Luxe Pack Monaco show floor, 2012
Luxe Pack Monaco: Packaging for the Senses

As the creative packaging show celebrated its impressive 25th year, one focus was on beauty products as small luxuries, with many packaging components designed for sensory appeal.

Dozens of beauty industry professionals queued on the plaza outside Monaco’s Grimaldi Forum on October 24, for the opening of the three-day event marking Luxe Pack’s 25th year as the showcase for premium packaging. The fact that the waiting visitors—from countries ranging from France to the U.S., Russia, China, South America and beyond—enjoyed the warm, sunny morning at the entrance adjacent to the turquoise blue Mediterranean Sea was a bonus and, as always, set the mood for several upbeat days of packaging discovery.

Inside, show-goers looking for the latest cosmetic, personal care and fragrance packaging innovations had access to a record 370 exhibitors (up from 340 in the prior year) in airy halls adorned with eye-popping flower arrangements of huge floppy-head blue hydrangeas, birds of paradise and large bunches of brilliantly colored roses, a signature of the upscale show.

In total, 50 new exhibitors joined the Luxe Pack roster this year. Over the three days, the event drew 7,022 visitors, a 10.5% increase over last year’s numbers. More than half (52%) of the international crowd traveled from 68 countries outside of France, and represented all continents.

Nathalie Grosdidier, executive director of Luxe Pack, told Beauty Packaging that one reason for the show’s popularity is that “nearly 70% of exhibitors wait for the Monaco show to launch new products.”With growth from 35 exhibitors 25 years ago, to today’s total, Grosdidier says Luxe Pack has always been about sharing innovation among various luxury categories. In line with the crossover, Grosdidier pointed to new exhibitors with new capabilities, such as porcelain manufacturer Limoges, which was presenting options for candles and bottles, and PVL Beauté, which had incorporated automotive and multimedia technology into decorative techniques for containers.

This market is so innovation-driven,” said Grosdidier. “It’s really important to add new know-how to decorative processes and materials.”

A quarter century after its launch, 10 of Luxe Pack Monaco’s original 35 exhibitors remain the same. But the industry, itself, has transitioned. What has been the most notable change? Without hesitation, Grosdidier says it’s been in an overall perspective: from a limited corporate vision to one of sustainability and innovation—and above all, the fact that there is now a global network in place.

Gift-like boxes at Kurz
Luxe in Demand

At an event that highlights the luxury beauty sector, both suppliers and attendees were buoyed by all the statistics of late indicating that premium goods are in more demand than ever, in many cases, showing much better results than products in the mass market. One contributor to the rising demand for luxury items centers on consumers’ penchant for treating themselves to something special, even in uncertain economic times—thus the notion of small gifts or luxuries. And at Luxe Pack Monaco, this trend was evident not only in the array of products displayed, but in the actual packaging.

If the purchase is viewed as a small gift, why not treat it as one—literally gift-wrapped to perfection, and appealing strongly to the senses? As Beauty Packaging’s publisher, Jay Gorga, and I made the rounds on the multi-level show floor, we noted many suppliers and brands following this trend, with gift packs and cartons, jars and fragrance bottles adorned with ribbons, bows and decorative papers, engraved plaques, charms, Swarovski gems, Murano glass and other indulgent elements. Textures were designed to lure consumers with innovations such as etched patterns on glass and flocked effects on metal canisters. The color pink popped as a feminine touch on packaging materials and in fragrance juice and cosmetic and personal care formulations. In an uptick of efforts to appeal to the visual, olfactory and tactile senses, even technology for the diffusion of perfume sprays made a prestige fragrance feel more like a sensual experience.

Carried Away: Papers and Bags

Almond shells are one contributor to textural paper from Favini.
We couldn’t help but notice the multitudes of visually striking ranges of papers shown—paper for cartons, for shopping bags, tissue, labels and more.

James Cropper, papermakers since 1845, caught our eye with its display that simulated a slice of a tree, displaying 169 different shades of paper, one for each year that the company has been in business. They offer their customers a variety of options from smooth eco-friendly papers to ones with tactile, embossed patterns.

Across the aisle, at stamping foil manufacturer Kurz, elaborate papers and printing techniques guaranteed that product cartons—many with multiple layers of foils, printing, relief embossing and hot stamping—resembled luxury gift boxes that were literally works of art. Of particular note was the second edition of its “Presentation” art box, with six individual boxes representing various epochs, including Art Nouveau and Flower Power periods.

Later in the day, we visited Favini, an Italian paper manufacturer, which, we learned the next day, had been awarded the Luxe Pack in Green Award for its Crush line of papers developed specifically for the packaging industry. Favini claims it is “the first and only range of ecological paper made with by-products from organic produce, replacing as much as 15% of traditional wood pulp.” Corn, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, olives, almonds, hazelnuts and coffee beans are all used as ingredients—and are all from organic products that would normally be processed as fillers in animal food and fertilizers or simply dumped in landfill. The paper is FSC certified, made with 100% green energy (the electricity is generated in Favini’s own hydroelectric plant) and contains 30% post-consumer recycled fiber. Various applications include shopping bags, labels and packaging. Elements of each material are visible on the surface of the paper, adding a distinct texture and appearance.

Tullis Russell’s Trucard Bright White board was developed following demand from brands looking for a ”superior level of whiteness” in coated board.
For luxury brands that favor bright white over natural dyes, employee-owned, Scotland-based Tullis Russell stood out in Hall Verrier with its impressive range of SBS carton board, this year introducing Trucard Bright White. Marketing director Malcolm Sinclair told Beauty Packaging that the board was developed following demand from brands looking for a “superior level of whiteness” in coated board. Trucard Bright White not only matches Trucard print performance and environmental attributes, but also offers a new brighter white shade that produces more vibrant color imagery. The entire Trucard range, both coated and uncoated, is FSC certified, with many 50% post consumer options available. Cartons on display highlighted products from luxury brands including Swarovski, Thierry Mugler and Lancôme.

PAK 2000 exemplified the detail paid to shopping bags, especially in Europe, where the bag is often as prized as the product it carries. Molly Sutter, vice president sales of Europe and business development, explained that each region is different as far as shopping bags. Eric Blanche, vice president of business development-Europe, showed Beauty Packaging a number of creative options. One interesting bag was more like a paper pouch, and surprisingly, included a metal zipper. The eco-friendly Kraft paper offers a nice texture and can be accented with various decorative techniques. A fabric shopping bag duplexed with paper provides a very luxe look and feel, and includes ribbon handles for a feminine finishing touch. Self-gluing boxes and flat boxes that pop up for gifting take up less space for shipping and storage under retail counters.

Fragrance Appeal Beyond Scent

Prestige fragrance has done extremely well in the past year and the continuing trend was obvious at Luxe Pack Monaco. With perfume topping the charts as consumers’ leading “small luxury” purchase, suppliers have worked with brands to engineer sculptural bottles and caps, creative dispensers and dip tubes, and a plethora of show-stopping decorative techniques.

At Bormioli Luigi, Olga Bursac, vice president sales, told Beauty Packaging that they’d had a record year that included lots more men’s fragrances also coming to market. On display were many of their 2012 launches in glass, including Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire, Thierry Mugler’s Alien-Essence Absolue, Ferragamo’s Signorina, Stella McCartney’s L.I.L.Y., Ferrari’s Red Power and Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb—all undeniably small luxuries—all fragrances “wrapped” as gifts anyone would be thrilled to receive.

C+N’s Chris Young echoed Bursac’s optimistic view of the fragrance industry, saying, “2012 was a good year for new projects, and it seems like it should have long-term benefits.” He also said, “There’s been renewed interest in class packaging,” and “everyone’s looking to innovate.”

Prominent at C+N’s stand was the new sculptural fragrance bottle for Donna Karan Woman, designed by Zaha Hadid (see more on this bottle in the article on Innovative Packaging in this issue). The cap, which was produced by C+N, was described as “taking Surlyn to a new level.” Another C+N package that caught our eye was indicative of the rising trend in developing products for specific markets. Wood Mystique, launched exclusively for the Middle Eastern market, features a gold metallized bottle and a Surlyn closure with a metallic top plate and a metal inner; the cap was manufactured in C+N’s facility in Poland.

Coverpla featured a number of beautiful stock options in glass. Fjord, a prismatic design with elongated facets will be available by the end of the year. Bottles and caps are designed for easy mixing and matching, and numerous decorating options are available.

Dekorglass, from Poland, took glass bottle design decoration to another dimension, literally, with a number of 3D effects. Intricate laser etching in paisley designs and inkjet printing that gave the appearance of bottles that resembled Murano paperweights were highlights. Aneta Felinska, sales specialist, explained that inkjet printing gives them the capability to decorate any surface. “We can print images, all colors, in one pass—and can do it on glass and plastic, bottles and caps.” They also do acid etching, hot stamping, and even silkscreen printing using precious metals.

Another upbeat note at Luxe Pack Monaco was the talk of the return to beauty growth in travel retail. Glass manufacturer/decorator SGD played on this trend with an interesting theme at their booth, called “think global, act local.” Working with three partners—Givaudan, Rexam and Iléos —SGD created four travel-sized fragrance bottles, which featured popular global destinations to highlight the company’s decorating capabilities in each of the regions. The decoration technique used on each of the bottles is available in the country represented. And of course—all techniques are available for all sizes of bottles.

For instance, the bottle for China achieves a beautiful celadon ceramic effect through a combination of lacquers. The monogram, which was drawn in multi-pass screenprinting, gives the bottle a subtle sensory reflection of the perfume. The crackled effect, very popular on nails, allows for multiple finishings, including frost, leather and ceramic.

Skincare Keeps Generating

Skincare, too, continues on its upward trend, with the containers and dispensers playing an ever more important role as they effectively and efficiently protect and release increasingly sensitive and high-tech formulations.

Fusion Packaging, specialists in airless packaging options, was showcasing its T-Lock line, available in 30- and 50ml. The uplocking design, with no overcap, means there’s one less part to manufacture—and one less part to lose. And the lock makes it travel-friendly, too. Derek Harvey, co-CEO Fusion Packaging, also showed Beauty Packaging Fusion’s stock line of airless bottles, which goes from 5- to 150ml in the same profile, allowing brands to maintain a continuous look across an entire product line.

Hoffman-Neopac, in cooperation with HCT Packaging, featured the popular Polaris package for premium skincare. Polyfoil tubes protect complicated formulations while aesthetically pleasing tips provide luxurious application. Tubes and closures can be manufactured and combined in a number of ways. Monica Ruegg told Beauty Packaging: “The investment in the tool is not so high, so the customer can have a more customized tube.”

FACA offered a number of new shapes and new colors of caps and jars for its core skincare business. Heavy wall jars in beautiful designs are available in a variety of resins including acrylics, Surlyn and PETG. The 40-year-old premium packaging company is family owned and operates its own tooling department.

Applications Accepted

While Luxe Pack Monaco celebrated its 25th anniversary, Cosmogen celebrated its 30th year as a leading supplier of applicators for makeup and facial care. They were exhibiting a wide variety of tubes with applicators, including the ever-expanding Squeeze’n range, as well as a large assortment of brushes. Denis Richard-Orliange told Beauty Packaging that their big focus is currently on brushes. They are working on new innovations—new fibers, new shapes—and are extending brushes into skincare.

Albéa can always be counted on for displaying new technologies. At this year’s show, the company’s custom fiber and plastic mascara brushes caught our eye (no pun intended). Marjorie Vincenti explained the geometry of the custom fiber brushes, and how the extra cuts and twists of the bristles were designed to add curl and volume; manufacturing flexibility allows brands to develop their own custom shapes. Albéa’s new line of DaVinci injected plastic mascara brushes, available in three hollow shape models—Corset, Venice and Dolce Vita—all have their own unique lash-building designs and functions.

Rolling Along

Rolling Optics, based in Stockholm, Sweden, drew attention with its 3D printing effects used for decoration and anti-counterfeiting purposes. Bjorn Norberg, area sales director, explained how they can customize optical effects in plastic materials. He called the technology “a new generation of holography for a new generation of packaging.” Sheets are printed and can be shipped worldwide. Initially, Norberg says they were targeting the mass market, but are “finding traction in the high end.”

(L-R): Dominic Burke, Barbara LePortz, Marc Rosen, Joanna Norman Paul McLaughlin
Packaging with ‘Curb Appeal’

Marc Rosen’s presentation at Luxe Pack Monaco—entitled, Curb Appeal: Creating Products/Packaging That Are Eye-Catching for Impulse Purchasing, Online—featured a panel of industry experts from around the world, each with insight on creating products and packaging that will visually “speak” to the consumer online.

Once again, the panel drew a standing room only international crowd, always eager to hear Rosen’s U.S. perspective and the views of the panelists he carefully selects.

Dominic Burke, creative director, Webb DeVlam, London, suggested that brands use semiotics to convey feelings, such as the successful approach put forth by Marc Jacobs Daisy, with images of fresh flowers in a meadow, and the daisy signifying womanhood.

Barbara LePortz, CEO, Fragrance Intelligence, said that in the instance of the web, when the fragrance can’t be smelled, it becomes critical to go from a push strategy to interactive communication, in which the consumer pays a growing role. She noted three packaging trends that have emerged to win online customers: graphic and minimalist; colorful; and packaging that tells a story.

Joanna Norman, founding director, Pandora Ltd., said that brands must create “must haves” to win consumers’ impulse purchases. The products must be “cool” she says and must create the right impression right down to how they’re wrapped when they arrive in the mail. Two successful packages she cited were the fist for Diesel’s Only the Brave and the gold bar for Paco Rabanne’s 1 Million.

With huge success in online sales with brands including Taylor Swift and Britney Spears, Paul McLaughlin, vice president of creative, Elizabeth Arden, reiterated that packaging is key to the DNA of the brand. “If you don’t have the right packaging, you’re down for the count,” he told the packed audience. Arden has been at the forefront of creating buzz—and sales—by using celebrities’ Facebook and Twitter followers to promote sales. McLaughlin stressed the importance of remaining true to the brand, and said that the adventure of merging retail and magazine advertising with the Internet and all of its applications “represents an exciting time for packaging within this new arena.”

All panelists agreed that the key to online purchasing is having brand fans become brand advocates.

The Emotion of Luxury

Jamie Matusow and Mark Rosen
One highlight of my trip to Luxe Pack Monaco is my tour of the show floor with internationally renowned packaging designer Marc Rosen. He and I have a tradition of visiting exhibitors at both the New York and Monaco editions, and find that the suppliers have come to enjoy it as much as we do.This year, both Marc and I were immediately struck with the amount of packaging that targeted consumers’ emotions by appealing to the senses, so we focused on this theme as we made our way through Grimaldi’s halls.

Rosen told me that a designer has to incorporate emotion, luxury and ergonomics at every step for a satisfactory consumer experience.

“The creator is trying to put emotion into every aspect of the product and its packaging,” he said. “The process starts with its shelf appeal, what it looks like. Then the consumer takes the cap off and has close contact with the feel of the product or applicator. Then the final payoff is when it’s applied to your skin—the way it spreads, the way the cream feels, that there’s no residue, etc.”

When it comes to fragrance, the spray itself can elicit a range of emotions. Rosen and I were both intrigued with the introduction of different fragrance sprays available at MWV. New to the Melodie Spray fragrance pump collection, Melodie Agile and Melodie Forever offer luxury brand owners the ability to elevate the consumer experience through the spray. Melodie Agile distributes a fine and powerful spray with gentle actuation and a whispery sound, while Melodie Forever adds a more sensual fragrance experience by providing a long, uniform spray of fine particles for coverage with a fine, weightless feel.

MWV’s Melodie Spray fragrance pump collection offers luxury brand owners the ability to elevate the consumer experience through the spray.
MWV’s fragrance marketing director, Sandy Gregory, explained that the technology adds to the act of perfuming oneself—the actual spraying becomes a ritual. “The cloud envelops you,” she said. “It captures the emotion and raises brand perception.” She added: “If it’s a small luxury, have the full luxury experience of the spray at the critical point.” The spray can also be linked to gender, with a big spray (light, fresh) versus a focused (heavier, concentrated) spray.

During our rounds on the show floor, Rosen and I ran into George Kress, vice president corporate packaging innovations at The Estée Lauder Companies. We asked him what his thoughts were concerning tactile effects and luxury packaging. He told us that, alone, tactile effects do not suffice. “Luxury packaging has to communicate not only visual/aesthetics and tactile characteristics, but the functionality has to be flawless and intuitive. “Some things look pretty, but can’t open,” he noted.

Metal canisters gain warmth thanks to flocking and other decorative effects.
A collection of attractive, multi-dimensional packages at Storaenso featured mockups created by design students from throughout Europe. One of their projects had replaced plastic tubes with board construction using a PE coating inside for protection.

Paperboard compacts at Toly were engineered to draw emotional responses from consumers, as patterns can be easily changed to highlight seasons or holidays.

Even metal canisters, which are ordinarily cool to the touch, took on warmth thanks to flocking effects that are applied on top. At Groupe Massilly, Hervé de Rivoire showed us how the company can also add textural appeal by applying lace, glitter and cork materials to the tins.

Denis Richard-Orliange (L) and Raoul Chaves, Cosmogen

(L-R): Ireneusz Sliwa and Maria Swiatek (C+N Polska); and Brooks Markert (C+N Packaging)

Olga Bursac and Corrado Lusetti,
Bormioli Luigi

Michael Cafiero (L) and Derek Harvey, Fusion Packaging

(L-R): Nathalie Grosdidier, Elaine Hamnett, Annik Klein, Christophe Czajka, KX Associates

Yann Canicio and
Molly Sutter, Pak 2000

Sheherazade Chamlou and Peter Acerra, SGD North America

(L-R): Derek Guthrie, Leanne Ross, Malcolm Sinclair, Tullis Russell

Charles Chang and Sandra Hutson, Topline Products, with Beauty Packaging’s Jamie Matusow (center)

Linda Di Maio and Anthony Di Maio, Cameo Metal Products

Lucie Ray-Lalanne and Charles de Forges, Pochet du Courval