MONACO — Luxury was the buzzword at Luxe Pack Monaco, the high-end packaging trade show held here from Oct. 22-25.

Everyone present, from its exhibitors to its organizers and conference speakers, strove to define the term and maintain the category’s leadership.

“Every generation redefines luxury,” said Marc Rosen, president of Marc Rosen Associates, at the opening of the Luxe Pack conference he chaired, “The Luxury Evolution.”

“We all know what luxury used to be — that’s easy — but what does it connote today? None of the old rules apply,” said Rochelle Bloom, president of the Fragrance Foundation, who added that four people asked to define luxury would likely come up with as many different definitions.

Bloom explained that what sets luxury goods apart is that they don’t “just look different, but engage the customer emotionally.”

Peter Lichtenthal, senior vice president of global marketing for the Estée Lauder brand, said “luxury is about wanting to have what is scarce.”

Paul Austin, vice president of sales at fragrance supplier Quest International, said it’s questionable whether fragrance is still considered a luxury, particularly given today’s market inundated with new product launches. For him, luxury is about offering an experience to consumers.

Bloom pointed out that home fragrances and bath products are part of the new luxury. “Time” is also equated with today’s luxury, according to Bloom.

Lichtenthal said some of its other characteristics include the ability to create fantasy, attention to detail, plus controlled distribution and price integrity. “The problem is that many cosmetics companies want to cut expenses and are slowly [moving into] the mass market,” said Pierre-Yves Maisonneuve, president of Luxe Pack Monaco. “These days, many brands are only interested in [cost]. They must turn toward innovation.”

To encourage young designers in the high-end packaging world, the trade show organizers — along with the Principality of Monaco and Societe des Bains de Mer/Monte Carlo Resort — hosted the first Monaco Luxe Pack Design Award. Frenchman Xavier Ricolfi’s bottle was chosen among four other finalists’, from the U.S., Germany, Italy and Brazil. Each one had created a fragrance flacon inspired by the idea of the “Monte Carlo Dream.” Ricolfi was awarded $11,900 at current exchange rates, or 10,000 euros.This session of Luxe Pack Monaco registered 5,307 attendees, up 11.5 percent year on year. At 320, the number of exhibitors was flat.

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