More mergers, fewer acquisitions? New faces, different places? To discover what 2008 holds in store for society at large (and beauty in particular), we asked some forward thinkers to speculate on what lies ahead in their respective fields.
Faith Popcorn Our lives are out of the delicate balance that Chinese philosophy calls yin and yang. Yin embodies what is dark, negative and passive. It is this mind-set that has made our world aware of the catastrophic affects of harsh treatment toward Mother Nature. Yang stands for light, positivity and action. Our world has been in an overwhelming state of yin, but 2008 will continue to usher in an accent of yang. Though not in balance yet, the tiny ray of light in the darkness we are calling “yin(g).” As the trend AtmosFEAR explains, polluted air, contaminated water and tainted food stir up a storm of consumer doubt. This feeling of fear has been propelling consumers toward the trend of S.O.S., where individuals are discovering a sense of responsibility, ethics and compassion for our planet. In 2008, responsibility will equal sophistication. Items that are rare, with a story or a conscience, will become more valuable. Streamlined, efficient design will continue to infiltrate the mainstream. The handmade works of global artisans will be given more value than ever before. Our culture is digging for depth in how we live and what we have. Hence, ying is the new bling; responsibility is what’s “flash,” not mere trappings.
Karim Rashid The new year will bring the increased casualization of our world. The world around us seems to be getting perpetually softer, more amorphous and more experiential, more tactile, more sensual. Our objects are softer, more human and more engaging. The digital age, the information society, the global village and the leisure culture all are symptoms of a changing shrinking physical world where “soft” defines our new relaxed landscape. Soft is a metaphor for our forever-changing ever-vast organic system. This casualization of shape, form, material and behavior is now a movement that elevates the physical world to be as engaging as the digital world.
Wendy Liebmann, Founder and Chief Shopper, WSL Strategic Retail I think 2008 will be one tough roller-coaster ride at retail. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen this convergence of diminished economic expectations, dramatic social change and political upheaval all wrapped up in a time of technological transformation. We’ll see the continuing redefinition of retail. It’s what we call the big bang theory—continuing consolidation across all channels resulting in fewer bigger retailers, with lots of smaller, more agile, newer retail players filling the void. Brick-and-mortar stores will finally become just another option. Shoppers will expect their goods and services any way, any where they want: traditional storefronts, online, vending stores, TV, Web sites, all of the above and more. Add to that the fast-evolving value proposition shoppers will demand—way beyond great prices. Constant newness, innovation, a simplified shopping experience and a strong, authentic emotional connection will all be critical to building value and loyalty.
Andrew Weil, Physician Anger and frustration with the state of health care will lead to demands for reform and, I hope, to more people taking personal responsibility for their own well-being.
Giovanni C Russo, Creative Director, No 11 Inc. As there is more wealth being created around the globe, the demand for luxury goods will increase. That being said, the exclusive experience from luxury brands is declining. The result of this is we will most likely see a return to handmade, artisan, bespoke and couture. Having tailor-made means one of a kind, so you have no chance of running into your clone at a cocktail party. As far as the ready-to-wear market, you’ll see more and more convergence of sports technology and fashion. I love going to a snowboard or surf shop to search for ideas regarding new high-tech fabrics and design. Furthermore, I see the use of high-tech fabrics in other areas like fragrance packaging. Architects are also beginning to use state-of-the-art fabric materials in building. It’s new and fresh, and definitely not anything we’ve seen before.
Paco Underhill, Founder, Chief Executive Officer and President, Envirosell The ongoing launch of private label. Retailers are finding ways to source their own products. If you look at the hottest stores across the First World, be it Zara or Mango or Trader Joe’s or even Jo Malone, they’re all about private label products. This allows the manufacturer of products not to make love through the interpreter of the retailer and is another way of engineering cost out of the supply chain. We’re also going to see a better union of the store, its catalogue and the Internet. It will be more integrated, meaning I preshop online, I visit the store and I either close the deal in-store or I go back and order online. The online world is a better informed sales associate. What we’re going to see increasingly as we have Internet-enabled mobile phones and in-store devices that can broadcast to a mobile phone will be that some of the basic needs of packaging are made redundant—just as with Apple’s new iPhone, which came with an Internet address instead of an instruction book. It also makes us an eminently greener culture.
Evan Hansen, Editor in Chief, Wired News Look for big advances in personalized medicine with companies such as 23andme and deCode Genetics offering detailed DNA roadmaps for under $1,000. This will let you see your genetic predisposition for cancer, heart disease and so on, and will have enormous implications for health and society at large (consider how this information might affect medical insurance premiums). In consumer electronics we’re going to see wireless technology advance to the next level with the rollout of new high-speed networks called 3G. From the military, look for unmanned robotic weapons and nonlethal crowd control technologies using sound, microwaves and nausea to disperse rioters.
Cathy Leonhardt, Managing Director, Peter J. Solomon Co. Much of the high level of M&A activity in the past three years has been driven by the growth of private equity investors and transaction financing at unprecedented levels. However, with recent credit market turmoil, the housing market crisis and economic uncertainty, M&A activity has declined. But so have valuations, with consumer and retail stocks reflecting these issues. In the coming months, M&A activity will likely be at a slower pace than the past few years. But there are a few countervailing forces: Strategic buyers are now better positioned to do acquisitions vis-à-vis private equity buyers as credit markets are limiting transaction multiples and valuations are lower. Additionally, private equity investors are returning to more value-priced acquisitions. Strategic buyers will still pay higher multiples for premium growth brands such as Burt’s Bees. To drive expansion, consumer products companies will continue to selectively pursue acquisitions to enter new product categories, gain share in geographies and access new distribution channels. With strategics focusing on billion dollar global brands, fewer mega-acquisitions are still possible. However, the consolidation of trade factors and increasing regulatory initiatives are forcing mergers at the midlevel. Thus, M&A activity will continue to play a major role in the beauty industry, but at more modest transaction valuations.
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews