Hedi Slimane, fashion’s enfant terrible and the creative director of Celine is nothing if not an astute merchandiser. Appointed by LVMH honcho Bernard Arnault to grow the French label into a global moneymaker, Slimane’s latest salvo is the opening of Celine’s first standalone fragrance boutique in Paris, featuring 11 perfumes he conceptualised.
Celine is the latest among the luxury marques to break into the beauty market in a bid to offer customers affordable luxury options. In 2016, Bottega Veneta and Louis Vuitton sparked a trend when they released a suite of scents. More recently, Ermenegildo Zegna launched a wardrobe of five fragrances.
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Brands like Chanel and Dior, which have traditionally boasted strong beauty collections, continue to shore up their offerings too. The year-old Atelier Beaute Chanel in Soho, New York, is a millennial-friendly experiential space where customers are encouraged to experiment with the products, take mini-grooming workshops and snap photos for the ‘Gram without feeling pressured to make a purchase.
With a gloomy outlook for the global economy next year, beauty must seem doubly appealing to labels looking to boost their bottom lines. According to Deloitte’s Global Powers of Luxury Goods report, the cosmetics and fragrances sector recorded the fastest growth of 16.1 per cent in 2019.
After all, as the Lipstick Index – the phenomenon of small luxuries recording a surge in sales during tough times – suggests, consumers rarely give up on splurging entirely. Instead, they merely shift, buying smaller items intead of making big-ticket purchases.