This week in luxury, watchmakers, conglomerates, executives, fashion and beauty brands shared the spotlight, all in varying degrees of positivity.
Compagnie Financière Richemont announced a slowdown in growth in China in the third quarter finishing out last year. This slowdown by Richemont – which owns brands such as Cartier, Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC and Montblanc – could be hinting at a consumer confidence decline, since conglomerates often have a finger on the pulse on consumer spending. This could at least be true for brands that are not deemed necessities but true luxury splurges; indeed, other brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Coach reported less-than-expected sales for this same quarter, which included the usually lucrative holiday season.
This headed news that came a little later this week indicating that the slowdown in China was hitting luxury brands more than experts previously estimated. With new executives in charge set to clamp down on corruption in the government, not as many powerful Chinese businessmen are buying or receiving high-end goods for their favors.
However, the news is not all bad. U.S. stocks continued to rise, and companies such as Tod’s and Unilever reported high numbers from late last year. Indeed, brands are taking this opportunity to expand into greater markets.
For example, L’Oreal is planning a massive advance into India, while high-end fashion label Alaia announced a fragrance partnership with Beaute Prestige International. Brands need to recognize where to grow and where to slow down, different markets yield different results for high-end companies selling multiple products.
Other, big news came from the mouths of industry big-wigs themselves. Oscar de la Renta has announced his intent to open his studio doors to John Galliano, ex-Christian Dior creative director who was stripped of his job title and other merits when he went on an anti-Semitic rant in 2011 just before his runway show in Paris. This news surprised many people, many of which were surprised at Mr. de la Renta’s generosity. However, the Italian fashion designer stated that, “everyone in life deserves a second chance, especially someone as talented as John. I think that life is about forgiving and helping people.…I think John is doing all the right things.”
If the fashion industry reaccepts Mr. Galliano back into its world, it could be “one of the biggest fashion comebacks of all time,” according to WWD.