American Marketer


FT Business of Luxury Summit 2015 to show luxury does not end with the BRICs

May 29, 2015

Sporting Monte Carlo in Monaco Sporting Monte Carlo in Monaco


Now that the dust surrounding most emerging markets has settled, the 11th annual Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit 2015 will tackle industry growth in terms of craftsmanship and technology.

Over the last decade, luxury brands and executives have gathered together for the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit to discuss the ailments and opportunities currently facing the industry as a whole. For the 2015 edition, the Financial Times is holding its annual summit in Monte-Carlo, Monaco on the Côte d'Azur where “Technology, Legacy and the New Consumer” will be the main topics of discussion.

“This year's Summit will be discussing Technology, Legacy and the New Consumer,” said Jo Ellison, fashion editor of the Financial Times, London. “How can the industry best deal with the competing imperatives of promoting traditional workmanship and harness the speed and accessibility of new technologies? Can luxury deliver in a click-to-buy culture? What lessons can the huge luxury conglomerates learn from small start-ups?

"Now that geographical expansion isn't necessarily the only route for growth, a stronger online strategy and presence has taken on a greater urgency,” she said. “What is the phy-gital revolution, and how are brands engaging with the new consumer? Is the internet really the new China?

“How do you promote a return to 'organic' growth in a lightening quick retail environment? Moreover, how does a brand built on heritage and history, enshrine its legacy for tomorrow?”

The great beyond
Financial Times has held its Business of Luxury Summit in cities such as Vienna (see story), Marrakech, Morocco, Lausanne, Switzerland, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Mexico City where the industry's most influential individuals have gathered to discuss the global financial crisis, technological innovations and how consumer behavior has changed in the last decade.

For the 2015, Financial Times brings the summit back to Monte Carlo for a second time. Over the three-day conference June 7-9, delegates will discuss how as emerging markets become stable geographical expansion is not the only option for brands looking to grow.

Also, sessions will debate how the luxury industry can promote traditional workmanship and how to harness the speed and accessibility new technologies offer brands.

The Summit will open with welcome reception at the Yacht Club de Monaco where John Ridding, chief executive of the Financial Times, will give an opening address.

During the two days of keynotes and panel sessions, delegates will speak at the Sporting Monte Carlo near by the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel Resort.

monte carlo

Monte Carlo, Monaco on the Côte d'Azur

First day sessions include opening remarks from Financial Times editor Lionel Barber and an opening keynote address from Johann Rupert, the executive chairman of Richemont. Throughout the day, attendees will hear from Nathalie Remy, partner at McKinsey & Company on getting “wired” to create the ultimate luxury experience and going “beyond the store” with a panel moderated by management consultant Mimma Viglezio featuring Jonathan Akeroyd, president and CEO of Alexander McQueen, Ross Bailey, founder and CEO of Appear Here, Philipp Gajzer, managing director of Move Now Commercial Brokers and Jose Neves, founder and CEO of Fetch.

The day concludes with a fireside chat led by Financial Times fashion editor Ms. Ellison who will talk with famed photographer Mario Testino about his career and how digital has altered luxury.

Day one is concluded by a gala dinner at the Sporting Monte Carlo and after party at The Pool at Le Méridien Beach Plaza nearby.

The second day will begin with a keynote address from chairman of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles John Elkann and will continue with panel discussions such as “Is the Internet the new China?” with delegates such as Gian Giacomo Ferraris, CEO of Versace, Peter Fitzgerald, president of innovation and digital at the Brisih Fashion Council, and Luca Solca, managing director, sector head, global luxury goods and Exane BNP Paribas.

An overview of China continues with “China Crisis, Consolidation and the New Consumer” with opening remarks from Shanghai Tang founder Sir David Tang, KBE. Sir Tang will be joined by Stefano Canali, general manager of Canali, Justin Leong, head of strategic investments and corporate affairs at Genting Group, Vittorio Moltedo, co-founder of Corto Moltedo and Jian Shan, the CEO and Founder of Prowon Consulting. This session will be moderated by Jamil Anderlini, Beijing beauty chief of Financial Times.

The Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit 2015 will conclude with a closing keynote conversation with Federico Marchetti, founder and CEO of Yoox Group.

Additional information and the full line-up for the Summit can be found here.

Luxury locale
In the luxury sector the location of a conference summit paints a backdrop for the topics discussed.

For example, in April Condé Nast International sought locations within Florence to showcase a glimpse of the artisans and craftsmanship embedded within the city during its inaugural Luxury Conference (see story).

As for Monaco, the French principality exudes luxury and sophistication at every turn from the fleet of high-end automobiles parked along its streets to its harbor full of mega yachts as well as legendary black tie casino and stunning views of the mediterranean.

“The Summit is now in it's 11th year and since the inaugural Summit in Shanghai in 2005, we've taken it around the world to fantastic locations across Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas, culminating in Mexico last year which was the perfect setting as we were discussing luxury markets of the future,” said Gareth Pike, head of marketing EMEA, Financial Times Live, London.

“This year, for the first time ever, we're returning to a previous location,” he said. “We ran our 2009 Summit in Monte Carlo and it was such a stunning location and proved so popular with everyone that attended that we've decided to go back there again this year from June 7-9.”

Final Take
Jen King, lead reporter on Luxury Daily, New York