November 25, 2014
Reflecting the growing convergence of fashion, art and technology, the upcoming New York Times International Luxury Conference will explore how those in the industry can benefit from these relationships.
For the first time, the conference will be held in the United States, at the Mandarin Oriental in Miami, ending a day before Art Basel Miami Beach opens. With keynotes and panels featuring an eclectic group of speakers across different disciplines, the conference is arranged to help attendees get inspired for their own work by listening to people inside and outside their fields.
“It’s looking at the increasing intersection between the worlds of fashion, luxury, art and technology and how those three sectors are growing in similar directions, what they can teach each other, how they are influencing each other and why they’re becoming closer and closer together," said Vanessa Friedman, fashion director and chief fashion critic, The New York Times, New York.
"So the speakers reflect those divisions," she said. "We have a number of artists and gallery directors, as well as technology executives, inventors and luxury executives.
"I often find that the most exciting ideas that give you your most exciting ideas are often things that come from outside and from left field, because they make you see and think about your own work in a different way, and that can create great insight and revelations. So hopefully that will come out of this."
Luxury Daily is a media sponsor of The New York Times International Luxury Conference.
Held from Dec. 1-3, the conference will open with a keynote from François Henri Pinault, CEO and chairman of Kering. Ms. Friedman will interview him, getting his ideas on art, fashion, technology and sustainability, having him share some insights he has had from looking beyond luxury.
“I think as a company [Kering has] been very much at the forefront of the tech-luxury revolution, both in their structural operations, in their joint venture with Yoox and how they power their Web sites, and in their approach to the online world, and social media and communications,” Ms. Friedman said. “And they have also been extremely active in supporting the arts, whether it is Saint Laurent with their relationship to musicians or Gucci and its relationship to the film world, Bottega Veneta and its relationship to the fine art photography world.
“So I think they have a real overview of how things have developed over the past few years, and where they might be going.”
Bottega Veneta ad, part of its "Art of Collaboration"
A number of fashion house creative directors will share their take on the conference theme, with Ermenegildo Zegna’s Stefano Pilati talking about how science informs creativity and Gucci’s Frida Giannini sharing the risks and rewards of fashion partnering with the arts. Fondazione Prada’s project director Astrid Welter will also speak to championing the arts.
François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO of Audemars Piguet, will delve into artisanship amid technology.
Recognizing the new face of luxury consumer, who is global and mobile, The Four Season’s president and CEO J. Allen Smith and Bang & Olufsen creative director Johannes Torpe will talk on a panel that will explore how to reach consumers in a fragmented digital world.
The retail store has also changed, and Carlos Jereissati Filho, CEO of Brazilian mall chain Iguatemi, Karen Katz, president and CEO of Neiman Marcus Group and Federico Marchetti, founder and CEO of Yoox Group will share how they see the bricks-and-mortar store today, and ways to create a memorable shopping experience through digital.
Neiman Marcus myNM
Claudia D’Arpizio, partner and leader of Bain's Luxury Goods Vertical and Steven Murphy, CEO of Christie’s International will talk about the delicate balancing act between accessibility and exclusivity.
Wearables is another topic that will be tackled, with a panel featuring Google Glass inventor Dr. Babak Parviz, John Maeda, design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Stefano Rosso, CEO of OTB Group and fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg.
DVF | Made for Glass
Ms. von Furstenberg is leading the charge among luxury brands for the adoption of the new technology (see story). She designed a style of Google Glasses for Net-A-Porter, and her spring/summer 2013 collection featured models walking down the runway wearing Google Glass.
Closing out the conference will be a keynote by Tod’s chairman and CEO Diego Della Valle, who will discuss the role social responsibility and philanthropy play in luxury with host and T magazine editor-in-chief Deborah Needleman.
Throughout the conference, attendees will see performances, including installation artist Naama Tsabar. A gala at the Pérez Art Museum also provides a glimpse into the art scene of the city.
“Because the art world was a spark for the event, we thought there was a really nice synergy in holding the conference in a place where you could actually see these intersections,” Ms. Friedman said. “And Miami was a particularly resonant city because not only was Art Basel going on there, but it itself is a place that very much is about the crossroads of different cultures, different sectors and it’s very much a city that’s looking to the future.”
The venue, diverse group of speakers and experiences are designed to get the audience to think.
“I think there’s a real mix of not just speakers, but also experiences, so there are panels, there are keynotes, there are live video keynotes, there are performances, there are what we’re calling the next big thing, which are six different short, very sweet presentations from people working on the most innovative edge of their fields,” Ms. Friedman said. “So I think that people can really expect to have hopefully their imaginations and their intellect sparked.”
Sarah Jones, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York