Does a fragrance for £1,260 (?1,840/$2,500) per ounce smell more sweet? Some beauty players certainly believe that their clients think so. "Uber-luxurious" fragrance and cosmetics, with price tags starting to rival those of sports cars or fi ne jewelry, are gaining momentum these days.
While still representing only an infi nitesimal share of the worldwide beauty market, the ultra-premium segment is one to watch, executives say.
"Global wealth is growing, and people are getting richer-not only in developed countries, but in emerging economies, where markets are booming and there's a strong trend toward 'premiumization,' " said Alexander Kirillov, senior analyst of London-based Euromonitor tracking fi rm. "People are happy to trade up to more expensive luxury items in this situation. And when we talk about luxury, it's all about exclusivity."
Such an elite positioning generally found in products sold in just a handful of stores comes at a price. Take V1, a fragrance created by London-based designer Arfaq, which has a starting price point of $170,000 per platinum, gold, ruby and diamond-bedecked bottle. Likewise, Xerjoff, a fragrance house in Turin, Italy, which manufactures scents packaged in handmade bottles carved from semiprecious stones, has prices starting at £2,000. Clive Christian, based in London, claims to sell the world's most expensive juice, with its No. 1 fragrance weighing in at £1,260 per ounce.
Similarly, certain treatment products' prices have recently blasted into the price stratosphere. Take Kanebo's Sensai eye cream, at $320 per 0.5-oz. jar, and Este;e Lauder's Re-Nutriv 50-ml. jars of day and night creams, which together sell for ?950.
"Uber luxury by its nature is only available to only a handful of people" who wouldn't sniff at such prices, reasoned Roja Dove, who runs the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie in Harrods, which stocks Arfaq, Xerjoff and Clive Christian scents.
According to Dove, the emergence of such high-end fragrances refl ects a backlash against what he considers the commoditization of the luxury beauty market.
"The word luxury has been totally debased," he said. "Consumers are fed up with 300 to 400 fragrance launches per year-it's overwhelming. Staff in stores don't offer luxury service, as they're not trained, and consumers are totally fed up of buying products that six months later they can't buy any more. There is a sophisticated consumer who is looking for something else.""Price is very important, but it has to have a reason," continued Rita Clifton, London-based chief executive offi cer of branding consultancy Interbrand. "You can't fool all of the people all of the time."
Clifton added where genuine craftwork and high-quality or rare ingredients are used, consumers are willing to pay the price.
"But the important thing to remember about luxury is that it's a relative concept," she noted. "If one has no food, then having the means for a decent meal is a luxury."
For that reason, industry watchers don't see the emergence of astronomical product prices as impinging on the business generated by traditional "prestige" goods, available for a fraction of the cost. "A customer buying a product for $100,000 is not in the market for Armani's Acqua di Gio or Este;e Lauder's Beautiful," said Sandy Beebee, a New York-based analyst at HSBC. "They want something distinctive that no one else can have."
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
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