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The city of Paris has been synonymous with fashion and style but also as the intellectual, artistic and political capital of France. It is the undisputed epicenter of French culture, and possibly the most romantic city in the world. This city of light hosts many of Europe’s most iconic monuments including the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame Cathedral and of course Champs – Elysées. The museums here are known across the globe and showcase hundreds of years of art and history. The famous works of Monet and Van Gogh are seen all over the city and each beautiful creation is just as worthy of a visit as the iconic and massive Louvre.
The term luxury is unavoidably synonymous with the French. France has been notorious for being one of the most artistic countries for many years, and it’s obvious that fashion is not excluded. Some of the biggest names of haute couture in the fashion industry like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton or Jean Paul Gaultier are from the French capital.
While each person’s definition of luxury varies, some of the most significant aspects of luxury have traditionally been exclusivity, rarity and a level above the common. However, now, its changing and luxury consumerism is growing into more democratic, and this erstwhile inaccessible is growing into increasingly available. Items being expensive and rare isn’t much of a priority, and definitely isn’t sufficient to keep the brand growing. This force is actually on for luxury brands to move with the tides, keeping their inherent mystique, while also appealing to the new definitions of wealth and the whole new pool of buyers.
Visiting Paris is a romanticized dream of almost every traveling, and fashion enthusiast. I have been no different. I always wanted to experience the luxurious life and high-spirited society of Paris. I got this chance as my study tour there as a Masters student with MIP Politecnico di Milano. This was a dream come true as we planned to visit some of the most luxurious and elite places of Paris associated with premium class fashion, perfume, and wine productions.
On the designated day, we all gathered at the airport and boarded our flight. We were all too excited to experience the luxurious and aesthetically developed social life of Paris with critical insights in different industries as a part of our study tour. This excitement never faded, and our experience throughout this study tour was beyond our imagination. As we reached Paris, we attended a four-day introductory session and orientation regarding the upcoming plans, programs, cultural observations, etc. This orientation helped us understand the historical significance of how France as a whole and Paris, precisely became the hub of premium fashion, fragrances, and wines.
Our first visit was to the Yves Saint Laurent museum followed by a visit to the Louis Vuitton Maison. A humble welcome and then a deep dive into Yves Saint Laurent’s life and iconic pieces was enlightening and highly informative for so many of us fashion enthusiasts. YSL was that extraordinary and rare powerhouse of which some remain to be – a creator whose work spanned decades and the changing world with them and those who reacted to those changing times with clothes. The pieces he pioneered for women are today, so omnipresent, it feels as if they have existed in their wardrobes all along. She was a woman, his woman – who today wore trousers, cut like a tuxedo, day or night, the belted mac, the safari jacket, the silhouette of the 1940s which at once emancipated and defined glamorous.
The experience was tremendous as it helped us to learn about Haute Couture and the development of premium fashion brands. It helped us understand how the French originators and fashion designers have since quite a while ago made the most eminent and pined for design marks on the planet. Elaborately inventive and actually remarkable, the extraordinary notoriety of the French attire industry can be followed as far back as the seventeenth century, and it is a notoriety that has just kept on fortifying since.
We spent a sunny afternoon at the LV Maison, sipping on some good quality bubbly and interacting with one of their family representatives, and being taken into a sort of gallery of their most iconic different trunks and handbags. What makes LV standout and maintain its relevance even today is its ‘quality.’
I sharply remember this word since it was emphasized so much during that visit by the PR person. It has only been quality from day one, at the core of every single LV product. They don’t focus on marketing, but only creating products which are extraordinary in their design and craftsmanship. Every luggage created by them is individually handmade with utmost care and attention in spite if the company operating at a very large scale today.
Later, upon a brief research, we also learned that for roughly twenty years, LVMH has assumed a significant job in extravagance showcase since its converge with LV; immediately, LVMH is known as the world’s biggest combination of extravagance products under different classes and brands. Crowned as the most valuable luxury brand in the world, LV has a current brand value of $38.8 billion and ranks number 12 on Forbes list of The Most Valuable Luxury Brands 2019.
Its income has developed each year-owing 40 percent of their wages from LV. At the point when the accomplishment of LV is analyzed, it is unmistakably observed that its prosperity does not rely upon hypothesis. The procedures of LV go for making bid to its objective clients and, as a result, it drives the clients’ buying choice. In this way, the present ascent of gainfulness of Louis Vuitton isn’t a happenstance. Or it results from powerful advertising plans.
The French apparently owe their unique chic to King Louis XIV, also known as the ‘Sun King’ whose reign started in 1643. He had an especially rich taste, obvious in the dynamite Palace of Versailles just as in the manner that he dressed. Furthermore, considering the significance of extravagance merchandise to the national economy, Louis brought various aesthetic businesses, including the material exchange, under the control of the regal court, which turned into the overall mediator of style. Moreover, for a considerable length of time to come, the most noteworthy quality texture and materials were to be found in France.
In this manner when the specialty of haute couture prospered in the late nineteenth century, needle workers and tailors had no real option except to set up their premises in France.
Charles Frederick Worth, the Englishman credited with building up a haute couture industry, was the first to open his business on Paris’ Rue de la Paix, with a few other style houses following suit – Paul Poiret and Madeleine Vionnet among them. It was during this visit that I learnt about the modern term of haute couture, and that it originated in the 1860s, which meant for fashion in good taste. The term pret-a-porter was born in the 1960s, reacting against the conventional beliefs of style and garment making activity, fulfilling the demands of pop society and mass media. The most compelling and engaging details that were shown and shared with us was the story of YSL in the form of a 30-minute video and how he took ownership from his mentor Valentino. Seeing his beautiful and untouched work desk, his sketches, books and even his stationery and measuring tape left me awe struck and in so much admiration of him as a designer.
A little while later, Paris had turned into a flourishing style center, while French plans were being reproduced the world over. Of these style houses, seemingly the most well-known was that of Coco Chanel. To state that Chanel changed the design business would be putting it mildly – she totally deconstructed ladies’ apparel as it had been known by killing the girdle, unbelievably excruciating underwear which controlled the chest area into the socially hopeful shape. She rather supported free-flowing plans, the prevalence of which took off amid the 1920s, turning into the look that was to characterize a time – the ‘flapper style’.
The Galleries Lafayette and Printemps represent two of the grandest stores in Paris, if not the world! Even if one does not want to shop, the glamorous window displays, glitzy interiors and beautiful domes are worth a visit. One of the most magnificent experience was the Mystery shopping experience at the Coco Chanel store. Along with being shown the limited edition styles across all their categories, we were specifically told about the “white camellia” brand created by Coco Chanel in 1910 which remains a strong symbol of French luxury. Its also thanks to the expertise of their late Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld, that the brand got a new boom in the market. The experience was tremendous that also helped us understand the way premium customer services are provided by these luxury brands to ensure their consumer retention as well as consumer-based marketing.
Our next agenda was to visit the premium wineries of Paris. Before setting out for this experience, we attended a detailed lecture on wines and spirits distribution at the Neoma Business school. This helped us understand various factors related to the quality of wines, the history of wineries in France, etc. As we got hold of this – conceptually, we planned and visited the champagne, Devavry Maison. This is one of the oldest and most exquisite wineries of France. Here we got the chance of tasting champagne while our guide to the winery described the characteristics of a premium quality wine. He explained that the bubbling in Champagne is a joy trigger directed by the mind. Before the wine is even tasted, the eye is transfixed by the spiraling climb of the bubbles to the outside of the glass, complete with a great many modest blasts that discharge the fragrance and guarantee of the preference for the glass. At that point, as they burst on the tongue, the taste buds send the upbeat sign to the cerebrum. The entire experience of champagne can without much of a stretch be ruined by the wrong decision of glass as the state of the glass legitimately influences the ascent and dispersal of the bubbles in the champagne just as the arrival of fragrance and flavor.
We also learned that a tall tulip molded glass is the most favored shape for improving the champagne tasting knowledge. This shape is sufficiently wide at the base to open up the wine and uncover the flavor, sufficiently tight close to the top to think the flavors to the nose and tall enough to enable the bubbles to rise. The glass needs to likewise be fine quality, clear glass to enable the consumer to completely value the spiraling climb of the bubbles and show the mousse. This was an extremely pleasant and wonderful experience that helped us understand why Paris’ wines and spirits are considered the most exquisite. It is not only their taste and making but also the way they are presented that captivates the consumer completely.
Some people may consider the art of making perfumes to that of producing wines. There are similarities but there are also major differences – the wine industry has been a widespread accomplishment for millennia and nowadays the industry is diversified across the globe. Although perfume has been developed in numerous countries over the centuries, it is in France that it turned into a focused business. This maybe because of the quality and suitability of the region, for producing some of the floral and herbal ingredients. There has also been an increase of skills in this field that is promoted by the French policy of making and sustaining distinctive regional artisanal skills, such as food production, wine, fabric etc. The industry becomes a defining factor of the region.
A visit to the Fragonard museum of perfume in Paris, is as a matter of first importance, a great method to become more acquainted with an extraordinary brand of perfumery. The brand’s name ‘Fragonard’ was picked after Jean-Honoré Fragonard, who is a celebrated painter conceived in Grasse, a town in the French Rivera. This community in the south of France is viewed as the support of French perfumery. Therefore, Fragonard conveys a similar aroma quality as Grasse and the refinement of eighteenth-century expressions. So also, it communicates its longing to maintain the business as per its convention. We learnt about the perfume production methods used by the Fragonard Perfumery in detail, initial materials to collect, how they use the extraction of patchouli flowers, distil it, form the product, to bottling the liquid, packaging and the most important, the importance of being a nose master perfumer, identifying and selecting fragrances to use. The sales executive at the museum also told us about the perfumery workshops at Fragonard, where guests can book workshops to develop their own eau de cologne with personal guidance from a professional. They can then devise their own perfume formula based on their individual preferences and then have it bottled. This community in the south of France is viewed as the support of French perfumery. Subsequently, Fragonard conveys a similar perfume quality as Grasse and the refinement of eighteenth-century expressions. Thus, it communicates its craving to maintain the business as per its convention.
Right form the raw materials of perfume production to the business of perfume manufacturing, the Museum reveals the secret of perfume making, as well as a splendid collection of valuable perfume bottles from antiquity to the present day. Plunge into the atmosphere of a recent 19th century perfume factory. You can discover this world of perfume through the scenography combining stills and different manufacturing machinery, old objects, archives, pictures and images of today.
As we finished our tour to fashion giants, our last visit was to the Osmotheque center. It is not very large in size as it consumes a couple of rooms in an edge of ISIPCA, a short separation from focal Versailles – yet it is great regarding centrality. It specializes in preserving and restoring old fragrances allowing any professional perfumers and passionate perfume lovers to study an impressive collection of fragrances. Inside its peaceful limits, inside huge canisters fixed with a layer of argon gas, a portion of the undisputed perfect works of art of perfumery lie in patient sleep. They are saved in the structure in which they were initially made… or on the other hand, in any event, a structure that is as close as we would now be able to get to the first. These aren’t negligible decants from ‘vintage’ bottles uncovered at old fashioned fairs or separated from individual accumulations. They are new diversions dependent on old formulae. They are the results of the painstaking examination, fortunate ability and, vitally, the consent to utilize materials which are presently banned in business perfumery, not least animal musk and crude bergamot. As it were, they are History, as essential to our aggregate legacy as anything put away at the Tate Modern or the Louver. Its only at the Osmotheque where once can smell the exhilarating verdancy of the original Balmain Vent Vert, the revolutionary creation of Chanel No. 5, or the perfume created its rival creator fashion designer, Paul Poiret. In the 2000s, perfumes became extremely luxurious and was desired not only as a fragrance but also to highlight the attractiveness of the wearer. I could personally apply this when we further learnt about the most influential perfume of all times, the Chanel No. 5 and briefly about its history – it was called Chanel No. 5 as it was the fifth scent from Coco Chanel’s samples and that it earned is iconic status when Marilyn Monroe was asked what she wore to bed every day, to which she replied saying ‘Just a few drops of Chanel No. 5.’
The market division of Chanel No. 5 depends on the individual performance and purchasers give more consideration to the profound esteem. There are some division factors, for example, attitude, age, geology and conduct. Anticipate the famous people, the scholarly ladies with high pay have been fundamental clients and they are around 35 years of age. Current ladies center around the existence quality and grade. What’s more, in the interim they seek after the social honor and position, so Chanel No. 5 turns into the main decision.
It receives the separated focusing on methodology on target markets. Chanel partitions the high utilization bunch into many market sections and works out a scope of advertising blends to fulfill the various purchasers.
After having lived this tremendous experience and exposure to the premium fashion, performed and wine culture of the world, we traveled back to Milan. The entire experience overwhelmed us with extremely pleasant memories and intensely critical learning objectives that would further help us evolve as better postgraduates with an enhanced grasp on luxury designs, customer services and other factors that ensures premium-class of the productions.
Throughout the tour, there were several occasions that taught us the valuable lessons of business, customer care, consumer retention, quality assurance and going beyond limits to ensure quality, services and uniqueness that gives ultimate value to the brand with global and historic recognitions. For instance, at the Neoma Business School we learnt about pricing strategy of wines – and the theory of Chivas Regal effect. We were taught that the Chivas Regal brand of scotch whisky was attempting to pick up piece of the overall industry and its deals were low. Its proprietors multiplied its cost – without changing the whisky – and saw unit deals two-fold. Customers saw the expanded cost as proof this must be a quality brand. During the 1980s, some U.S. colleges received a similar sort of arrangement, and the Chivas Regal impact turned out to be more connected with educational cost costs than whisky. Schools began to raise educational cost expenses to get more cash and commonly observed a critical increment in enlistment.
To conclude the essay, some of the world’s greatest symbol of a lavish lifestyle is essentially French, be it Dom Perignon champagne, Louis Vuitton handbags or white truffles as a culinary ingredient. French is the chosen language of aristocrats and diplomats. Presently, France has extended its heritage in leading and dominating the luxury market and was therefore chosen by me as an appropriate choice for my analysis. The luxury industry is based on prestige brands which dominate the luxury market and its specter, perfumes, fashion design called ‘haute couture’, jewelry, leather, shoes and accessories.
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