LVMH Acquires Luxury Travel's Belmond Hotels | Will Bernard Arnault Help Save The Elephants

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AOC awoke Saturday morning to news that LVMH has set in motion the acquisition of Belmond Hotels. “Belmond, a fast-growing company based in London, offers its wealthy customers some of the most opulent travel experiences money can buy in settings like the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro and Orient Express trains connecting major European cities,” wrote The New York Times.

LVMH, the world’s largest luxury company based on revenues from brands like Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Fendi, offered to pay $25 a share for Belmond, a premium of more than 40 percent on the company’s closing price, in a deal valued at $2.6 billion.

The deal emphasized the limitless financial resources available to the world’s very rich customers. as well as the ongoing move away from buying ‘things’ and the growing appetite for ‘experiences’. This transition to the value of ‘experiences’ is pronounced among the entire younger generation, regardless of income, and dovetails well with their environmental concerns over accumulating more stuff.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that Friday’s Porter Edit had a sponsored post from Belmond Africa, based in South Africa and Botswana. The luxury hotel jumping off point gave us an opportunity to update the hot topic of the well-being of Botswana’s elephants, the largest elephant population in Africa and one that has been relatively stable until disputed reports of almost 90 dead elephants hit headlines in September.

One of the greatest conservation challenges in Africa is the cost of upgrading the continent’s parks and employing the resources to fight animal poaching. As many African leaders are quick to note, Europeans, Americans and other armchair conservationists are are more concerned about elephants and lions than African babies. AOC finds it difficult to dispute the assertion.

In October 2018, researchers put a price on protecting Africa’s wildlife at a minimum of $1.2 billion each year.

Our mind is always big picture at AOC — along with connecting dots — so of course the first question that came to mind after reading about the LVMH acquisition of Belmond Hotels was wondering how Bernard Arnault help help save the world’s elephants and other big game.

Conservationists argue that luxury hotels, capitalizing on the beauty and majesty of Africa’s wildlife, simply must become a source of revenue and creative policy making in keeping wildlife alive. LVMH may not have the in-house skill set to sponsor such an initiative, but Arnault’s teams certainly have the financial budget to acquire it.

Chanel Ends Use Of Exotic Animal Skins Including Crocodile, Lizard, Snake + Stingray Skins

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On Monday, in advance of Chanel’s pre-fall Metiers d'Art show at New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, the luxury house announced that it has initiated a ban on exotic animal skins in its designs and products. Chanel will "no longer use exotic skins in our future creations," Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel's president of fashion, told WWD.

The ban extends to crocodile, lizard, snake, and stingray skins, and also includes fur, the use of which Chanel has already wound down in recent years in recent years. "It is our experience that it is becoming increasingly difficult to source exotic skins," the brand said in a statement, per WWD, noting its intention to begin innovating "a new generation of high-end products" sans skins and furs. In place of these animal products, Chanel will reportedly turn to fabric and leathers generated by the "agri-food" industry.

Halima Aden's TEDx Talk From Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya

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EYE: Halima Aden By An Le For Vogue Arabia November 2018 + Halima's TEDX Talk From Kakuma Refugee Camp

Rising fashion star Halima Aden made another appearance in the pages of Vogue Arabia, posing in the November 2018 for images by An Le. The AOC post prompted me to circle back to watch Halima Aden’s TEDx Talk in Kenya’s Kakuma Refugee Camp, now that it’s available online.

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“The aim is to steer away from the one-sided narrative of suffering and dejection,” the event page stated. “[It is] also about showcasing how refugees can help change not only their lives but the communities and countries in which they live.” The gathering marked the first time a TED event has been held in a refugee camp.

Aden expressed profound thanks for getting the opportunity to revisit the Kakuma, which was founded in 1992 and is currently home to more than 185,000 inhabitants. “This camp taught me so many lessons and I’m so grateful I had the chance to return,” the model told her 620,000 Instagram followers. “A lot has changed since I’ve left but we still have along way to go.” 

At this moment when refugees are under assault globally, including in America, Halima’s words are deeply felt here at AOC. I also found this essay expressing in words by Halima many of the concepts expressed in her TEDX talk, posted on Dream Refugee.org.

Immersed in trying to piece together all of the refugee models and their intersections with each other, I momentarily forgot my own words from April 1, in which I already wrote that Halima Aden and Adut Akech were both born in the same refugee camp: Kakuma.

These previous EYE article on Halima Aden touch on these topics. Her AOC Model Archives link includes Halima’s fashion shoots as well.

Halima Aden Model Archives @ AOC