powerful critics. The state news agency Xinhua denounces what it calls … ‘sissy pants,’ culture as ‘pathological’ and said in an editorial last September that its popularity is eroding social order.”

♥ Recently purchased: Ann Taylor Lace T-Shirt Shift Dress, TRE by Natalie Ratabesi Clea Top, Theory Good Wool Blazer Dress, Uniqlo Drape Sleeveless Dress, Topshop Stripe Wide Leg Jumpsuit, LOFT Striped Button Flare Dress, and Jonathan Simkhai Puff Sleeve Cashmere Sweater.

Have a great week, everyone!

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