The message from the Tax Free World Association show in Cannes was clear: beauty may be recession resistant, but it certainly isn't reality proof.
The global beauty industry’s ATM machine, known as the worldwide duty free business, is wobbling badly as it flies into severe economic downdrafts. There was a growing chill in the air as the confidence level dropped faster than attendance figures during the TFWA (Tax Free World Association) World Exhibition held in October in Cannes. The duty free channel possesses two attributes not seen in American department stores since the Reagan administration: foot traffic and impulse buying. What results is quite a golden egg: According to Generation, which tracks global figures, total duty free and travel retail sales generated $34 billion in 2007, including beauty, liquor, tobacco, accessories and ready-to-wear. Fragrances and cosmetics alone accounted for 30 percent, or $10.2 billion.
But what makes Cannes singularly important is that it has evolved beyond the duty free market and mushroomed into the global cosmetics meeting. Everyone is there—hordes of distributors from Europe, Asia and the Middle East and brand marketers large and small. There is plenty of pageantry in the drab corporate landscape. Every night, glittering dinner parties are held along the storied Croisette as fragrance manufacturers hype their latest offerings for airport retailers. Novelty is added by indie brands and seat-of-the-pants start-ups, which often haunt the bar of the iconic Majestic Barrière hotel. This year, it was Yes for Lov, a line that promises the “return of elegant eroticism” with a bagful of boudoir innovations. There are also specialists in parallel marketing, i.e. diverters, who usually can be seen hovering around the Palais. But according to a number of observers, there weren’t as many free agents on the scene this year. While asserting that total attendance was up 1 percent to 5,756, TFWA said core attendance—retailers, store operators and landlords—was down 3 percent.
The duty free business is driven by air travel. September and October reportedly experienced a 3 to 5 percent drop in traffic, particularly in the important North Atlantic routes. On a more optimistic note, manufacturers note that only 25 to 30 percent of passengers purchase in duty free shops, so one solution is targeting the reluctant 70 percent. Heinemann, a key German duty free operator that runs 250 stores, hopes to do that this month with the opening of a highly innovative pilot store in Hamburg Airport that will be driven by service and laden with personality.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)