The third annual Condé Nast International Luxury Conference opened today in Muscat, Oman, examining the thought-provoking concept of Mindful Luxury. Curated and hosted by Suzy Menkes, International Vogue Editor, the event Co-Lead Partners are Place Vendôme Qatar and Oman Air, the Host Sponsor is Omran and Destination Sponsor is the Ministry of Tourism.
Oman has a deep connection to luxury and trade, having been involved in the luxury goods industry for more than 1000 years with its roots in the trading of frankincense, otherwise known as olibanum. Today, at the heart of the new silk route being mapped, His Excellency Sayyid Badr Bin Hamad Albusaidi, Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sultanate of Oman, spoke of the noble goal of connecting cultures, bringing people together through trade and cultural exchange. His Excellency spoke of an open trading nation, acknowledging its openness to trade has helped reinforce culture tolerance, mutual respect, authentic hospitality and friendship, fed by a thirst for connecting continents and cultures.
Elie Saab highlighted the changing global world, making it easier for the younger generation to succeed today with the assistance of social media and technology. “Every talent can find his place if he has the right product,” going on to say “couture is having a renaissance – I believe women always like to be unique when she has an very important occasion and especially now, when we have a big demand from young people for haute couture, another level of luxury”.
Futurist Sophie Hackford discussed mindfulness in the digital universe, painted a vision of a future through the virtual reality lens, predicting a time when emotions will inevitably be an increasingly important part of the digital world, warning we need to be “mindful as to what we’re moving into and not sleepwalk into the future”. Economist Dr Philippa Malmgren, author of Interpreting Signals, suggested three bold tenets; Mexico will be the ‘next China’, inflation will affect us all, and the markets are set to get much stronger, in spite of reports suggesting the opposite.
Alber Elbaz spoke of his collaboration with perfumier Frédéric Malle to turn a fashion vision into a fragrance, revealing he wanted a perfume “that smells of a dress,” and that the creation of the scent came about so Elbaz had a gift to give on receipt of his Legion d’honneur recently. Elbaz commented “Perfume is about love, memories, loving and being loved,” and he enjoyed the simplicity of the process of creating it, wondering if “small can be the new big.” Elbaz also commented on Oman, saying “Everything inspires us, every word, every story, everything that we are going through is a source of inspiration. Oman gives me the time to reflect, to love, to be.”
Guram Gvasalia, CEO of Vetements, discussed their place “outside the Establishment” together with their strategy of luxury through scarcity. Gvasalia also revealed that his “biggest dream and goal since being young was to become CEO of Chanel”, noting that the reason Chanel is so strong today is because of Karl Lagerfeld, a consistent presence delivering a concentrated vision over a significant period of time.
Giambattista Valli created a highly personal film exclusively for the Conference, allowing delegates the opportunity to see inside his creative mind, taking influences from Italian film, French culture and modern art.
Rhea Saran, Editor of Condé Nast Traveller Middle East, explored the balance of the luxury industry as it moves from material to immaterial, the move from product to experience, and how we can adapt to the changing consumer needs, as they no longer simply want to be sold something but want to be a part of it.
Other speakers today included; Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, Editor-in-Chief, Vogue Arabia; Ingie Chalhoub, President and Managing Director, Etoile Group/Ingie Paris; Alessandro Sartori, Artistic Director, Ermenegildo Zegna; Roberto Vedovotto, Chief Executive Officer, Member of Kering Executive Committee; Bandana Tewari, Fashion Features Director, Vogue India; Goga Ashkenazi, Chairwoman and Creative Director, Vionnet; Cem Boyner, Chairman and CEO, Boyner Holdings; Amal Al Raisi, Founder and Creative Director, Amal Al Raisi; Manish Arora, Designer; Angelica Cheung, Editor-in-Chief, Vogue China; David Crickmore, CEO, Amouage; Sybilla, Founder, Sybilla; and Stefan Siegel, Founder & CEO, Not Just A Label.
The Co-Lead Partners of the 2017 Conference are Place Vendome Qatar and Oman Air; Host Sponsor is Omran; Destination Sponsor is Ministry of Tourism; and the Car Sponsor is Genesis. Bank Muscat; Chaloub Group; Facebook; IMG; InDigital; Intesa San Paolo; Khimji’s Watches; McArthur Glen; Muscat Bay; Muscat Duty Free; OAMC; Omantel; Opium, Thor Equities 680 Madison; White Communications; Zappos Luxury are Event Sponsors.
The seminar is taking place at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, a five- star resort in Oman, Muscat on 5th and 6th April 2017. Delegates can begin their day with yoga and meditation.
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