Against the backdrop of a melancholy financial scene, Cosmoprof’s organizers in Bologna unveiled a revamped trade show that was buoyed by the state of the local beauty market, both in domestic consumption and exports.
“The Italian market has remained strong in a crazy economical situation,” said Fabio Franchina, president of Unipro.
According to Unipro, the Italian beauty industry recorded 1.2 percent growth in 2008 to hit a volume of 8.34 billion euros, or $11.07 billion. Exports, too, are on the rise, growing 2.1 percent last year to hit a turnover of 2.31 billion euros, or $3.06 billion.
Franchina also noted domestic consumption grew 0.8 percent to 9.07 billion euros, or $11.95 billion. “Beauty is important to the Italians and they don’t want to cut back,” Franchina added.
Predictably, attendance was down at the 42nd edition of the four-day show, which ran from April 2 at the Bologna fairgrounds. Visitors to Cosmoprof totaled 139,523, 7.5 percent less than 2008. Foreign buyer numbers suffered a dramatic decline of 14.9 percent over 2008 to 33,338 foreign visitors and Italian attendee numbers waned to 106,125, 4.8 percent less than last year’s figure.
The first day, when only the Cosmopack section was open, a 19 percent rise in visitors was recorded, however, said Aureliana De Sanctis, chief executive officer of Sogecos, the fair’s organizers. De Sanctis added exhibitor numbers, at 2,248, were up 3 percent on 2008’s figure. “We sold 91,000 square meters of space,” she said. “It’s like a big city of beauty.”
De Sanctis said 60 percent of the visitors during the first two days were from abroad, singling out the number of buyers from Saudi Arabia, India, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina. It wasn’t all good news, however. “We have a reduction in the number of buyers coming from the U.S.,” she admitted.
After overhauling the fair’s look last year, Sogecos tweaked the formula further. The changes elicited a mixed reaction.
“It’s a lot quieter than I expected,” said Martin Trout, export manager for the Middle and Far East, Latin America of Morris Profumi.
“There’s a lot less exhibitors in here,” he added, referring to the Perfumery & Cosmetics section. His firm was showcasing the last installment in La Perla’s J’aime fragrance masterbrand, J’aime La Nuit. Trout said La Perla’s four J’aime scents helped the brand grow by 50 percent in sales last year.
Among the historic exhibitors absent from Cosmoprof’s Perfumery & Cosmetics area was Deborah cosmetics.
“I decided to not put Deborah here this year,” said Malcolm Kemp, export director of the Deborah Group. “That’s not only due to the economic situation — the show is losing its wow factor.”
That being said, Kemp did unveil Debby, a color line with revamped graphic black and hot pink packaging aimed at young women, at the fair. Already sold in 1,200 Italian and 500 French doors, Debby will be rolled out to another 18 countries by the end of 2009, said Kemp. “Retailers are really enthusiastic about it and we have had good sell-through in the past few months, so I want to build it up to be 25 percent of our international business,” he said.
Deborah’s sales hit $150 million last year, an increase of about 12 percent, which Kemp attributed to international growth.
Bottega Verde also came to Cosmoprof looking to build distribution. “We have a strong European presence, but being at Cosmoprof is to help us extend our presence in the Far East and Latin America,” said Stefano Alloisio, export manager of Bottega Verde. The brand has 380 stand-alone stores in 12 countries and an estimated 162 million euros, or $214 million at current exchange, in annual sales. It launched Talasso, a five-stockkeeping-unit line of anticellulite body products formulated with seawater.
Bottega Verde’s success represents one of the fastest-growing trends in Italy: the rise of the erboristeria, or herbal store, category. Led by Bottega Verde and L’Erobolario, the channel had an increase of 3.8 percent last year, Franchina said. “People are moving towards natural products.”
“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