Luxury products are simply made with deep passion and consistent persistence. Luxury brands and products have a zero tolerance for errors which is the core to ensuring the continued good quality, sustained brand values and the purity of their heritage brand DNAs . The very soul of the business rests on keeping their loyal shoppers convinced that the brand name alone is worth paying that bit extra for. And that the brand will always remain true to bot h the featured and the perceived parameters.
This indeed is the very secret to the success of luxury brands and how they have earned and retained their place among the best known in the world. This despite the everyday risk they face of being pushed into the background by a new generation of nimble and digitally aware upstarts.
In this age of loss of hope for many value and mid-premium players in the face of commoditisation accelerated by current ecom marketplaces, me-too offerings, unorganised discounting and arbitrary EOSSs, we identify here the world’s most valued luxury brands, their brand persona’s and iconic products that keep them apart holding their stead high headedly. Indeed perhaps in the ruthless chase of product excellence and remaining true to their core values lies the salvation for many a value and mid-premium brand.
Name of the brand: Versace
- Headquartered: Milan, Italy
- Founded in: 1978
- CEO: Gian Giacomo Ferraris
- Iconic product: Gold iconic print silk bomber jacket
- What it stands for: Gianni Versace was one of the fashion world’s most iconic characters, known for his lavish gold and animal-print designs. At his prime, the famous designer was murdered on the steps of his Miami mansion in 1997 by spree killer Andrew
- Cunanan, who shot himself with the same gun a few days later. Versace died at age 50, leaving half his fashion empire to his niece, Allegra.
- Where is it positioned: Versace is one of the world’s leading international fashion houses. Versace designs, markets and distributes luxury clothing, accessories, and fragrances, make-up and home furnishings under the various brands of the Versace Group.
- Turnover (brand value): $5.76 billion
- Sales (revenue): $ 479.2 million
- No. of stores: There are 93 stores worldwide, 66 of
- which are for its top Versace line.
- Presence in India: Versace is present in India. The brand has only 1 store in Delhi.
- Promoters in India: The Versace stores in India are operated by Infinite Luxury Brands Private Limited.
Name of the brand: Louis Vuitton
- H eadquartered: Paris
- Founded in: 1854
- CEO: Michael Burke
- Iconic product: Speedy Bag
- What it stands for: Louis Vuitton is the world’s most valuable luxury brand and is a division of LVMH. Its products include leather goods, handbags, trunks, shoes, watches, jewelry and accessories. Most of these are adorned with the LV monogram. It is one of the most profitable brands in the world with profit margins approaching 40 percent. Long-time creative director Marc Jacobs left Louis Vuitton in 2013 after 16 years in charge of the brand. He plans to focus on his own Marc Jacobs line, which is also owned by LVMH. The current creative director of the brand is Nicolas Ghesquière’s. Recent product endorsers of the brand include Angelina Jolie, Muhammad Ali and Michael Phelps. Where is it positioned: Louis Vuitton specialises in luggage, travel bag and handbag. Their target audiences are affluent individuals who seek for social status, exclusivity and high quality products.
- Turnovers (brand value): $29.9 billion
- Sales (revenue): $9.7 billion
- No. of stores: A retail network of over 400 stores worldwide
- Presence in India: Louis Vuitton is present is India at 5 locations. It has 2 stores in Delhi and Mumbai and one in Bengaluru.
- Promoters in India: It is a direct subsidiary and operations are managed directly by the Brand.
- Name of the brand: Burberry
- H eadquartered: London
- Founded in: 1856
- CEO: Christopher Bailey
- Iconic product: Trench Coat
- What it stands for: Burberry was founded in 1856 when 21-yearold
- Thomas Burberry, a former draper’s apprentice, opened his own store in Basingstoke, Hampshire, England. Burberry Group Plc. is a holding company. It designs and sources luxury apparel and accessories. It operates through two business channels: retail-wholesale and licensing. The retail-wholesale business channel sells luxury goods through Burberry mainline stores, concessions, outlets and digital commerce, as well as Burberry franchisees, prestige department stores globally and multi-brand specialty accounts. The licensing business channel offers global licenses of fragrances, eyewear, timepieces and European children’s wear.
- Where is it positioned: Burberry has positioned itself as a staple for both, luxury and functionality. This positioning method has been consistent throughout the life of the Burberry brand and is a main driver in propelling Burberry into its current market position. Burberry is portrayed as a fashion brand, although not very classic and aristocratic but at the same time it did not fall under the haute couture segment.
- Turnover (brand value): $11.4 billion
- Sales (revenue): $3.97 billion
- No. of stores: Burberry has over 500 stores in over 50 countries.
- Presence in India: Burberry is present at various locations across India. Burberry till now is operating 8 stores in the country.
- Promoters in India: Genesis Group has also entered into a joint venture with Burberry of UK to form Burberry India.
Name of the brand: Jimmy Choo
- H eadquartered: London
- Founded in: 1996
- CEO: Pierre Denis
- Iconic product: Iconic pumps
- What it stands for: Jimmy Choo is a 21st century luxury accessories brand, with shoes at its heart, offering an empowered sense of glamour and a playfully daring spirit. The sexy cut, fashionable design, and exceptional Italian craftsmanship struck a chord with a sophisticated clientele, and the first collection enjoyed immediate success. With a goal of creating a global luxury business, Jimmy Choo attracted outside investment and the company embarked on a significant expansion across product categories, channels and geographies. Where is it positioned: A pioneer in the art of celebrity dressing, Jimmy Choo was among the first to bring shoes and handbags to Hollywood where the red carpet proved to be the ideal runway for the brand. Today, Jimmy Choo can be seen on style icons from celebrities to royalty, musicians to heads of state.
- Turnover (brand value): $ 853 billion
- Sales (revenue): $ 469 million
- No. of stores: Jimmy Choo has over 100 stores worldwide.
- Presence in India: Jimmy Choo has 6 stores in India. It has 2 stores in Delhi and Mumbai, and one each in Bengaluru and Chennai.
- Promoters in India: Genesis Luxury does the marketing and distribution of Jimmy Choo across India.
Name of the brand: Gucci
- H eadquartered: Florence
- Founded in: 1921
- CEO: Marco Bizzarri
- Iconic product: Jackie bag
- What it stands for: Gucci is an Italian fashion and leather goods brand, part of the Gucci Group, which is owned by the French company Kering, formerly known as PPR. Gucci is one of the world’s preeminent luxury brands, recognised the world over for its fashion innovation and impeccable Italian craftsmanship. Ever since Guccio Gucci founded the house in Florence in 1921, the brand has been a destination for the world’s most discerning men and women, representing at once contemporary glamour and traditional Made In Italy craftsmanship.
- Where is it positioned: Gucci was ranked the 38th most valuable brand in the Forbes list. Gucci designs and produces women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, handbags, small leather goods, travel accessories, footwear, fine jewellery, watches, eyewear, fragrances and cosmetics, children’s clothing as well as other timeless lifestyle items. Every Gucci piece carries with it close to a century’s worth of artisanal quality and unparalleled design.
- Turnover (brand value): $12.1 billion
- Sales (revenue): $4.7 billion
- No. of stores: Gucci operates about 278 directly operated stores worldwide.
- Presence in India: Gucci operates 5 boutiques in India, 3 in Delhi & 2 in Mumbai.
- Promoters in India: It is a JV with Reena Wadhwa. She is the wife of Ashok Wadhwa, CEO, Ambit Group and holds 51 percent stake in the entity.
Name of the brand: Hermes
- H eadquartered: Paris
- Founded in: 1837
- CEO: Axel Dumas
- Iconic product: The Berkin bag
- What it stands for: The name Hermès comes from the Greek god of messengers and commerce. The house, which began as a harness and saddle maker, has been in existence for 177 years. Hermés International SCA engages in the design, manufacture, and marketing of luxury products. It operates through the following segments: France, Rest of Europe, Japan, Rest of Asia-Pacific, Americas, Rest of the World, and Holding. Its activities include sale in stores under the Hermés name. It markets silk products, leather goods, accessories, jewelry and home decors. It also sells perfumes, watches, and table decors in specialised stores. It manufactures shoes and offers subcontracted production services.
- Where is it positioned: Hermes sustains its competitive advantage over other competitors by implementing its prestige products, which is inaccessible price and high quality, maintaining strong reputation of the best leather bag and distributing its boutique in fashion districts especially in Asian luxury markets.
- Turnover (brand value): $38.7 billion
- Sales (revenue): $5.46 billion
- No. of stores: There are 315 exclusive Hermès stores around the globe.
- Presence in India: Hermes is present in India. The brand has 2 stores, in Delhi and Mumbai.
- Promoters in India: Directly operated set up, complete operations are handled by the brand.
Name of the brand: Christian Dior
- H eadquartered: Paris, France
- Founded in: December 16, 1946
- CEO: Bernard Arnault
- Iconic product: Lady Dior bag
- What it stands for: Christian Dior, today the company designs and retails ready-to-wear, leather goods, fashion accessories, footwear, jewellry, timepieces, fragrance, make-up, and skincare products while also maintaining its tradition as a creator of recognised haute-couture (under the Christian Dior Couture division). Dior was primarily a female brand, after the World War-II the designer wanted to “liberate” women from the horror of the war but also giving joy and lightness by creating elegant clothes with new design.
- Where is it positioned: Dior is one of the strongest brands in the luxury sector. Even if creation directors have changed through the time, each one has contributed to the reputation of the company. While the Christian Dior label remains largely for women’s offerings, the company also operates the Dior Homme division for men and the baby Dior label.
- Turnover (brand value): $35.1 billion
- Sales (revenue): $42.8 billion
- No. of stores: Products are sold throughout its portfolio of 235 retail stores worldwide, as well as through its online store via dior.com.
- Presence in India: Dior is present in India at 2 locations. It has one boutique each in Delhi and Mumbai.
- Promoters in India: The Christian Dior Couture is operating in India under
- Christian Dior Trading India Private Limited, owned by two resident Indians.
Name of the brand: Chanel
- Headquartered: Paris
- Founded in: 1909
- CEO: Maureen Chiquet
- Iconic product: Chanel 2.55
- What it stands for: Chanel is a privately held company owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer, who was an early business partner of Coco Chanel. Its products cover clothes, fragrances, handbags and watches. The brand is most famous for its “little black dress”, the Chanel No. 5 perfume and the Chanel Suit. Karl Lagerfeld joined Chanel as its creative director in 1983. Revenues were up in all categories in 2013 and the brand opened nine beauty boutiques, including its first in France and China.
- Where is it positioned: Under the guidance of Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel remains not only one of the oldest, but also one of the world’s most prestigious fashion houses still active.
- Turnover (brand value): $7 billion
- Sales (revenue): $4.7 B
- No. of stores: Chanel operates more than 310 boutiques worldwide.
- Presence in India: Chanel is present at 2 locations in India namely Delhi and
- Promoters in India: Directly operated model.
Name of the brand: Fendi
- Headquartered: Rome, Italy
- Founded in: 1925
- CEO: Pietro Beccari
- Iconic product: Baguette Bag
- What it stands for: Fendi is an Italian luxury fashion house whose specialties include fur, ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, fragrances, eyewear, timepieces and accessories.
- Fendi is renowned for its exquisite creations on fur and fur accessories. Fendi is also well known for its leather goods such as “Baguette”, 2jours, Peekaboo or Pequin handbags.
- Fendi is all about high fashion and drama, with innovative creations and collections that never fail to impress and surprise the fashion industry. Above all, they continue to produce high quality and luxurious furs for the fashion-loving masses. Though she died in 1978 at the age of 81, Adele Fendi has created a fashion empire that has exceeded all expectations.
- Where is it positioned: Fendi has continued to evolve, with its younger, more accessible Fendissime diffusion line, fragrance collections and one of the most iconic lines of handbags and accessories known to fashion.
- Turnover (brand value): $ 3.6 billion
- Sales (revenue): $1.1 billion
- No. of stores: More than 100 boutiques worldwide
- Presence in India: Fendi is present at DLF Emporio.
- Promoters in India: Direct operations
- Name of the brand: Prada
- H eadquartered: Milan, Italy
- Founded in: The company was founded by Mario
- Prada on July 11, 1990
- CEO: Patrizio Bertelli
- Iconic Product: Iconic Prada 1991 purple silk
- satin purse reissued in 2012
- What it stands for: Prada SpA is engaged in the manufacture and distribution of luxury goods. The Prada brand is part of the Prada Group, a global powerhouse in the luxury goods market, as well as a business icon. The luxury group now produces men’s and women’s leather goods, clothing and footwear, combining contemporary, cutting-edge sophistication with one-of-a-kind, sublimely-crafted products. Prada also operates in the eyewear, fragrance and mobile phone sectors. Prada casts its creative eye beyond the boundaries of fashion, to include art, architecture and culture as key reference to the brand’s core values.
- Where is it positioned: The Prada group also includes Miu Miu – Miuccia Prada’s “other soul” – a brand with a strong personality and as provocative and sophisticated as it is coolheaded and cutting-edge; Church’s, a high-end men’s footwear manufacturer established in the British town of Northampton in 1873; and Car Shoe, inventor of the original driving moccasin with uppers perforated with rubber studs, patented in 1963.
- Turnover (brand value): $15.3 billion
- Sales (revenue): $4.65 billion
- No. of stores: The group’s distribution network
- extends across 70 countries, counting 551
- directly-operated stores.
- Presence in India: Prada is in talks to enter India, but as off now there is no update.
About the author: Abhay Gupta, Founder and CEO, Luxury Connec t and Luxury Connect Business School.