Insights from a Luxury, Future-focussed Conference

Home to a young, tech-savvy population, and one of Asia’s largest luxury markets, 2016 was the perfect year to hold the world’s first international luxury conference in Seoul…


So said Suzy Menkes, International Vogue Editor and one of many luxury and business creatives to attend the second ever Condé Nast International Luxury Conference earlier this year at the Shilla Hotel in South Korea. It just so happened however that Menkes also invented the luxury conference concept in 2001…

It all started last year on the other side of the world in Florence, thanks not just to Vogue but the influence of all Condé Nast publications (, where the focus was the competition between so-called ‘hard’ luxury (watches and jewellery) and leather goods on the one hand and technology on the other. ‘Will technology reshape the way the luxury industry produces, sells and operates?’ They asked, along with: ‘Do watches and jewellery offer untapped profits and opportunities for luxury business leaders?’


The Shilla Hotel, Seoul, Korea Conference Sessions, The Unstoppable Power of K with Suzy Menkes, Jay Park, Jiyoon Lee, Sangmin Bae, Sung-Joo Kim


This year it was yet more future-focussed and involved everything from creative and business speakers to social events. Talks explored commercial opportunities, new sources of inspiration and the role of technology, a youthful population, pop culture and the beauty market in luxury developments. One central question that speakers such as Stuart Veves (Coach:, Olivier Rousteing (Balmain: and Jason Wu (Boss womenswear: was how have the millennials changed everything in the luxury world. Social media is one key, Menkes suggested.

Conference Session, Conde Nast International Luxury, See Now Buy Now, Suzy Menkes in conversation with Steve Jung and Yoni Pai, Shilla Hotel, Seoul, Korea

“Seoul is such a happening place, high wired, it’s smart people, it’s people who really understand the techno world, you have to be there to understand the future of luxury,” Menkes says. “It’s a magnet for people who want to come and enjoy luxury shopping.”

Other speakers featured in the two-day conference included Seohyun Lee (Samsung), Anya Hindmarsh ( and Steven Webster ( with their luxury handbags and jewellery of the same names. Then there was luxury milliner Stephen Jones ( who talked about the need for an “optimistic” hat in a focus on the global power of accessories, discussing the process of collaborations with designers for their shows, “diving into their minds and understanding what makes them tick’ and also shoe-maker Rupert Sanderson ( who discussed what it’s like to build a successful renowned business in Asia. Cosmetic surgery, luxury travel and retail were also addressed by leaders in their fields. We can’t wait to see what’s on the schedule for next year!