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Changing times in the world of fashion and luxury

Auction houses cancelling Russian art, the FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week and Aston Martin's swan song in this week's news

The V12 Vantage sports car
The V12 Vantage sports car (Reuters )

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As a response to the Western sanctions on Russia as punishment for its invasion of Ukraine, auction houses Christie's, Sotheby's and Bonhams have cancelled sales of Russian art in London in June, reported Reuters. "Western countries have taken unprecedented steps to cut ties with Russia, including freezing bank accounts and placing sanctions on Russian billionaires following Russia's February 24 attack on Ukraine, which it calls a "special operation," reported the wire agency. 

Usually, these houses hold sales of Russian art in June and November, a period referred to as Russian Art Week. In a statement, Sotheby's said that it was "absolutely rigorous about following the present sanctions, and are monitoring closely for any updates to the lists."

Similarly, Christie's also cancelled its June sale of Russian art, citing factors including the uncertainty of the war and complex logistical and legal requirements related to sanctions, stated Reuters. "While the current sales market for Christie's in Russia as a whole is relatively small, we have a responsibility to respond to our clients' needs and to geopolitical events that are out of our control," Christie's said in a statement. It also added that it was doing enhanced due diligence on politically-exposed people and those with a connection to sanctioned jurisdictions, said Reuters, adding that Bonhams did not provide a reason for its decision.

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Despite these measures, some dealers and advisers told Reuters that the international art market as a whole is unlikely to take a hit, as Russian buyer numbers have fallen since the 2008 financial crash and represent a small part of the market. According to Sebastian Duthy, CEO of Art Market Research, Russian works of art, valued at 37.7 million pounds ($49.6 million) at Sotheby's and Christie's salerooms in London in 2021, represented less than 1% of the turnover, Reuters reported. 

FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week to be hosted live for the first time in two years

The Lakmé Fashion Week, held in a hybrid format for the last two editions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be hosted live again in New Delhi this year. The opening gala of the fashion week will be hosted by the Italian Embassy on March 22, showcasing designs by leading Indian designer Rahul Mishra from his collection ‘The Enchanted Garden’. 

Italian ambassador Vincenzo de Luca said that the collaboration between Indian and Italian design kicked off in 2021 and has brought together the best of Italy and India in the field of lifestyle and fashion. “We will have onboard some of the most exclusive Italian brands which are the true actors of Italian soft power around the world,” he said. 

"It is an immense pleasure to be able to showcase at the Embassy of Italy, with a collection that emerges out of my love for nature. Complimented with accessories from Italian heritage brands, this showcase is an apt representation of the global identity of our brand," he said. Italy, says Mishra, was a second home and had a special place in his heart. "Since my initial days as a designer studying in Milano, I have found influence in the Italian history of art, fashion and architecture. And it has significantly contributed to my overall perspective of design and helped shape my point of view towards the application of Indian craft in a contemporary fashion," said Mishra, whose collection is a "flirtation between first-hand experiences and fantastical imagination."

FDCI Chairman Sunil Sethi says that he is glad Mishra will be opening the fashion gala."The Fashion Design Council of India's endeavour is to highlight the great work of our designers to the global community. We are delighted that this season's FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week will have a truly international appeal through our partnership with the Italian Embassy and designer Rahul Mishra who continues to make strides globally," he said. 

Aston Martin launches 'swan song' V12 Vantage before going electric

Aston Martin on Wednesday launched the final fossil-fuel version of its limited-run powerful V12 Vantage sports car, with every vehicle already snapped up before the British luxury carmaker starts its gradual shift to an electric line-up, reported Reuters. The wire service also set the context, pointing out that premium and luxury car sales soared in 2021, especially in critical global markets like China and the United States, as pandemic travel restrictions left wealthy consumers with more disposable income.

This latest and last version offers an intoxicating combination of magnificent low and mid-range muscularity with searing top-end power" and a top speed of 200 miles (323 km) per hour, stated Reuters. "This V12 Vantage is really a swan song," Aston Martin executive chairman and investor Lawrence Stroll told Reuters. "There is a history of V12 Vantages at this company that goes back several decades, and it will be the last one we make... before we move onto hybridisation and electrification."

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Reuters said that fictional secret agent James Bond's car brand of choice had a tough time after going public in 2018, failing to meet expectations and burning through cash. So in 2020, it brought in new investment from billionaire Stroll." The V12 Vantage and the DBX707, a luxury SUV, are the carmaker's first two new vehicles produced under Stroll," stated Reuters, adding that Aston Martin has been incorporating technology into its cars from shareholder Mercedes-Benz, which increased its stake in the struggling carmaker in 2020. The petrol-powered V12 Vantage is currently limited to 333 units globally with a starting price of around $300,000, stated Reuters. "Aston Martin now plans to launch its first fully-electric vehicle in 2025--as of 2026, all the new car lines will have an electric option."



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