Conclusions of the International Herald Tribune Conference on Luxury, New Delhi 25,26 March 2009

Surprisingly enough, the crisis was not a subject up for debate on the agenda for the most important business event dedicated to luxury, to take place in Delhi, India, between the 25th and 26th of March 2009. “Sustainable Luxury” was the main theme for the event organized by the prestigious Herald Tribune. The event was originally planned for December 2008 but was postponed due to the terrorist attack in Bombay in the same period of time.
We could actually state that the general atmosphere was one of optimism, most speakers talking about the positive side of their business. Sustainability is reflected in some coherent strategies of the big players in the luxury industry. Hermes and Gucci Group have presented their vision on the evolution of luxury and on the ways to impose luxury as real partners for society.
The almost unanimous conclusion was that luxury has evolved and its perception has changed almost completely during the last few years. The speakers for the event have stated that consumers pay more and more attention to the origin of the products, the manufacturing and the impact on the environment. The main characteristic that the luxury brands should have would be transparency and honesty. Luxury customers are sensible to all “background” information of the luxury goods that they buy. Another characteristic that should be properly communicated is “heritage”
Suzy Menkes, IHT editor and host for the event, stated that the era for extravagant luxury goods has set and quality is again something sought by the customer. Ms Menkes also mentioned that it is necessary to be close to the consumer and understand all the changes that he’s currently going through.