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#FutureMadeClear: How are luxury trends impacting packaging?

Katie Nichol

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#FutureMadeClear: How are luxury trends impacting packaging?

A digital live session moderated by European container glass federation Feve President Adeline Farrelly this week looked into the future of the luxury industry, spotlighting three trends and how they relate to packaging. 

During the eighth edition of #TheFutureMadeClear Q&A organized by glass industry body Feve, Patricia Beausoleil, Head of Home & Design Department at trend forecasting agency Peclers, identified three trends in luxury – sustainability, digital & the metaverse and evolving identity codes  – and how they translate to packaging.

Sustainability

“The challenge is for the luxury industry to become a benchmark in sustainable development,” says Beausoleil. In terms of glass packaging, this means lighterweight products, and more recycled glass where color and opacity defects become a source of added value. Other inspiring materials cited by the trend forecaster include ceramics and clay in their natural state, wood offcuts, recycled plant fiber from the food industry, paper pulp and mycelium.

Digital & the metaverse

With the continued rise of digital, “the challenge for luxury brands will be to bring materiality and sensoriality into digital aesthetics and virtual worlds,” Beausoleil remarks. The idea here is to create new multi-dimensional experiences through packaging, blurring the perception between real and virtual. Think liquid metallization, lacquering, dichroic and lenticular effects, as well as distorting volumes and shapes to communicate digital fluidity. “Glass is the perfect medium to express unreal surface states,” added Beausoleil.

Evolution of individual and collective identity codes

The fluidity of gender and other identity codes is causing a "'decompartmentalization' that is in turn giving a sense of liberation from standard aesthetics and creativity,” notes Beausoleil. This is resulting in creative freedom through bolder colors and aesthetics.

Michel Gutsatz, CEO of niche fragrance brand Le Jardin Retrouvé, echoed Beausoleil’s remarks about defects no longer being viewed as negative. “For our made-in-Limoges candle jars, defects are acceptable as they are proof of craftsmanship,” he says, adding that consumers are accepting of this in most markets today. When it comes to fragrance refills, “this industry has a real original sin. Crimped bottles result in components being thrown away when products are empty. Today's society no longer accepts waste.” With Prada Paradoxe’s ‘the refillable perfume’ tagline splashed across advertising billboards, refillable is going mainstream, Gutsatz says, adding that he expects the industry to face a “huge challenge” around refillable flacons. Indeed, difficulties in finding refillable fragrance bottles and the quality of the offer led the brand to create its own proprietary screw neck, while its refills come in recycled and recyclable aluminum bottles. For panelist Simone Baratta, head of the prestige perfumery business unit at Italian glassmaker Bormioli Luigi, there’s indeed a strong trend of brands moving from a crimped to screw neck, but it is too early to say if refill will become widespread.

Refills will take an important place in the future, challenging the industry to rethink current business models, Farrelly confirmed. “We’re lucky that glass can be both recycled and refilled, and while we can rise to the challenges, it is complex for everybody.” For Bormioli Luigi's Baratta, “the beauty market's positive performance in the past year is linked to its ability to propose innovative solutions and sustainable packaging.” He highlighted the glassmaker’s Ecoline range of lightweighted jars and bottles, as well as its refillable skincare and fragrance packaging options. “We should perhaps reinterpret some of the guidelines we’ve had up until now, but sustainability will be one of the most important axes of the future,” he concludes.

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