Luxury business digest with expert analysis by Alessandro Maria Ferreri (November 2017)

Luxury fashion consultant Alessandro Maria Ferreri provides CPP-LUXURY.COM with his expert insights on the selection of the most important news of the month.

Russia’s luxury market boosted by the alignment of prices and Chinese shoppers

I totally agree with the Mercury strategy and, what described, is exactly what we did put in place with our clients over the last months. It was time also for Russia to do what many brands did in China last year. As for new Chinese customers in Russia, this is a great possibility above all for a matter of VISA: Chinese can enter Russia more easily than EU countries, even if the tourist sightseeing attractions still remain evidently incomparable.

In the case of Tsum, it is a very specific project in the Russian market. Mercury (Tsum mother company) also operate in franchising  the mono-brand stores of Dolce&Gabbana, Saint Laurent or Tom Ford. Lower margins due to price alignment with the  EU are shared with the brand through trade discounts as import duties, freight and local TVA did not change. There are really few international luxury brands that run the their Russian business directly and the operational costs are still far from allowing a comfortable P&L: this might be the reason why not all the brands have aligned the prices yet.

Moncler to discontinue top lines, designers Valli and Browne to leave

Having a designer cooperation has been crucial and instrumental in setting Moncler as a luxury brand in the market. The fashion shows and the consequent wholesale distribution connected to Valli’s and Browne’s designs catapulted Moncler among the highest ranking luxury fashion brands, building a solid awareness: now this is no longer needed and Moncler is ready for the next step of its strategy.

I do believe that they did not gave up with collaborations, but as a new strategy, it would be more interesting for the consumer to enjoy seasonal capsules done with artists, singers or temporary co-branding. This is exactly what Louis Vuitton is doing. Let’s not forget that Moncler is still perceived as mainly a “mono-category” brand: in order to buy every season a new down jacket, a customer needs always new design inputs.

Burberry shifts strategy towards ultra-luxury positioning

Despite the important strategic work that Burberry has done in the past years by consolidating the product categories and by reducing the too many lines, still the positioning in terms of store location and awareness is far from being uber-luxury and the giant average size of the current retail shops will not help. In addition, Burberry cannot enjoy an important and recognized craftsmanship in specific categories comparable to what Bottega Veneta or Loewe had, so the way to real luxury will be unfortunately long and difficult, no matter which new head designer might be appointed.

Lanvin’s worsening financials

The legend of Lanvin can be compared to Celine’s: in both cases, strong new designers shaped the brand into a complete different aesthetic from what there was in origin, to the point that basically nobody remembers what Lanvin looked like before Alber Elbaz or Celine looked like before Phoebe. It will be hard to dismantle Elbaz’s work and make the brand great and convincing again.

Unfortunately, at the moment the brand is perceived so low with all the golden years forgotten, that only a strong star designer might create a miracle. But it is very very hard to revamp nowadays a dead brand.

Tiffany & Co opens its first ever restaurant The Blue Box Café in New York

I find this idea very smart and interesting: By adding a new home collection, is evidently trying to become more “global” and eventually more accessible, than before. As recently silver bracelets were in any case selling way better than diamonds, by stretching the brand experience into lower/side market segments, Tiffany is moving away from being recognized as the ultimate engagement ring brand: it might be the right strategy for such a luxury giant but it is already clear that this direction won’t allow any “way back”.

Should they expand the new Cafe internationally? This is a eventual profitable and interesting direction but the result will be a “so stretched” brand perception that I doubt someone will be then willing to spend 50.000$ in a Tiffany diamond anymore. Think to a “Cartier Cafè” or a “Chopard Cafè”… no way!  these are luxury institutions who need to stick to their expertize in order to maintain their luxury positioning.

Alessandro Maria Ferreri is the CEO of THE STYLE GATE

Tiffany Blue Box Cafe New York