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CEW Looks at the Luxury Landscape

By: Nancy Jefferies
Posted: November 22, 2013
Panelists for CEW's "LVMH: Defining the Luxury Landscape:" Jean-Marc Plisson, Fresh; Terry Darland, LVMH Beauty; and Nicholas Munafo, LVMH Fragrance Brands and Acqua Di Parma

Panelists for CEW's Women & Men In Beauty Series event "LVMH: Defining the Luxury Landscape:" (from left) Jean-Marc Plisson, CEO, Fresh; Terry Darland, president, LVMH Beauty; and Nicholas Munafo, president, LVMH Fragrance Brands and Acqua Di Parma. (Photo by: Patricia Willis Photography)

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Plisson agreed that Sephora’s perspective is always consumer-driven, noting that, “We listen a lot, and we look through the consumers’ eyes." Munafo said that Sephora is “amazing at picking out hero items.”

Holiday and the Digital Presence

While everyone anticipates the holiday story with both excitement and trepidation, the luxury panel was cautiously optimistic. “I think it’s going to be a challenging holiday,” said Darland. “Speaking for my brands, we’re in a good position with fragrance, but it all comes down to those last few days. It will be a nail biter until the last minute."

Munafo commented, “We’re cautiously optimistic. At LVMH, creative passion is the LVMH philosophy, and we maintain that with the interaction and energy that comes from people. I say it’s people and product that contribute to our passion, and we have an amazing portfolio.” And Plisson noted that the DNA in the organization is fundamental to its success.

In responding to a question about what the luxury sector can learn from mass, as well as the digital environment, Munafo noted that it is important for the luxury category to listen to the young consumer as well, to reach a happy medium. Plisson noted that the digital world has had and continues to have a great impact. “It is a very important piece, and I think the power is on the consumers’ side. It’s up to us to provide consistency and quality in the luxury sector.”

Munafo also noted that, with up to 300 new fragrance launches per year, “It’s really key to have the most rewarding product. Social media is a moving target, and for Givenchy, we’ve done some collaborations to get the word out, but in general, you either have to play big or go home and be happy with a selective jewel.” When all is said and done, and despite mixed messages from the media, Munafo said, “For the true luxury customer, luxury is alive and well.”

The evening’s sponsors were Shape, Givaudan, 24 Seven Inc., HauteLook, eXperticity, Grace Beauty LLC, Lord & Taylor, Beauty Inc, WWD, Kaplow Communications, and Digital Therapy.