MILAN — From March 9 to 12, the Cosmoprof beauty and trade fair in Bologna, Italy, is attempting to lure more foreign exhibitors with the promise of beefed up presentations, sustainable initiatives and a renewed emphasis on how cosmetics improve quality of life.
“Our mission is to support Italy’s extraordinary industry,” said Duccio Campagnoli, president of BolognaFiere and SoGeCos, at a press presentation on March 2. Despite Europe’s economic woes, Campagnoli said, the Italian cosmetics sector is doing better than many had feared: In 2011, the industry grew by a percentage point. Rising exports to Germany, France, the U.S., Spain, Russia, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and Poland kept the sector in good shape, with an overall 14 percent increase in Italian cosmetic exports over 2010.
At this year’s fair, foreigners are expected to again make a strong showing, with new stands from Mexico, California and Brazil, which Campagnoli highlighted as a significant emerging market.
“We have a responsibility that I would summarize as ‘even more.’ We think we need to be even more of a fair, even more of an international platform and even more of a support to our incredible Made in Italy,” he said.
Fabio Rossello, president of Unipro, the Italian association of cosmetics companies, emphasized the social role of cosmetics: “We would all live less well without cosmetics,” he said, noting that even in a tough economy, people continue to purchase beauty products to feel good about themselves.
Rossello also said Italy’s increase in cosmetic exports was indicative of the sector’s positioning alongside fashion, design and wine in the minds of foreign consumers. Two of the fastest-growing export markets for Italian cosmetics are Hong Kong — the “lion’s share,” up by 29.3 percent in the past year — and the United Arab Emirates, up by 28.6 percent.
In Italy, where cosmetic consumption is above the European average, consumers continue to gravitate toward pharmacies, perfumeries and small businesses to buy cosmetics, because they like one-on-one consultations and trust the expertise of pharmacists, according to Rossello. “Italy’s small- and medium-size businesses are still at the base of our capitalism, of the wealth of our country,” he said.
“Men are also increasingly using cosmetics,” he added, observing that young men in the 25-to-35 age bracket are the most likely male consumers.
Herbal medicine stores were slightly on the rise in 2011, thanks to consumer interest in natural, organic products. Rossello said in response, sustainability would be a major focus at Cosmoprof this year: A conference on “Innovation Through Sustainability” is scheduled for the fair’s opening day, and another, “Organic Cosmetics: Trends by Geographical Area and Product Innovation,” is slated for Saturday.
Roberto Valente, sales director of SoGeCos, said each year the fair strives to “enrich” itself with new events and stands. He cited the new Extraordinary Gallery by Cosmoff Lab, put on in collaboration with Gabriella Giamminola, as a highlight of Cosmoprof’s 2012 edition. The display mixes home design and catering with jewelry, clothes and cosmetics, and visitors will be able to make purchases on site.
“We wanted to send a positive signal, we wanted to say ‘vive la vie,’ ” Valente said, emphasizing the connection between cosmetics and all the things that make life more beautiful, from art and fashion to jewelry. “It’s about luxury that allows us to live well.”
The Accademia del Profumo, which each year holds an awards ceremony for best fragrance, will feature a cocktail party and special show in lieu of a dinner, Rossello said. From March 7 onward the academy will host installations in Piazza Maggiore and Piazza della Costituzione with assorted information about the competition’s fragrance finalists, and will show films dedicated to the world of perfume in Palazzo dei Notai.
Other key events from this year’s fair include Friday’s “Roadmap to Build a Successful Business in the U.S.,” Saturday’s Elle Beauty Awards at Palazzo Pepoli, where brands are elected for prizes by magazine readers, and a new conference on “Pro-Aging,” which Valente said focuses on developing beauty products that don’t “fight the passing of years” but instead “accompany” consumers along the aging process in a healthy way.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast