Luxe Pack New York Highlights Prestige Trends

An increase in attendees proved fruitful for revitalized exhibitors showcasing options from stock packaging to sustainable components.

General sentiment expressed at the 8th annual edition of Luxe Pack New York, which took place May 19-20, was that the beauty packaging industry had turned a corner, and was headed for better days in the year ahead. “This upturn is real, some exhibitors enthused—not just temporary restocking.” Other suppliers told Beauty Packaging, “There are new product launches, amid cautious optimism.”

The annual luxury packaging trade event featured 115 exhibitors, filling both The Metropolitan Pavilion and The Altman Building on West 18th Street in Manhattan, and relocating the show’s popular education sessions to the lower level of The Altman Building. The number of visitors reached 2,135, up 1.2% compared to last year. Once again, exhibitors expressed their satisfaction with the buying power of those in attendance.

Seminars held during the two days included a trends presentation by NellyRodi Paris; a talk on materials innovations by Dr. Andrew Dent of Material ConneXion; a panel presentation on designing for today’s consumers, developed by designer Marc Rosen; and a panel on the future of Sustainable Packaging presented by Beauty Packaging magazine, which featured John Delfausse of Estée Lauder, Silvia Springolo of Grail Research and Sandra Krasovec of FIT.

Other attractions at Luxe Pack New York included a new display called “Luxe Pack in Green,” which spotlighted sustainable products from exhibitors. In addition, the FiFi nominees were on view, as well as student designs from Marc Rosen’s graduate packaging design program at Pratt Institute.

According to Luxe Pack New York’s executive director Nathalie Grosdidier, “Exhibitors reported great satisfaction with the show, especially the high-caliber attendees.Combined with a completely sold-out exhibition floor, as well as standing-room-only seminars, we believe Luxe Pack New York 2010 was a great success,” she commented.

Overriding Trends

While Luxe Pack exhibitors showcased a wide variety of packaging options, three trends dominated: stock packaging, airless dispensing and sustainability. What’s more, offerings that combined these trends made for even more attractive possibilities.

Custom molds and elaborate decorative effects continue to lure beauty brands, but the many advantages of stock packaging have proved as desirable to the prestige packaging community as to the mass market. With no tooling costs and the benefits of speed to market, stock options hold more appeal than ever.

Getting Educated

Luxe Pack attendees, in addition to visiting with exhibitors, were also afforded the opportunity to sit in on a number of seminars that took place on the lower level of The Altman Building. The topics ran the gamut, and included sessions on new products and packaging technologies, design trends, the recession, and of course, environmental sustainability.

The Art of Reduction

Alcan Packaging Beauty kicked off the Luxe Pack New York seminar series with a presentation on its environmental sustainability initiatives called “The Art of Reduction.” Olivier De-Saignes, marketing director, and Doug Jackson, market manager, described new products the company is introducing, as well as its eco-friendly approach to beauty packaging.

In discussing Alcan’s “Eco-Conception,” De-Saignes described a three levers and one pillar approach: Reduce, Recycle and Replace, and what he called Alcan’s strength–Measure. He said that five years of internal expertise led to the development of ASSET (Alcan Sustainability Stewardship Evaluation Tool), a tool used to measure environmental impact.


Vincent Gregoire, lifestyle director for NellyRodi Paris, a color trend agency, presented a series of videos and discussed the color and design trends on the horizon for the summer of 2011. “Sharing” was the theme of the Luxe Pack presentation, as fighting and competing is diminishing, giving rise to “a new blood, a new energy,” which is marked by shared experiences, he said.

Among the materials trends to look for, Gregoire added, are precious stones, items that look handmade, silkiness as opposed to shininess, and tone on tone. “Look for halos of light, pastel and acidic colors, yellows, greens and pinks in rhythmic graphics, squares, dots and shapes. And when it comes to makeup,” Gregoire noted, “look for non-pretentious, pearly textures.”

Designing for the New Reality

“Consumers are setting a new standard. No longer are they trying to keep up with the Kardashians, but they are just trying to keep their heads above water,” said designer Marc

Rosen, as he introduced panelists to discuss the seminar topic “Designing for the New Reality–The Sobering Effects of the Recession.” Weighing in on the subject were panelists Ruth Sutcliffe, senior marketing director and fragrance designer, Coty LLC; Debra Leipman, president, Arcade Marketing; Mathew Frost, director global fine fragrance, International Flavors and Fragrance (IFF) and Bettina O’Neill, VP of cosmetics and fragrances at Barneys New York.

Sutcliffe urged brands to make certain adjustments in light of today’s economic uncertainty. “Continue being creative,” she stressed. “Innovate. We need to shift our thinking and add excitement by taking chances.”

Leipman discussed consumer behavior, and emphasized the changes it has undergone–due in part to the recession. She said while consumer behavior used to be basic and predictable, “Now, it is so much more complex. It’s gone from ‘I’ll buy the latest’ to ‘I’ll try the latest,’ ” she said, adding that, “brand experience is the new packaging.”

A Perfect Storm

Concluding Day One’s seminars was Beauty Packaging’s panel of experts that included John Delfaussse, vice president global package development and chief environmental officer, Estée Lauder corporate packaging. The topic was “Sustainable Packaging: Gearing Up for a Perfect Storm in the Beauty Industry.” Joining Delfausse was Sandra Krasovec, an associate professor at FIT, and Sylvia Springolo of Grail Research.

The phrase “A Dot on the Head of a Pin,” served as the theme of Delfausse’s presentation. He said that it’s Estée Lauder’s belief that packaging “must be beneficial, safe and healthy–throughout its total lifecycle,” adding that “with innovation in eco-friendly materials and ideas, beauty brands can have it all. The vision,” he said, is “cradle to cradle–if you make it right, you can have it all and still be good for the environment.”

“Green is now mainstream,” Springolo emphasized. “And even with the economy being down, people haven’t changed their green behavior.” However, she added, “Most consumers are not aware of a company’s green initiatives. There’s really an issue with commitment. Putting a sustainability report on a website is not enough anymore.”

More with Less

The second day of Luxe Pack’s seminars began with “Trends in Material Innovation and Sustainability for Luxury Packaging,” presented by Andrew Dent, of Materials ConneXion. The discussion often focused on sustainability, and Dent was quick to point out that the term has become, in his opinion, somewhat overused. To him, sustainability is “our attempt to reduce our environmental impact.”

“We need to do more with less,” Dent said, referring to the drive for greater versatility with simpler, more flexible solutions. One of the keys, he said, is to go outside one’s comfort zone in order to find what he calls the “Unknown Unknowns.”

Shanghai Hipsters

Fflur Roberts, industry manager for Euromonitor, focused on markets outside of North America during her seminar titled “A Global Overview for the Luxury Goods Market and the Role of Packaging.” She examined key trends and drivers, and examined specific regions around the globe where luxury is thriving, despite the recession.

“Luxury in China is booming!” declared Roberts, noting that there’s now a new breed of Asian luxury consumers, which she referred to as the “Shanghai Hipsters.” In Asia, she said, the “ecolux” trend is thriving there and elsewhere. “Emerging markets are growing, so this is where brands are going,” she added.

World Luxury Tracking

Catherine Jubin, managing director for the International Luxury Business Association, largely based her presentation on the results of the company’s World Luxury Tracking survey. She presented a broad picture on how Americans versus other parts of the world view luxury, which segments and brands they attach to luxury, and how the crisis has affected values, attitudes and luxury consumption.

Jubin said the recession’s impact on luxury is “very strong.” She pointed out that while personal values of consumers only changed slightly, Americans, in particular, are now more geared toward saving money than Europeans. She also said that higher income families have been the most affected in terms of luxury consumption, adding that, “Americans are taking a more pragmatic approach toward luxury purchasing than the rest of the global population.”
Colt’s Plastics’ Paul Cambio told Beauty Packaging there’s a trend toward luxury products moving to glass replacements, forgoing high tooling costs and long lead times.

At Global Packaging, Steven Gallo explained that the company, which has been active on the West Coast, now serves East Coast brands as well. While Global features a large variety of stock molds, it can also deliver custom packaging. Airless tubes and jars are new to Gallo’s stock line this year, as it continues to accommodate customers’ requests for packaging that prevents product contamination and releases every drop. Jars are available from 5- to 150gm (jumbo jars), and are available in single- or double-wall structures, and in a wide variety of colors and finishes.

ABA’s Mike Warford explained that while ABA is known for its glass, plastic, caps and more, its recent partnership with OEKAbeauty enables them to provide a wide variety of packaging for color cosmetics as well. ABA is now the North American source for OEKAbeauty lines of stock and custom lipstick cases, mascara, lipgloss, and eyeliner packages along with a huge variety of matching brushes and applicators. ABA can accommodate stock requests as well as custom orders—or can work to customize stock components.

Cospack America also filled the bill on a variety of fronts—stock, airless and sustainability—offering several lines of bottles and jars made with premium-grade, post-consumer HDPE resin, including its popular Pure Touch Series. David Hou showed Beauty Packaging the company’s Oasis Jar, especially designed for bath and body products. A series of heavy-walled jars made from shatter-resistant PETG, it’s available in stock in clear or frosted finish with fill sizes of 120-, 180-, 240- and 360ml. Laguna is Cospack’s new airless line. Hou also pointed out the company’s large array of metal caps, noting, “Metal caps are on the rise because they pair up well with a cheaper jar for a more luxe look.”

New High Glass chose the Luxe Pack New York venue to introduce its new line of airless packaging. Available in 50-, 100- and 150ml, the packaging features unique styling and clear dust caps, explained marketing director Len Loeffler.

News of another airless launch—aimed at protection and precise dosage—filled the area surrounding Rexam’s booth, where the new Nea Airless range was making its debut as a lotion dispenser solution for high-performance protection of skin care formulations. Built upon the success of the neutral Nea atmospheric engine, the Nea Airless combines formula preservation, design flexibility, production efficiency, on-shelf appeal, smooth actuation—and value, according to Eric Soubieran, director of marketing and innovation, Rexam Personal Care. Designed without elastomers, the Nea is fitted with a glass ball and a spring placed outside the closing chamber, which ensures metal-free formula flow, complete neutrality and protection against formula discoloration and incompatibility. The pump is engineered for smooth actuation, precise dosage and high suction force to handle even viscous and sensitive products. It’s available in 30-, 50- and, soon, 15ml versions, and two designs—large, lockable actuator, with- or without cap.

Dispensing systems were also big news at MWV, where spirits among booth personnel soared thanks to a recent patent approval that had long been awaited.

MWV’s fragrance marketing director, Sandy Gregory, confirmed that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had approved its patent application for a fragrance dispensing system using MWV’s NoC dip tube (patent number 7,718,132). According to MWV, the NoC is the world’s first dip tube that appears virtually invisible, thanks to the inventive use of light-refracting technology.

“MWV’s research has proven that consumers identify a fragrance’s packaging as the main reason for trying a scent, so brands looking to further their market share must take advantage of striking, visual packaging innovations—such as NoC—to better stand out in today’s competitive fragrance marketplace,” said Gregory. “The patent application approval in the United States is a critical victory for MWV because it validates our efforts to produce significant innovations for our fragrance and cosmetics customers.”

The patented fragrance dispensing system allows the decoration and design features of the perfume bottles to take center stage in the consumer’s eye. In addition to the clear aesthetic value that this fragrance dispensing system brings to luxury brands, the technology also helps to identify and prevent counterfeit fragrances in the marketplace.

Aptar also made fragrance packaging news with its introduction of its Eternelle perfume atomizer. The patented innovation allows for locking the bottle with a simple quarter turn, and is guaranteed to be leak-proof. Eternelle is also designed to allow manufacturers to mount the bulb directly onto the perfume bottle on the production line.

Decorative Details

Kaufman, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, highlighted its decorating capabilities, which include screen-printing glass, plastic and metal containers, as well as hot stamping. Rebecca Holland, marketing coordinator, reported that traffic at Luxe Pack had been busy.

Kaufman Container has recently added roll stamping and a steam tunnel for shrink labeling to its decorating options. Also on display were examples of ACL glass printing; shrink- and pressure-sensitive labeling.

Show Floor Rounds

On my semi-annual Luxe Pack show floor walk with internationally renowned packaging designer, Marc Rosen, we noticed that there were a number of new exhibitors in addition to many of the “regulars.” Grosdidier of Luxe Pack later told me “the mix struck a nice balance between industry leaders and smaller companies bringing a certain know-how.” And whatever the economy, she added, “It has not stopped anyone from innovating.”

With his passion for fragrance package design, Rosen always shows his keen eye for beautiful glass. We surveyed the offerings at Pavisa, a Mexican glass manufacturer, which, Rosen noted, has the capabilities of doing high-quality glass. “Pavisa shows you can do high-quality in Mexico,” said Rosen.

At Pochet of America, Inc., Rosen commented on several of the glass flacons, including Mariah Carey Forever, which “is not a basic bottle,” and asked general manager Pierre-Jean Hellivan if brands are willing to pay more for luxury packaging. Hellivan replied, “Yes, there’s a definite trend toward [making products stand out] by accessorizing bottles through fancy caps, laces, ribbons and the like.” He added that many companies are now placing more emphasis on the packaging than on the juice. “Much bigger budgets are being allowed for the packaging,” Hellivan said.

Prescient Predictions

The next stop on my Luxe Pack New York tour with Rosen was the extensive glass showcase featuring all the impressive nominees for 2010 FiFi awards, which would be announced in a few weeks (for results, please see p. 42 of this issue). When I asked Rosen, the past recipient of seven FiFis, himself, for his thoughts on this year’s contenders for Best Packaging, he quickly pointed out his faves. Was he showing his prescient abilities when he focused on La Prairie’s Life Threads Collection? “This is so chic,” he commented. “The theme is so consistent; the name is intellectual, emotional and thought-provoking—this is what our industry should be about.”

Rosen also admired the genuine raffia encasing the bottle of John Varvatos Artisan. Rosen’s thoughts obviously mirrored those of the voters, for these two fragrance packages were subsequently selected as Fragrance Packaging of the Year in the Fifi Prestige category. Rosen also liked A Scent by Issey Miyake’s less is more packaging sentiment, which he said, “extols the image of the designer.” On another note, Rosen lauded the fragrances that showed dramatic packaging accompanied by a sense of humor: Marc Jacobs Lola, Viktor & Rolf Eau Mega and Juicy Couture’s Couture Couture. “This is a key way to attract consumers,” he noted.