Innovation And Tradition:
A Paradox Rich In Opportunity

Thursday, March 31, 2016
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM


– This event is now over –

 Click here to read the recap and view photos.


Frederic Cumenal, CEO of Tiffany & Co., delivers his keynote address on Heritage and Tradition


Thursday, March 31, 2016


Sofitel – Le Grand Paris Ballroom
New York City, 45 West 44th Street

35+ Luxury Leaders

180 High-Level Attendees

Sofitel exterior luxury symposium website

Thank you for joining us!

The French-American Chamber of Commerce is proud to report that the first-ever French-American Luxury Symposium took place on Thursday, March 31, 2016 at the Sofitel New York.

This Symposium offered an engaging full day of renowned Keynote Speakers and expert Panelists who focused on the theme of Innovation and Tradition at a pivotal moment when the Luxury industry is facing an unprecedented wind of change.

The event was completely sold out with 180 high-level attendees, representing the most prestigious French and American brands, international luxury markets, industry leaders and other key stakeholders.

Stay tuned for future Luxury-related events from the FACC-NY!


Our Speakers and Moderators are industry leaders on the cutting edge of their fields in the Luxury sector. Click on the photos below to view their biographies.


French American Luxury Symposium 1

8:00 – 8:45 AM

Registration and continental breakfast

French American Luxury Symposium 2

8:45 – 9:00 AM

Welcome and Opening Remarks

Introduction by Elsa Berry, President, French-American Chamber of Commerce.

Luca Solca headshot for keynote

9:00 - 9:30 AM

Luxury Market: A Rapidly Changing Landscape

The luxury goods and services market has grown into a sizable global industry surpassing $1.7 trillion, with emerging markets and new consumers comprising an increasingly important and volatile share.  A significant wind of change seems to be sweeping across the luxury landscape whose growth prospects have been dramatically reduced in the last few years. While online sales only represent 6% of the luxury market, nearly 50% of purchase decisions are made online. High end houses need to get closer to their customers, understand what they want and change accordingly. How to combine “rarity” with scale, volume and social media? How to make what is “discretionary” by nature, relevant today? How does luxury adjust and reinvent itself?


Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Luca Solca, Managing Director, Global Luxury Goods, Exane BNP Paribas

French American Luxury Symposium 4

9:30 – 10:30 AM

Strong Heritage Brands: Artisans, Ateliers & Métiers

A successful luxury brand has a rich history that emotionally connects with today’s consumers, offering a unique differentiation driven by in-house artisans and designers who create perfectly executed products. How to convey the brand’s heritage, authentic history and craftsmanship while also showcasing innovation? How to preserve the past but make it relevant to today’s consumers who want more than “storytelling” and have so many options? Where and how should “storytelling” occur? How do brands respond to the demands of the millennial shopper for authenticity, individuality, sustainability and their preference for experience over possession? What does Exclusivity mean toady? How are luxury brands embracing CSR?


Confirmed Expert Panelists include:

  • Alain Bernard, President and Chief Executive Officer, Van Cleef & Arpels Americas
  • Alex Bolen, Chief Executive Officer, Oscar de la Renta, LLC
  • Tina Edmundson, Global Officer of Luxury and Lifestyle Brands, Marriott International, Inc.
  • Trent Fraser, Vice President Dom Pérignon, LVMH Wines & Spirits
  • Jim Shreve, President, USA, Baccarat
  • Olivier Stip, Senior Vice President Fine Jewelry & Watches, Chanel USA


This Panel will be moderated by Simon Nyeck, Head of the MBA International Luxury Brand Management Program, ESSEC Business School.

contemporary 3

10:30 - 11:30 AM

Contemporary and Digitally Innovative Brands: What Lessons for Heritage Brands?

A new wave of iconic luxury and consumer brands have emerged since the last recession, including some launched with a purely online sales strategy. These brands offer exceptional service, quality and value to consumers through direct channels. Unencumbered by the past, they are not afraid of breaking the rules and going against the grain. They have an attitude, a position, and a direct engagement with their consumers both technologically and sentimentally, in a seamless and frictionless way. What can heritage luxury houses learn from the more recently established brands? What does “consumer centric” mean for Luxury brands?


Confirmed Expert Panelists include:

  • Laure de Metz, General Manager Americas, Make Up For Ever
  • Tom Patterson, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Tommy John
  • Bridget Russo, Chief Marketing Officer, Shinola
  • Sarah Tam, Senior Vice President of Merchandising and Planning, Rent the Runway
  • Olga Vidisheva, Founder and Chief Executive Officer,


This Panel will be moderated by Pauline Brown, Senior Lecturer of Business Administration, Harvard Business School.

Customer Centric smart fitting room

11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Customer-Centric: Engagement, Customization, Integrated Commerce & “Phygital” Space

Consumers are getting smarter, more agile and more demanding. They are the architects of their shopping journey, which often begins online and ends inside a store.  How should brands address savvy consumers’ expectations that they will get what they want, when they want it, with innovation and creativity? What is the role of the store in a digital world and how to create a successful “retail theatre”? How does technology act as an enabler while respecting the brand’s DNA? What is the impact of social commerce?  How best to integrate and optimize CRM tools to secure and efficiently manage customer data across these multiple channels?


Confirmed Expert Panelists include:

  • Catherine Barba, Founder, PEPS Lab
  • Nicolas Beauchesne, Co-Founder and Managing Director, 55 | fifty-five
  • Healey Cypher, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, OAK
  • Grégory Pouy, Founder and Digital Strategy Director, LaMercatique
  • Marc Speichert, Global Client Partner, Google


This Panel will be moderated by Nathalie Remy, Partner, McKinsey and Company.

French American Luxury Symposium 6

12:30 – 2:00 PM

Keynote Lunch: Frederic Cumenal, CEO, Tiffany & Co. on Embracing Heritage and Innovation

Forget the conventional wisdom that traditional luxury brands are a contradiction in today’s Technology Age. Consider, instead, the synergies and symbioses that heritage and innovation share. Design and aesthetic experience are as critical to a successful silicon valley product launch today as they have been to Tiffany for 179 years. The hyper-connected modern client savors being un-plugged as the ultimate luxury. And a new generation of consumers raised on limitless information want to know where their most important purchases come from, and how they came to be. At a time when hardware upgrades and app updates whiz through the marketplace with dizzying speed, how can established luxury houses exploit the ever-thriving human hunger for what forever remains constant: beauty, creativity, culture and art?

IWD VR displayer for website

Virtual Reality Demonstration

During lunch, attendees will also have the opportunity to experience how Virtual Reality technology is revolutionizing the Luxury retail store, courtesy of IWD’s innovative merchandising and retail software.

French American Luxury Symposium

2:00 - 2:45 PM

Finding the Right Financial Partner

Beyond traditional Corporate Acquirers, private equity firms, high net worth individuals, family offices, IPOs and M&A have helped reshape the luxury goods sector by funding the growth of the most promising brands, and sometimes revitalizing those that have fallen from past glory.  However, luxury requires patience and a customized approach. Which investors are best suited to the specifics of the luxury industry whose business model is not always based on short term high growth?  How do the investment horizons of many of these new investors align with the longer-term cycles more typical of luxury brands? Are the public markets a viable solution or are they only suitable for a certain profile of brand?


Confirmed Expert Panelists include:

  • Laurent Droin, Managing Director and Head of Consumer Advisory Americas, BNP Paribas
  • Joseph Ferrara, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Resonance
  • Ron Frasch, Operating Partner, Castanea Partners
  • Peter Jueptner, Executive Vice President, Strategy and New Business Development, The Estée Lauder Companies
  • Virginie Morgon, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Eurazeo


This Panel will be moderated by Elsa Berry, Managing Director and Founder, Vendôme Global Partners; President, French-American Chamber of Commerce.

French American Luxury Symposium 8

2:45 – 3:45 PM

The Creative Leadership and the C-Suite

Managing the complex, evolving and ultra-competitive luxury world and retail environment requires new and unusual talent – not just merchants, but also “chief customer officers”, “chief information officers”, longer term minded CFOs, nimble COOs, Chief Creative Officers and a new breed of CEOs (strategists, mentors, creative leaders and tech-savvy number crunchers who will empower their teams in a collaborative way). What does the new C-suite look like? Are the recent crossover hires between luxury and technology or between luxury and high-volume retailers a long term trend? Are celebrity designers more important than brand CEOs? Can luxury still be attractive to young professionals?


Confirmed Expert Panelists include:

  • Sam Baron, Director, Fabrica Design Studio
  • François Chateau, Partner, Dentons
  • Marie Gulin-Merle, Chief Marketing Officer, L’Oréal USA
  • Gena Smith, Senior Vice President Human Resources, Global Executive & Creative Recruitment, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton


This Panel will be moderated by Floriane de Saint Pierre, Founder and President, FSP Group.

French American Luxury Symposium

3:45 – 4:15 PM

Corporate Social Responsibility: A Necessity for Luxury Houses?

A brand’s philanthropic efforts are an important piece of the marketing puzzle and a critical part of the dialog with today’s affluent consumers. Is this just a good public relations and marketing tool or do luxury brands have an obligation to do more?  Do they risk losing relevance with the new consumers if they fail to demonstrate a genuine purpose? Luxury brands need to embrace this aspect in a sincere and authentic manner, while connecting this corporate purpose with their brand DNA. Placing sustainability at the core of what Luxury Houses do is a good, and essential business practice. As philanthropy and “giving back” become increasingly important to this affluent consumer, how do luxury brands build more selfless values into their business model?


Confirmed Expert Panelists include:

  • Audrey Fauroux, Partner, WeiserMazars
  • Guillaume Le Cunff, President, Nespresso USA
  • Anne Michaut, Academic Director of the Advanced Management Program in Fashion and Luxury, HEC Paris
  • Fabien Moreau, Co-Founder, FORWARD


This Panel will be moderated by Burak Cakmak, Dean of Fashion, Parsons School of Design at the New School.

Lawrence Lenihan headshot (for keynote icon)

4:15 - 4:45 PM

Fashion and Luxury Retail: The Next 10 Years

Confirmed Keynote Speaker: Lawrence Lenihan, Adjunct Professor, NYU Stern School of Business; Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, Resonance

French American Luxury Symposium

4:45 – 5:00 PM

Closing Remarks

French American Luxury Symposium

5:00 – 6:00 PM

Cocktail Reception

Attendees are invited to a private networking reception in the Sofitel’s Gaby Restaurant & Bar.


The French-American Luxury Symposium was made possible by the generous support of our Sponsors. For more information on Sponsorship and brand-building opportunities, please contact the FACC-NY at (212) 867-0123.

Exclusive Platinum Sponsor

Luxury Symposium FACC Dentons

Gold Sponsor

Mazard FACC

Gold Sponsor

Cartier FACC

Silver Sponsor


Silver Sponsor

Luxury Symposium FACC Concise

Bronze Sponsor

Deloitte FACC

Bronze Sponsor


Bronze Sponsor


Bronze Sponsor


Bronze Sponsor


Bronze Sponsor

Official French-American Luxury Symposium Cocktail Reception Sponsor


The FACC-NY wishes to thank Vendôme Global Partners for providing strategic direction to the French-American Luxury Symposium

Luxury Symposium FACC Vendome

Exclusive Official Airline Partners of the FACC-NY

Air France FACC

Delta FACC

This event is now over.

For accommodations, the Sofitel New York is pleased to offer a preferential rate to attendees of the French-American Luxury Symposium. For details, contact Noellie Ginoux at or (212) 782-3015.


Sofitel New York


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