Wanderlust is Luxury Fashion’s Not-So-Secret Marketing Tool


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Image courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana’s “Vacation Edit”

Luxury brands are capitalising on the power of wanderlust and travel to drive home the themes of their summer 2024 collections. Dolce & Gabbana has just unveiled their “Vacation Edit” which the brand describes as “a selection of escape-ready pieces from Dolce & Gabbana’s pre-fall 2024 collection, perfect for that vacation that you have been planning for”. Givenchy’s “Givenchy Plage” collection is inspired by the joie de vivre and laid-back refinement of Le Clos Fiorentina, founder Hubert de Givenchy’s summer estate in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. These collections exemplify how wanderlust manifests itself in luxury fashion taking inspiration from brand heritage and location. As a result, summer travel releases are proving to be a profitable foray for fashion brands in both for short-term and long-term goals.

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Potential for High-Profit Margins

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Image courtesy of Dior’s “Dioriviera” collection

Brands are finding new ways to bounce back from the financial hit undertaken during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brands also understand that two things consumers missed during their time of pandemic-led isolation were interactive lifestyle experiences and travel. By merging these two in the form of destination events, lifestyle extensions, and pop-up concept stores, luxury brands have a chance to revamp their brand image and attract consumers across a broad range of demographics. Case in point, Dior’s “Dioriviera” pop-up collection will be displayed across Dior boutiques — from Dubai to Seoul – and can be used as a form of global expansion by leveraging the international appeal of travel to expand into new markets and reach a broader audience. This is also a form of “brand strategy” that a Maison may use to capitalise on engagement through themed collections like the “Vacation Edit” and “Dioriviera”.

Brand Diversification

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Image courtesy of Dior’s “Dioriviera” collection

Summer collections provide luxury brands with an opportunity to diversify their product offerings and extend their brand into new categories. In addition to the ready-to-wear clothing and accessories line, luxury brands have now come to introduce the launch of summer-themed items such as beach towels, sunglasses, sandals, and more recently interior furnishing, further expanding their revenue streams.

This is not dissimilar to the success of the “Kusama Effect” that Louis Vuitton achieved with the Yayoi Kusama collaborative collection. By delivering smaller products at lower price points, fashion houses allow consumers to buy into the brand across a range of budgets and demographics. Perhaps one might not want to invest in the latest Louis Vuitton bag but they may yearn to be seen carrying the latest Louis Vuitton beach towel on a holiday getaway. This is also where the power of social media comes in to further fuel the desire of wanderlust.

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Limited Editions and Exclusivity

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Described by Berluti as a “true collector’s item” the XL tote bag is covered in illustrated renderings of Berluti’s icons, from Alessandro to Andy and Un Jour.

Rarity is a commodity in luxury. The release of limited edition capsule collections or exclusive pieces as part of their summer collections is not-so-subtly aimed at driving demand and creating a sense of urgency among consumers to make purchases “while stocks last”. Limited edition collections increase brand loyalty and encourage repeat purchases. There will always be brand loyalists who seek out limited edition releases from their favourite luxury brands. Being privy to these new launches in the form of private event invitations and exclusive pop-up store launches only stands to incentivise long-standing consumers to continue supporting the brand. Furthermore, by releasing seasonal limited edition collections, luxury brands can encourage repeat purchases from these collectors who want to add new items to their collections. Limited edition launches, particularly collaborative collections are known to generate publicity and increase demand.

Read More: Luxury Fashion Brands Unveil Summer Capsule Collections and Releases

Managing the Market Monopoly

Image courtesy of Givenchy

It goes without saying that the “essentials” one can come to expect from a summer fashion capsule are typically comprised of swimwear, resortwear and accessories that include (but are not limited to) raffia beach hats, towels, and bags. There is no one way to encapsulate “Riviera style”, so how do brands differentiate themselves from their competitors? Here is where house codes, modified emblems, motifs, and heritage prints come in. While luxury brands like Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton have a history of selling the idea of travel, Versace may harken back to Italian-inspired luxury or Fendi with the vibrancy of Roman life and “La Dolce Vita” while Dior could pay homage to founder Christian Dior’s penchant for travel. These are effectively marketing methods that aim to carve out a brand’s niche in the “summer travel” sector of the market while also drawing attention to the consumer that the aforementioned brand is a leader in luxury travel creations. Take Valentino’s recent “Valentino Escape” collection which sees a revisit to Valentino’s Starfish and Chevron prints that made a debut during the spring/summer 2015 and spring 2019 collections. This form of self-reference acts as a “one-up” for one fashion house over the other.

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This is further proven by the rising popularity of ski wear in luxury fashion brands. Moncler was initially one of the purveyors of luxury ski wear and ski jackets, carving out its niche in the market with high-performance ski jackets and down-filled ski outerwear. Moncler describes their men’s and women’s ski jackets as “crafted for adventure” with technical nylon, water-resistant zips, a ski pass pocket and wrist gaiters — all mountain activity essentials.

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However, Moncler soon found a competitor in Prada when Prada teamed up with AspenX in 2021 to launch an Aspen-inspired performance-wear capsule collection. The capsule saw a six-piece range of performance outerwear mixes featuring Prada Linea Rossa’s Extreme-Tex waterproof layer and Graphene padding. Prada Linea Rossa line now includes ski jackets, ski goggles, snowboards, helmets and jumpsuits. Here, Prada successfully carved out its own niche in the market by offering consumers a combination of luxury fashion and technical sports-centric skiwear, uniting two different elements of the luxury industry.

Conclusion

For long-term success, fashion brands need to address two important shifts — market trends and consumer habits. Market trends see the shift in broader societal trends such as the desire for travel and escapism that society craves post-pandemic. Then there is the shift in consumer habits and behavior that moving towards experiential luxury. Here is where consumers seek products and experiences that mirror their lifestyle aspirations that placate their yearning for travel and exploration.

Read More: These Brands Are Creating Luxury Lifestyle Experiences

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