The titans of luxury in New York, Paris, London, Tokyo, and Dubai have spoken, and their mood is, generally, upbeat. The Reuters Global Luxury Summit, which started yesterday and ends tomorrow, is a three-day blitz of interviews with chief executives and chairmen of Hermes, Burberry, Tiffany and Co., Rolls-Royce, Montblanc, Chopard, Estee Lauder, and Saks, to name a few.
Here are some highlights:
- Designer Jonathan Adler, says his mandate for the Christmas season is "irresistable giftables. "I hope that when you walk into my store you will feel like you're in a crack-den of adorableness." As for how his business is faring in the recession: "I think that my design aesthetic is probably the right design aesthetic for right now," he told Reuters. "I've always called my design philosophy happy chic, and it is about creating design that is chic, luxurious, and I hope beautiful, but adding an element of levity and irreverence that I think makes people feel good. And probably in these grim economic times, the element of happiness is resonating with consumers."
- The new Rolls-Royce Ghost model, to be available in September, may help double the carmaker's annual sales. The projection is based on the 1,500 deposits already received for the Ghost.
- Hermes is breeding crocodiles on its own farms, mainly in Australia, to keep up with demand for its exotic-skin $50,000 handbags, because, as Hermes chief executive, Patrick Thomas, put it, "The world is not full of crocodiles, except the stock exchange!" [Meanwhile, Louisiana alligator farms are struggling.]
- Classical styles for handbags are winning out over "it" bags, according to Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts. "They (shoppers) want them to last. They want to be able to psychologically know they can carry them for the next couple of years and no one will know how old it is."
- Montblanc is planning to open four boutiques in Saudi Arabia this year. Pens account for about half of total sales since the company has diversified into watches and fine jewelry.
- Chopard has seen sales drop 15-20 percent this year, but is hoping a recovery will level off the sales drop to just 10 percent. "We already feel a little bit of a comeback," Chopard's chairman, Karl Scheufele, said.
- Juicy Couture is increasing the number of products sold for $200 and less to adjust to the recession, Juicy Couture's president, Edgar Huber said.
- Sales of traditional Japanese doll sets, costing from $2,000 to $50,000, have held in the recession.