It is stunning. I think it might be my favorite shot from the campaign.
The composition is fantastic, the pose, the clothes, the accessories, the colors. From shades, newspaper, watch -- down to the polka dots in the tie which are tasteful and small and nicely match the handkerchief for a little flair combined with the pinstripes. The suit actually isn't that expensive compared to anything Crown or Bond might wear but it looks top of the line in this photo.
Of course the wearer helps considerably.
The presentation really is impeccable. My hat's off to them. As you noted, so many integral and graceful touches with the accessories. Just the right degree of flair, contrast, and individuality so that it doesn't look either too trendy or banker stodgy. Classic.
Kim Winser is the fashion industry's own miracle worker after she turned around old-fashioned sweater manufacturer Pringle and made it a catwalk and commercial success. Now she's trying to do the same for fusty trenchcoat kings Aquascutum. The Money Programme has had exclusive access to follow her for the past six months as she remodels their famous Regent Street Store, radically changes the designs for next season and hires former 007 Pierce Brosnan to be the new face of Aquascutum. Reporter Max Flint asks: can the Comeback Queen succeed again?
BBC: Transforming Aquascutum By Elliot Choueka BBC Money Programme
Can fashion industry comeback queen Kim Winser turn around the fortunes of one of Britain's oldest clothing brands, Aquascutum?
The brand, famous for its trench coats, has been losing money; £10m in the last year alone.
But now it is hoping that a dynamic new chief executive, appointed in April, will transform its prospects.
Kim Winser's previous post was as chief executive of knitwear manufacturer Pringle. She was credited with giving it a fresh and fashionable image.
Before Pringle she spent more than two decades at Marks & Spencer where she was the company's first female board director.
Her assessment when she joined Aquascutum was blunt.
"Aquascutum's become sleepy, it's got no energy," she said.
The clothes needed an overhaul.
"There's an awful lot of product that also needs to be eliminated. There's really no marketing, there is no excitement about the brand".
She has set herself a target of doubling turnover to almost half a billion pounds within three years.
The only way she's going to be able to do that is by hanging onto existing customers while attracting new customers as well.
In the early months there were three things she had to get right.
First was to redesign the company's flagship store in London.
Secondly, to create a brand new advertising campaign and find a face to front it.
And thirdly, to make sure an entirely new range was ready for London Fashion Week.
Work on the adverts started almost immediately with Ms Winser employing brand guru Valerie Wickes.
The first task was to decide on a clear message. They decided to go for a campaign which evoked the heritage of the brand: its English-ness.
They cast their net wide looking for the ideal face to front the campaign - considering Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Daniel Day Lewis and Pierce Brosnan.
She wasn't happy with the way the flagship Regent Street store looked - she thought it felt cold and uninviting.
And then there were the clothes.
Aquascutum has two distinct lines of clothes - the catwalk collection and the mainline.
The catwalk collection, which has received critical acclaim from the fashion press, is expensive and exclusive.
The mainline is cheaper and unsuccessful.
Her plan was to increase the influence of the successful catwalk on the mainline collection. She started by dumping some mainline clothes from the August launch and picking some catwalk outfits to be adapted for the mainline.
The company's head designers, Graham Fiddler and Michael Hertz, were given a new brief for London Fashion Week - the spring '07 collection.
Two months into the job, and Pierce Brosnan became the new face of Aquascutum.
"He's perfect for us in terms of his elegance, individual style," Mr Winser said.
"I deliberately didn't want the current James Bond. I think that that's too topical. It's bigger than James Bond. This is the brand, this is the global brand". The new advertising campaign was well received.
Dylan Jones, editor of GQ magazine, saw the advert for the first time in July.
"It totally stopped me," he said.
"It is incredibly impressive. To do something that quickly".
By August work on the London flagship store was complete.
But there was still more that needed to be done.
"The men's floor, which before the rework was actually a very successful floor, so we didn't do so much with it.
"Now as you walk between the two floors, the men's floor lacks a little bit of energy. And I really want to come back and see if there's something a little bit more we can do on men's," explained Ms Winser.
On September 20th, 600 of the fashion world's most important critics watched a ten minute catwalk show.
Aquascutum under Kim Winser's control had arrived. What was the view of the critics?
Dylan Jones said:
. "I think the pieces there will not scare the core base customer but it will also bring in potential new customers too". So after five months hard work Kim's created an entirely new advertising campaign, re-launched the flagship store and produced a new look range of clothes.
But the big question¿is it enough to turn around the company and put it back in profit?
Kim knows she has a lot of work ahead.
"To have a room full of the people we had today - in previous years they wouldn't be looking at Aquascutum, so the doors are open. Now what we've got to do is deliver it and sell it".
The Money Programme can be seen at BBC2 at 10pm on Friday, 20 October.
Aquascutum's first - and current - global marketing campaign is the focal point of the design house's rebranding. Winser's brainchild, it features former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan, and was shot by fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti. Winser went on the shoot herself and found Brosnan to be 'a true gentleman. He was charming, and I thought: gosh you are so perfect for Aquascutum! All that charm and style and Britishness.' Easy to forget Brosnan is Irish.
This sense of Britishness is key to the com-pany's revival. But it has to be modern British, not stuffy British. Aquascutum's traditional customer is old. Winser wants to attract a younger set with edgy, stylish advertising and a more directional collection that draws on the heritage.
FROM her offices above Aquascutum's grand flagship store on London's Regent Street, retail tycoon Kim Winser keeps a close eye on who is hot, and who is not. Jaeger, Hugo Boss, Burberry and Austin Reed are among the retailers lining the famous street, and the chief executive of Aquascutum can see for herself which is attracting most customers and which is selling off stock at a discount.
Winser, the former boss of Scottish knitwear group Pringle, saw Austin Reed's problems contribute to it being bought this month by Darius Capital for £49m and now she looks forward to seeing changes there.
Chatting in her office on a cold midweek morning, she says: "At one end you have got M&S doing a very good job. Then there are brands that are hanging in there and perhaps not doing a particularly good job.
"Austin Reed has just been bought. They are sat over the road from us and I think it would be nice to see windows without red tickets there.
"Of course Austin Reed and M&S aren't competitors [to Aquascutum]. This is a global business with more business offshore than onshore."
Conscious of Aquascutum's reputation as a luxury brand, Winser quickly adds that Hugo Boss, Burberry, Paul Smith and Gieves and Hawkes are her company's "real" competition.
Winser, a former M&S director, has a reputation for turning around ailing retailers and made her name transforming Pringle, where she grew sales from £10m to £100m and was awarded the OBE for her services to textiles.
She quit Pringle in November 2005 and said at the time she was taking some time to consider her options.
In April this year she resurfaced at Aquascutum, a venerable British brand with a reputation for making quality but rather fusty and old-fashioned clothes.
The company was founded in 1851, has earned five Royal Warrants, and was favoured by 'A list' Hollywood stars such as Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren, and more recently Warren Beatty and Mia Farrow.
But despite making revenues of £220m last year, the company is loss-making. Rival brands such as Burberry, Mulberry and Pringle have reinvented themselves and grown while it has stagnated.
Winser has spent the last six months looking at the way the group operates and describes the period as "challenging".
Staff and directors have been hired and fired, a major advertising campaign launched, new goods have appeared on the shelves and stores given a much-needed makeover.
And that is just for starters. Winser says the task she faces in turning around Aquascutum is very different to that at Pringle.
She says: "Aquascutum has strong infrastructure - it has a strong retail positioning with nearly 300 stores. The weakness is that we haven't been focused on brand, product and marketing.
"It's completely different [to Pringle]. Both are old British brands but at Pringle it was about building, starting from nothing. It had no shops, no accessory business and no overseas business.
"One of the exciting things [at Aquascutum] is that we have got a business to develop."
One of Winser's first moves was to sack three directors and replace them with four new ones.
"They weren't the right people to market the business or the luxury brand," she says succinctly.
The sheer size of Aquascutum poses problems as well as opportunities for Winser and her team. The group has branded stores and concessions in other shops in Europe and Asia, and introducing one way of operating in all 300 or so outlets is a major challenge.
She says: "Previously the business was sleepy and traditional and the marketing and branding was similar. The goods needed a lot of work and you had to do up the stores.
"The collection that was in Japan, Hong Kong and China had nothing to do with what we have in a collection here. That's changed - we will have a global collection."
The most high-profile part of Winser's turnaround plan to date has been an advertising campaign fronted by former James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan and model Julia Stegner.
She says: "I brought in Pierce and Julia. We have now just shot the second campaign for spring 2007. We have done up the stores in London and Tokyo and I plan to do all the stores by next year. It's not huge capital expenditure. It's promoting what we have and better product."
She says the work in London and Tokyo is already paying off, with a 47% year-on-year increase in footfall and 32% uplift in sales in these two stores in the last nine weeks.
"It's not bad and it's only got some good products," she says. "It's starting to come together quite nicely."
Winser was born the second of four children in Helensburgh. She travelled a lot as a child as her father was in the Royal Navy, and ended up at school in Hampshire. Despite being bright she was not academic and chose to join M&S as a management trainee in 1977. The move paid off, and she rose through the ranks to become head of womenswear with a place on the board of directors.
Her big break came when she was appointed at Pringle in 2000 and managed to turn it around. Winser has been listed number three in the Wall Street Journal's list of Europe's most successful businesswomen and Management Today named her as one of Europe's most powerful women.
But is turning around Aquascutum a bridge too far, even for Winser?
Aquascutum has been owned by a Japanese publicly listed group, Renown, since 1990. In November 2005, Japanese private equity group Kaleido Holdings bought 22% of Renown and brought in Winser to run Aquascutum.
She says: "Sales are £220m and I want to double that by the end of 2010. The money allocated to invest is around £40m. This year and next year will be expensive - we won't get that much in sales and have to invest in shop-fitting. I see 2007 as year one, 2008 may be break-even."
Growing sales is one thing, but making a profit is another, and critics of Winser point out that she failed to make a profit at Pringle, despite reviving the brand's tattered reputation.
Winser defends herself saying: "But you have to remember what it was. It was nothing. You can't make a fashionable brand overnight. I have just come back from New York... and you see [Pringle goods] there. That's brilliant and I'm very proud."
Winser says the main drivers for doubling Aquascutum's sales will be launching the accessory business and expanding in America. A store will open in New York in 2008 and concessions will open elsewhere in the country in 2007.
Marketing will be integral to her plans and Winser, who lives in Berkshire, is returning to Scotland next month to speak at the Marketing Society Conference in Edinburgh.
Winser will discuss the tangible benefits that proper marketing can give to business. "I'm quite passionate about the results that marketing gives you. Marketing has got to deliver, and for us, it's about: when you do this, this is what happens to the business."
If Winser's plans succeed, she says that in five years' time, the group will be a serious player in luxury tailoring.
"We will have a serious accessory business. We will develop more in Europe - it has real potential. We are opening our showroom in Italy in January. We will be in Moscow and Paris.
"The wholesale side of the business will see dramatic growth. In Asia we are quite well spread, some of the smaller stores will become bigger we are talking to franchisees in the Middle East."
If she is successful, Winser is unlikely to be short of job offers from one of the other retailers on Regent Street.
Why in the world don't they print *large* versions of the photos from this ad campaign?! Since we don't get them in our US magazines, the least they could do is make it easy for us to print them on our US PictureMaker machines!!
Well the name Aquacutum does sound rather kinky -- maybe they've decided to finally exploit that -- especially since they already hired walking sex to help promote them.
LOL! I actually still have a turntable (would only buy a CD stereo system that had one) and a couple of hundred albums which I never play. I once had some dream I'd convert them to tapes -- then to cds and now it would probaly be mp3s but that's ain't going to happen. But I can't bare to get rid of them.
I sure do!! Still play old LPs on it too on occasion!
FABULOUS video treat, Ace! Yum Yum!!! Love the music ... love it all ... noticed the people looking on. Why can't I ever be where he is just once? Think I was in Kauai once at the same time he was but didn't know it till after! errrrrrrr!! I was so upset ... not that I could have found him, but you never know.
Anyway ...thanks! Donna
Look for the good, the Divine in people and things ...
Yes, looks like he even had time to sign some autographs. There were photos posted last summer by a passerby of this photo shoot at Somerset House -- the only thing missing in them though was Pierce. So even when you're there you might not see him.