Here are the top five hottest news stories in luxury within the past days. Pursuitist chose these as they have the greatest depth and breadth, those that combine wide popularity and with trend possibility. Read on!

Psychedlic! Laurence Gartel’s Newest Art Car Debuts at Art Basel Miami Beach.

Laurence Gartel, has been called the Father Of Digital Art, and will unveil his latest “Art Car” in the form of a $200,000 RENNtech Mercedes-Benz Super Car during Art Basel Miami Beach 2014. The car will be wrapped in an abstract digital collage of wildly colored images. He originally taught Andy Warhol how to use the Amiga Computer in the 1980s and his work has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art, Joan Whitney Payson Museum, and the Smithsonian.

Gartel has spent the last four years producing Art Cars. His first commission was with Tesla Motors to transform an electric Tesla Roadster into a work of art by wrapping the car’s body in bold, colorful vinyl designed by the artist. The Roadster, which was unveiled in 2010 during Art Basel Miami Beach, quickly went viral to over 25,000 websites and is still making waves today.

Gartel, who was featured with his own pavilion at the 113th New York International Auto Show, has also done Art Cars with Rolls Royce, Ferrari and Cadillac.

“It is an outrageous design,” Gartel said, “that strikes a balance between realism and digital fantasy, all displayed on the sleek steel and carbon fiber canvas of a Mercedes-Benz Super Car.”

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New Hermès Home Scents : Little Dreams Of Wet Weather, Open Windows, and Footprints In The Snow…

Hermès introduced a new line of home scents this week. And the names have such poetic ambiguity.

It has been said that poetry is what gets lost in the translation, so it will be up to our sensorial, sartorial Pursuitist readers to discover what these fragrances actually smell like. The names are imaginative, seductive, full of nuance and sensory difference.

Here are the names of the fragrances, inspired, says Hermes, by distinct moments and experiences:

Des Pas (Footprints in the Snow)

Temps de Pluie (Wet Weather),

Fenetre Ouverte (Open Window)

Champ Libre (Open Field), and

A Cheval! (On Horseback!)

The Hermès Le Parfum de la Maison collection was developed by Cèline Ellena, daughter of the label’s in-house perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. Her goal was to evoke a specific feeling or situation within the home. “The home fragrances are the little dreams,” she said recently.  “It’s a whisper—but olfactive.”

And expensive! Priced between $106 for a pack of four scented paper horses and $436 for the largest candle.

imagesA Good Black Day

Here are some Black Friday stats released this week , from various sources. On the whole it was a good day, as the stats below indicate:

  •  $12.3 billion was the overall brick-and-mortar store sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday 2013 – up 2.3% from 2012 (source: CNN Money)
  • $1.964 billion was the overall online sales for Thanksgiving and Black Friday – up over 18.5% from 2012 (source: TechCrunch)
  • Mobile traffic: Grew to 39.7% of all online traffic – that’s an increase of 34% over Black Friday 2012 (source: TechCrunch)
  • Mobile sales: reached 21.8% of total online sales – that’s an increase of nearly 43% from last year (source: TechCrunch)
  • 9% of all online traffic on Black Friday came from smartphones – that compares to tablets at 14.2% (source: TechCrunch)

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Two And A Half Hours From New York To LA: It Could Happen!

It is hard to believe, but it was announced this week that Lockheed Martin is now working on an aircraft for commercial airlines that cut travel time from five to 2/1/2 hours. The jet would seat 80 passengers.

 It’s called the N+2, and the challenge is to create the plane that would not make sonic booms, created by objects traveling at more than 760MPH. The N+2 has one engine on the topside of the craft, and two under the wings, in a configuration designed to reduce noise.

Lockheed isn’t the only company developing supersonic aviation. Airbus is working with aerospace firm Aerion to create a jet that would make the trip from London to New York in three hours; a trip from Los Angeles to Tokyo could potentially take only six hours.

Earlier this year, Aerion also revealed plans for its first supersonic business jet. The race is on.

imagesThe 14th Annual International New York Times Luxury Conference: Highlights of The Keynote Speech

The 14th annual International New York Times Luxury Conference—a two-day marathon of speakers and panel talks in the fields of art, fashion, and technology— just finished, in Miami.

The opening keynote was given by  François-Henri Pinault, CEO of the retail company Kering (founded by his father François Pinault), which owns Gucci, Balenciaga, and Alexander McQueen, among many other high-end luxury brands.

Here are the highlights of what he said:

We should embrace innovation [in fashion] any time it meets one of these four criteria:

  •  It must strengthen the quality of the sustainability of the material.
  •  It must offer a new area of expression in design.
  • It must improve the quality of the production process; and
  •  It must create new functionality.

We need to view technology with a critical eye…. In luxury we cannot jump on any bus for a concept for the sake of looking modern.”

The creations of the best fashion designers speak to their time, in the same way that creation by painters and novelists do

The conversation between fine art and luxury is not new, but there is one thing that is blurring the lines more: it is the fact that art and fashion now occupy the same physical space in society. Both art and fashion are now in the streets, drawing influence from and influencing contemporary lifestyles. But today, art has moved out of museums, where it used to be confined, and fashion has moved in.

We should not be fooled by modern strategies that sublimate luxury with fine art. The dialogue between art and luxury is natural and fertile as long as fashion does not exploit art to gain so-called respectability.

Luxury cannot be an industry driven by volume.

Clearly there is a bond between luxury and art, but they are very different disciplines.

This Just In:

Virgin Group is launching a cruise line business.

“We plan to shake up the cruise industry and deliver a holiday that customers will absolutely love,” said Richard Branson, Founder and CEO of the Virgin Group..

Virgin would not say when it would set sail for the first time, but it typically takes at least two years to build a ship.

But when Branson’s cruise line does launch, he’ll be taking on a few formidable, well-established competitors—Carnival Corp. operates 101 cruise ships across its brands, while Royal Caribbean has 41, with another eight in the pipeline.

Both companies have been trying to update the cruising experience for modern tastes. For example, Royal Caribbean just launched its Quantum of the Seas, an ultra-modern ship that offers simulated sky-diving and has an onboard amusement park, among other features.

Virgin Cruises will be led by Tom McAlpin, a former president of the Disney cruise business and most recently the president and CEO The World, Residences at Sea.