Major players in luxury share their opinions on the current European crisis

Patrick Thomas, CEO, Hermes : ” In Europe, the economic equation is so different from one country to the next, that I do not think there is an overall measure that could resolve the problem, except, maybe for political reconciliation… There is one point I agree with the French President – if a company is in financial trouble, cutting costs cannot save it and launching an economic stimulus plan at the same time, as long as it can be financed before creating more damage, is a good idea.”

Giorgio Armani, Chairman CEO, Giorgio Armani SpA : ”I believe the situation could improve if there is a purpose in the purchase, if what you buy is useful. We must add value to the purchase and more quality to the product. There is so much of everything in women’s wear but much more attention should be paid to the product, not only because it is new. Forget about the needs of the media or about designers pushed by the groups’ international interests”

Giorgio Armani (photo Vanity Fair, September 2012 issue)

Bruno Salzer, CEO, Escada  ”The key for me to improve the situation…requires a more consistent way of communicating, the ways in which to deal with the crisis. Right now, the plans change every two weeks. (…) People are first confused but by the end of the day, they are completely frustrated, which is worse. Consistency is key. People are looking for stability”

Gildo Zegna, CEO Ermenegildo Zegna ”The euro will remain and politicians will find a sollution. We have the advantage of a weak euro which helps our exports. I am optimistic that the European Union will remain and we are tied to the euro. Newspapers contribute to the depression, but after all, the sector is holding up and tourists make up for weaker markets. That said, we need to pay much more attention.”

Christophe Navare, CEO Moet Hennessey ”As a Belgian, I am dedicated to the European Union. There is no alternative but to find sollutions to the current problems. in the sense that there is no possibility of going backwards. And that concerns both the euro and the E.U.”

Manuel Puig, Vice Chairman of Puig Group : ”We have to go for fiscal and politica union, which is easier said than done. And we need to work together as one continent so that we can compete with the U.S. and China. Taxes need to be at one level throghout the entire E.U. And you need one boss for all 25 countries. Who can do it? Maybe Churchill would have been great”

Thierry Andretta, CEO, Lanvin : ”In macroeconomic terms, Europe is bigger than the U.S., but in the U.S. you have the political power….As soon as the situation will become more clear and we have an injection of optimism, the market will grow again. At Lanvin, we are not concerned by the crisis – both men and women show strong results. You have to be very coherent with your product…selective distribution is also helping us”

adapted from WWD