Required Reading: Chasing Cool

There's been a lot of buzz in the fashion industry this week about Barneys New York having been bought out for nearly $900 mil. While business minds may marvel over the brand's hefty price-tag, the style set knows that it's worth every penny. To get a better back-ground on the company—and other powerhouse brands—pop open Chasing Cool, a new book penned by marketing guru Noah Kerner, ad exec Andrew Essex, and Gene Pressman—the genius who took Barneys from a discount clothier to the premiere luxury-good purveyor that it is today.

While the book serves as a manual for marketing-types seeking insight on how Barneys, Nike, Apple, Target and other highly successful brands created and optimized their cool quotient, it also offers anecdotes from high-profile fashion faces that even the casual reader can appreciate.

For instance Us Weekly'sBonnie Fuller—she of the Stars; They're Just Like Us! phenomenon—hates meetings:
“You have to have one central vision…I don't believe in creation by committee. I think it's impossible. You can't get anything done with committees.”

When not hobnobbing with New York's finest, Bungalow 8, Lot 61, Bette et al's creator Amy Sacco likes to talk shop:
“You cannot buy into my place. It may take us a little longer, but this is the kind of brand that I want to build. And while everyone else is giving away tables with bottles, I refuse to subscribe.”

Serge Becker—the force behind Joe's Pub, La Esquina, etc—would change jobs if he wanted to make major moula:
“The purpose of nightlife is to enjoy the lifestyle itself. If I really wanted to make tons of money, I would look at a different industry because this isn't it.”

Estee Lauder President John Demsey reads then ignores reports:
“I love looking at trend reports because then I know exactly what I shouldn't be doing.”

Tom Ford wholeheartedly agrees with him. (And you know that resume of yours that you sent him? Well, he didn't like it. Not one bit.)
“I hate the term trendspotting, and I hate people who claim to spot trends. When I was at Gucci I would always get these resumes, you know ‘I go shopping in markets and I tell people what the next trend is and blah blah blah.' If you have to pay someone to tell you what the next trend is, then you're in the wrong business.”

The chapter on the concept of quiet luxury—ie the kind of subtle, sophisticated branding that Barneys pioneered—is especially appealing to those (ie me) trying to draft up fall shopping wishlists. If you need help brainstorming, remember that Pierre Hardy's bags, Tomas Maier's draped dresses, and Lutz & Patmos' delectable sweaters all satisfy the tenants of low-key luxury—and all can purchased at Barneys of course.

[tags]Chasing Cool, Gene Pressman, Barneys, Barneys Buyout, Tom Ford, Amy Sacco, Bonnie Fuller, John Dempsey, Serge Becker [/tags]