Beauty and fine wines are our two favorite subjects at VitaBella. It’s our DNA for 20 years. And I recently explained why to Pauline Vicard, brilliant Co-Founder & Executive Director of Areni Global (an independent think tank dedicated to the future of fine wine): because these two industries share a lot in common. And, whether in the world of beauty or that of fine wines, we’re asking ourselves the same question today, on the eve of 2024.: Where will luxury brands turn next for growth? Weaker economic backdrop and geopolitical tensions are putting pressures on brands in a context of global slowdown in luxury spending.
‘Savoir-Faire’ or Know-how, tradition and craftsmanship will no longer be enough in 2024. It hasn’t been enough for many years, and we’ve had to work on the desirability and exclusivity of these brands. But now we’re entering a new era where we’re going to have to adapt even further. And, strangely enough, the “new brands” may be better equipped than the legacy beauty brands. In the world of cosmetics, many “new brands” are now adored by the international press and adored to such an extent that the iconic brands sometimes take second place in their recommendations. The same applies to the world of fine wines. One only has to look at the image of some Champagne vignerons to realize that, here too, the big houses sometimes take a back seat in the eyes of the experts.
Why? The advent of “Quiet luxury” – a lifestyle characterized by understated elegance and refined consumption, emphasizing exclusivity and discerning taste without overt displays of wealth – may be one reason. In this period of slowdown, a brand like Gucci is now looking for a new lease of life, a new spark, while Brunello Cucinelli is now in the spotlight. I must confess, I’ve always been a fan of this brand (especially in this winter season, when its cashmeres work wonders). The day I was lucky enough to be surrounded by Messrs Brunello Cuccinelli and Marco Bizzarri (ex-CEO Gucci) at the New York Times Luxury Conference in Versailles, I understood the difference in vision between these two brands. After all, what is luxury? A ‘Savoir Faire’ and a vision of the world. Brunello Cuccinelli’s vision is completely different from that of Gucci. And it goes far beyond “Quiet luxury”: it’s also about being “Fair” as a brand. You can realize it when reading what’s behind the Brunello Cuccinelli’s brand.
A new wave of consciousness has swept through the luxury industry, driven by a growing awareness of the environmental and social impact of our choices. Existing without compromising the planet’s health, that’s the minimum today. But the world of luxury needs to go much further. Be more respectful of the planet and its people, this is the credo of the successful brands in the future. In this sense, Brunello Cuccinelli embodies this future. ‘Savoir Fair’ will be the new Savoir-Faire, one that is rooted in tradition, craftsmanship, and ethical practices. Adding – with empathy and imagination – a larger meaning beyond the savoir-faire makes sense for your community: No greenwashing, show consumers that you practice what you preach, be more transparent; create a more ethical and environmentally responsible industry; reduce environmental footprint and promote social responsibility throughout the supply chain; ensure fair wages and working conditions; place a strong emphasis on traditional techniques and craftsmanship, utilising local resources and supporting local communities; implement AI responsibly…
All this does not come cheap as you need more resources and expertise. This is why luxury will always be expensive. Even more expensive in the future, I believe. By embracing ’Savoir Fair’, luxury brands can not only reduce their environmental impact but also create products that are more ethical, responsible and desirable to consumers. Being “Fair” at any cost is the future for luxury brands. Fine wines included!
Contact Guillaume Jourdan via LinkedIn