CEW Series Talks the Luxury Landscape

Consistency, engagement and dialogue were three main points during the Cosmetic Executive Women panel discussion "LVMH: Defining the Luxury Landscape."

Jean-Marc Plisson, Terry Darland, and Nicholas Munafo

Luxury means something different to everyone, but at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, it’s defined by experience.

And with that experience comes consistency, engagement and dialogue, which were three main points during the Cosmetic Executive Women panel discussion “LVMH: Defining the Luxury Landscape” on Nov. 18 at The Harmonie Club.

Panelists Terry Darland, president of LVMH Beauty; Nicholas Munafo, president of LVMH Fragrance Brands and Acqua Di Parma, and Jean-Marc Plisson, chief executive officer of Fresh, shared some insights on the ever-changing luxury business during the conversation moderated by WWD Beauty Inc editor Jenny B. Fine.

“Luxury is defined by the experience you have no matter where you shop,” said Darland. “You have online, but really the in-store experience really defines luxury.”

For Munafo, luxury is something consumers covet and desire versus products customers simply need. “It is about the in-store experience,” he said. “But it’s also about the quality.”

A common theme for each executive was reinvention and their strategies for distribution.

Dior went back into specialty stores, renamed the beauty advisers as beauty stylists and gave them more in-depth training. The company also scheduled more in-store events.

“We’re very happy with the existing distribution,” said Darland. “Basically, with every retailer, we look at segmenting the marketing and focusing on what we do for each and every one of our customers. But what it comes down to is our partnerships.”

For Fresh, Plisson took advantage of the recession to redefine and regroup the company from a U.S. regional brand into a global entity.

“We redid the whole strategy, the brand, the packaging and the messages,” said Plisson. “We still have the founders so we keep that important history.”

Munafo, who is in the process of reinventing Givenchy, is focusing on the product it’s bringing to the market, the distribution and the level of promotion.

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“With [Givenchy] beauty, because our distribution is very tight we decided to launch Le Rouge in a gorilla way in Manhattan,” said Munafo. “But also to use our celebrities in fun and different ways.”

Turning the focus to retail, Fine asked the panelists about Sephora being a sister brand and what advantage it gives them.

“We are on equal basis as any other brand,” said Plisson. “It’s all about partnership.”

Darland noted that Dior has learned a lot about the younger consumer and how to market certain stockkeeping units from Sephora.

Munafo added, “[Sephora] is amazing at picking out hero items and galvanizing on that.”

Moving on to the holidays, Fine acknowledged how tough the season will be and asked if it is really going to be that grim.

“When you have less shopping days it makes for a challenging holiday,” said Darland. “Speaking from my brands I think we’re in a good position with fragrance, but it all comes down to those last few days.”