FT Business of Luxury Summit | Debating the Future of the Industry

MONTE CARLO, Monaco — The global luxury industry has descended on the luxurious and beautiful principality of Monaco to discuss the future of luxury at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit at a time when there seem to be far more questions than answers. I am delighted to be representing Luxury Society, which is an official media partner of the conference. To start off the conference, we heard from Bernard Arnault, Chairman

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Luxury Briefing Conference | Exploiting the potential of new markets

LONDON, United Kingdom - By now, it is well known that Japan, Western Europe and North America are already well into recessionary mode, but emerging markets have not been spared either. In India, so the wisdom goes, people spend for occasions but during this year's Diwali Festival, usually brisk sales of diamonds have stalled, as consumers tighten their belts. In China, at a major luxury goods fair in Shanghai, accessibly-priced merchandise moved, but the most pricey items sat on the shelf. Perhaps more than ever before, luxury businesses need to seize new business opportunities in emerging markets, but the market context there is changing so fast, it is hard to keep up with it all. James Ogilvy has convened a…

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Everybody’s talking about | Fashion phones

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Nokia 7900 Crystal Prism Phone"][/caption] LONDON, United Kingdom - Something is in the air. Earlier this week, we received a mysterious package in the post from Nokia. Inside, we found a 7900 Crystal Prism phone, complete with a Sapphire crystal and engraved design by French graphic designer Frederique Daubal, who has previously collaborated with Paul Smith and Colette, the iconic Paris fashion concept boutique. Not only this, the fashion and technology blogosphere has been abuzz about Tag Heuer's branded mobile phone, priced to compete with the Vertu phones, at 3900 euros (or about $6000). Previously, other fashion brands including Prada, Armani, and Levis have launched mobile phones with much hype and fanfare. To top it all…

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Luxury Interactive reveals online luxe race

Just digest these figures for a moment: Coach's online business now has revenues of over $100m per year -- the same as what Gucci's new flagship on 5th Avenue is expected to sell.  Neiman Marcus has broken the $500m in sales barrier online. In the last year alone, wealthy consumers' use of social networks such as Facebook and MySpace has rocketed from 27% to 60%, a growth rate of more than 120%. And, people are snapping up uber-luxe products online -- DeBeers regularly sells single diamonds worth more than $25,000 on its ecommerce site and 20ltd.com has sold items worth twice this much.These were amongst the most interesting tidbits revealed at this week's Luxury Interactive conference held in London. The…

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World Luxury Congress: Looking eastwards

The World Luxury Congress, an annual gathering of luxury and fashion executives from around the world, was held in London earlier this week and I was able to attend due to a kind invitation from Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, who moderated a panel I participated in earlier this year. A formidable roster of speakers and panelists implored participants to take heed of three themes that came up time and time again during the conference: the need engage with customers as human beings, the lightening speed of luxury development in emerging markets, and the missed opportunity for luxury on Internet. The conference had its ups and downs, but one of my personal highlights was the inspiring presentation given…

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Web 2.0: The industry takes notice

Cathy Horyn recently asserted that that London's fashion renaissance might be linked to the fact that the city is awash with cash. From Russian oligarchs to Arab princes to Indian billionaires, it's true that that London has become a playground for the world's rich and famous. Perhaps this is also why there are no less than three luxury conferences taking place in London over the next few months, each with some focus on the opportunity that web 2.0 technologies presents for the industry. Next week, The Walpole Group hosts Tech Luxe: Web 2.0 and Beyond, a half day seminar to help companies learn how they can "reharness the creative power of technology." Speakers will include Nick Robertson of the innovative…

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Fashion 2.0 | What the Future Holds

About a month ago, I attended the Harvard Business School’s annual Retail and Luxury Goods Conference in Boston. It was an interesting day of speeches and panel discussions, bringing together industry veterans and experts from leading luxury goods and retail companies including Neiman Marcus, Loro Piana, and Holt Renfrew. You can read more about the conference in this news article from HBS’s Harbus Newspaper. I was honoured to

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Fashion Business Club, London

For those of you in London and interested in the business of fashion, you might want to check out the Fashion Business Club which was co-founded by two friends, Alison Whelan and Courtney Blackman, in late 2005. The club meets every 2 months to discuss business issues and invites guest speakers from various spheres of the industry to promote debate, shared learning and networking. Courtney and Alison used the online social networking site asmallworld to build the initial membership base and have now expanded it to anyone involved in the fashion industry. They have really taken this club to the next level with interesting speakers and even a bi-monthly newsletter. The next meeting is on Thursday 25 January at 43…

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