Luxury, Fragrance and the Retail Outlook

CEW Welcomes Maureen Chiquet

Maureen Chiquet, president and COO, Chanel, Inc., addressed a packed house at New York City’s Harmonie Club in January to inaugurate the second year of CEW’s Beauty Series presentations. Chiquet, who cited her love affair with France as the original impetus for her career, told of her journey from an internship at L’Oréal in France to positions of increasing responsibility at Gap in San Francisco, Old Navy, Banana Republic and now Chanel.


“Chanel has a commitment to creative,” said Chiquet, noting that the company truly combines traditional artisanry and modernity. “We grow our own roses, and there’s an incredible attention to detail.”

Chiquet spoke of the unique heritage of Chanel and its position as “the ultimate house of luxury.” Since the creation of Chanel No. 5 in 1921, Chanel has “articulated luxury in all its products as well as relevance and modernity.” She noted that all of the Chanel products are held together as an iconic brand, and the company has retained its identity as a house with exclusivity and top quality. “For customers of Chanel, it’s more about an attitude than a consumer’s age,” she said, adding that creating “killer pillars” (i.e., amazing products in the Chanel portfolio) requires a balance “showing people how relevant your history is today,” in the context of luxury, individuality and shared values.

Incanto Charms

According to Dana Kline, vice president of sales, Gary Farn Ltd., the new fragrance from Ferragamo, Incanto Charms, is scheduled for its worldwide launch in this month. In New York, the fragrance will be in Bloomingdale’s and Sephora, with a special in-store launch at Bloomingdale’s in New York. The fragrance was inspired by Ferragamo’s original Incanto, which launched two years ago.

Following the successful launch of Incanto Dream, its second incarnation, Ferragamo Parfums will further develop this segment by targeting younger consumers with its Incanto Charms, inspired by Ferragamo’s spring/summer fashion collection. The fragrance, which seeks to capture the allure of the East and European chic, is packaged in a kaleidoscope-decorated motif bottle, and is a floral fruit blend, created by Beatrice Piquet of IFF. The eau de toilette will be available in three sizes, and a body lotion and bath and shower gel will accompany the line.

Peclers Color Seminar

On January 18, 2006, Peclers held a seminar on the major color and fabric trends for Spring/Summer 2007 at New York City’s Direction Show in Penn Plaza Pavilion. Peclers, which has worked closely with color cosmetics and design trends in finished products and the supply side, gave insights into the trends that will be visible in the upcoming season. Nina Stotler, Peclers’ trend consultant, recalled the journey from last year’s earth tones and comfort zones to a new balance and global exchange, evident in trends in colors and fabrics now. Appealing functionality plus color and whimsy reflect a growing nostalgia and interest in handcrafted goods, creative recycling, sustainable development, eco-aware materials and a rejection of mass market among consumers.

Bold chromatic color combinations, graphics and luxuriously comfortable shapes are making an impact, and consumers shift from passive action to active co-producers of looks and styles. Materials such as bamboo, hemp, sea salt and Asian sasa fiber are impacting color and textures. There is also a move to fundamental colors that emphasize ground, mixed or washed pigments for a personalized look. Bleached opalescents, variations of gray and mauve, and tarnished gold with an aged patina are impacting the new color palette.

Retail Marketing Society

In January, the Retail Marketing Society held a panel discussion on the Outlook for the Year and for the Consumer at New York City’s Williams Club. Experts from JP Morgan shared their perspectives and predictions for the year—based on such circumstances as oil and heating prices, employment statistics and the past holiday season’s approach to promotional marketing as factors impacting consumer spending.

Retail Marketing Society President, Lloyd Lippman, introduced the distinguished panel. Nancy Hoch, equity analyst; Marc Levinson, economist; and Carla Casella, fixed-income analyst, all weighed in on the state of the economy and its affects on the retail environment. Hoch maintained that while the past holiday season was not exceptional, “High end continued to outperform low end, and the high-end consumer continued to carry this momentum.” There was aggressive promotional cadence around the holidays in regards to pricing, with consumer traffic particularly strong on Black Friday. Post-season selling was robust in light of gift card purchases. Casella noted that, “Winners in retail will be distinguished by their strategies,” including operating efficiency and inventory management.

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