6 December- Christian Blanckaert, former CEO of Hermès International, came to SKEMA to talk about some of his areas of expertise with MSc students. His latest book, Luxe Trotter, narrates the stories of his experiences in France and abroad, trotting around the world to discuss and listen to other experts on the luxury industry.
The event began with a talk given by Blanckaert, followed by an extended Q&A with students. After that, participants were invited for refreshments to chat informally with the former Hermès CEO.
His talk emphasised three main components: the luxury paradox, the particularities of the luxury business model and the key markets for the future luxury industry. “It’s easy to talk about superficiality when approaching the luxury market” Blanckaert explained, “but there is something deeper.”
Blanckaert stressed that the pivotal part of a luxury brand is the quality of the offer.
“The key is innovation” he remarked.
When a student asked if it was possible to create a new luxury brand today, Blanckaert responded that in the luxury market, “anything is possible, as long as you create something that attracts the press for innovation.”
He described the paradoxical nature of the luxury market, confirming that despite the economic crisis, many luxury brands today are seeing growth and success in record numbers.
However, he asserted, that unlike other markets it remains difficult to make future market analyses for any luxury brand. “You can’t predict how many ties you can sell to a business man”, he pointed out.
At the end of the discussion, a student asked Blanckaert to describe Hermès. He paused for a moment, and stated, “Hermès is a symbol of non-compromise; it’s not a brand, but a signature. A commitment.”
Written by: Eileen Flynn, MSc Luxury & Fashion Management 2012-13