MONTE CARLO, Monaco — A heady dose of glamour was the headlining trend at Luxe Pack in the face of a global economic crisis.

This story first appeared in the November 18, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The packaging trade show, which ran from Oct. 28 to 31, saw a spike in attendance to 6,478 visitors, a 5.8 percent increase over 2007.

“The mood is cautiously positive,” said Christophe Czajka Luxe Pack president, “we are determined to deliver on the quality of the business and prove the show can only be stronger in a moment of crisis.”

To that end organizers jam-packed the fair’s four-day run with 30 conferences and launched a new workshop on packaging design trends.

Among the highlights were Ora Ito, a young French designer, Jonathan Ford, cofounder and designer of Pearl Fisher and Marc Rosen, who led a panel discussion called “Re-defining the Glamour Aesthetic” on Oct. 29.

Rosen said the idea for his panel grew out of an earlier speech, in which he called upon the cosmetics industry to reembrace its past love of glamour. “Our industry used to personify glamour,” he said. “I think we lost it. We need to redefine it and bring it back. If that can be accomplished,” he added, “we can bring people back to the counter.”

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That led Rosen to think about redefining the meaning of glamour to attract a younger generation of consumers. “It is now about keeping up with technology,” he said. “It’s also a sense of supermodernity in use of materials, whether it’s steel or bling or a sense of retro,” he said. That is where the issue spills over into packaging design. Pointing to skin care, Rosen said packaging tended to be generic in the Nineties. But with the advent of high-priced brands in this decade, it became necessary to invest more in the design. “If it costs $300,” he said, “it should look glamorous.”

As an example, Rosen described a resin-based glass polymer, marketed by Eastman Chemical Co., that produces thick-walled crystal clear containers. The interior can be shaped to create a visual effect. Courtland Jenkins, global market development manager for food, beverage and consumer packaging of Eastman Chemical said, “That particular polymer works well for skin care because the design is very engaging to the customer, and from a performance standpoint it is very good because it is tough, and has a good chemical resistance with the product it holds.”

The other speakers on the panel were Felix Mayr-Harting of Givaudan, Sue Phillips of Scenterprise and Mary Manning of Manning Associates.

Other firms upped the glamour factor on their offer. Pfeiffer Beauty unveiled a glossy new brand image it dubbed “the touch of beauty” with Wenge wood containers topped with soft touch dispensers, positioned to capture the luxury beauty market. “We want to be more present in the beauty industry,” said Yannick Brunat, vice president marketing and sales beauty division. The German firm showed “Alpha” a new cartridge that prevents product from touching any metal parts of the packaging. “It ensures the bulk remains completely sterilized and no chemical reactions can occur,” explained Brunat. Pfeiffer has combined Alpha with a new dispenser system “Irresistible,” which was developed originally for the pharmaceutical industry. It contains a fine Gore-Tex filter to block bacteria and prevent the product from oxidation and contamination.

Jean-Paul Imbert, in his new role of president of Cosfibel Inc. revealed some of the company’s savvy new promotional and cosmetic packaging innovations at the show. Cosfibel’s promotional “bomb box” comes with its own internal lighting and sound system and is constructed with a raised platform so the product protrudes out.

“It stands out, the customer sees it and says ‘oh boy look at that’ and the retailer likes it too because though the box is designed so the product juts out the front, the back of it is grooved so the boxes can stack neatly,” said Imbert. Cosfibel also had a new lipstick case fitted with magnets so it closes automatically once the two ends meet. Dieter Bakic trussed up his versatile mix-and-match plastic packaging lines for skin and hair care with eye-catching decoration techniques like a three-dimensional lace wraps and relief printing. Bakic also is marketing practical design additions of push button lid openings and an ultracompact mascara tube called “Telescope Mascara” that works like a telescope, untwisting to extend to 10 centimeters.

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