By  on November 10, 2006

MONTE CARLO, Monaco — Packaging is all about an added plus these days, according to resources and organizers at the most recent edition of Luxe Pack.

The packaging trade show, which ran from Oct. 24 to 27 here, was created to take a diverse approach to the industry and meant to include "all segments concerned with luxury packaging," said Christophe Czajka, Luxe Pack president.

This includes spirits, a business whose product packaging needs resemble those of cosmetics in terms of the importance of on-counter differentiation through aesthetics.

Another addition to this Luxe Pack session was a trend observatory, comprising six members, including executives from the Style-Vision trend agency, Ecole Boulle applied arts school and Dragon Rouge design agency. The group identified four trends they've noted emerging in the packaging industry (which they reckon generates some 3.5 billion euros, or $4.47 billion at current exchange rates, in Europe alone each year).

These are:

  • Techniques allowing for a play on light, including thicker, weightier glass;
  • An attention to sustainable packaging development and safety, such as manufacturing methods that protect the environment;
  • Added bells and whistles, like coffrets, ribbons and sampling;
  • Creating surprise, with contrasting shapes and sophisticated finishes.

    Among the companies to focus on finishes is Paris-based Anha, which specializes in lacquer finishing (15 coats-worth) for home decoration. The company is also branching further into the fragrance and cosmetics industry, according to Florence Nguyen, its manager.


She explained the lacquer process can be used on almost any material, including wood, mirror and plexiglass, and also mixed with other packaging components. Most recently, Anha inked a partnership with crystal house Swarovski. Anha covers items with handmade gold or silver leaf, as well.

Over at Groupe Autajan, the Montelimar, France-based firm creates tubes, silk-screened designs (most recently with metallic effects), hot-fire stamping and self-gluing labels for the beauty industry — alongside its cash-cow folding boxes, said Andreas Domann, sales manager at the company's Landerer division.

So far, Autajan manufacturers its products locally, but that looks likely to change."If you have a long-term strategy, you have to look over the ocean," said Domann, in response to the question about whether the company is yet producing in Asia. "Either we will be in their market, or they will be in ours."

Belgian packaging company Cosfibel Group — whose clients include Victoria's Secret and Elizabeth Arden for primary packaging — already produces most of its products in Asia, according to Ilan Schinazi, chief executive officer of New York-based Cosfibel Inc., Cosfibel's U.S. division that was created two years ago and already generates $10 million yearly.

"Our customers want European quality with Chinese prices," added Fany Perot, sales manager of Cosworld Primapack, the Bologne, France-based division of Cosfibel. "When you meet a customer, the first question asked is ‘How much,' not ‘What's new.'" "We are investigating options in India," continued Schinazi, adding Morocco and Turkey could also be attractive to keep costs down and service snappy.

The Luxe Pack trade show last month included a talk by fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac and a discussion chaired by Marc Rosen, president of Marc Rosen and Associates, titled "Turning Back Time — The Skin Care, Makeup and Packaging Promise" and featuring panelists such as MAC's Peter Lichtenthal, Milbar Labs' Gus Bezas and Pamela Vaile Associates' Pamela Vaile.

In terms of Luxe Pack exhibitors, their number rose 5 percent to 315. There was also a 2 percent increase in attendees, which came in at 5,590 this session.

"About 60 percent of the visitors were not French," said Luxe Pack's Czajka, adding, "There was a surge in the number of visitors from Asia — Japan, Korea and Taiwan. There was also a surge of visitors from Eastern Europe."

Part of the lure is the show's diversity, he added.

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