16 April 2019
Hosting the 5th Condé Nast International Luxury Conference in Cape Town was a dream come true for Suzy Menkes, editor of Vogue International and curator of the event.
During a media roundtable event prior to the conference, Menkes shared her reasons for hosting the conference in Cape Town.
“Cape Town is an interesting city – it looks out, rather than in. It feels like a very open city. We looked at a couple of other places but Cape Town seemed most appropriate. It’s a place of hope at the moment. You feel the pulse in the air,” said Menkes, who has been speaking about the “promise of Africa” and hosting an international luxury conference on the continent since 2011.
There has never been a conference dealing with the subject of luxury in Africa. Today, the dream is realised here.
The event has travelled the world, taking place in intriguing and diverse locations – from Lisbon, to Muscat, to Florence, to Seoul.
“The African continent has become integral to the ever-changing concept of luxury in today’s world,” said Menkes. “The ‘Nature of Luxury’ theme explored the creative talent on the continent, the role and increasing importance of sustainability whilst examining the broader landscape of the global luxury market. The conference provided a window into the future as well as examining and addressing the broader trends of the industry.”
The conference took place at The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront from 10 – 11 April 2019 bringing together a range of global fashion, luxury and tech speakers to discuss, debate and inspire around ideas of the nature of luxury.
Speakers included Gucci President and CEO, Marco Bizzarri; supermodel and special guest, Naomi Campbell; Hanneli Rupert, founder and creative director of Cape Town based Merchants on Long and Okapi; Laduma Ngxokolo, founder and designer of MAXHOSA by Laduma; Rosario Perez, board director of the Kering Foundation; and Alessandro Bogliolo, CEO of Tiffany & Co.
Menkes described the fashion and creative talent in Cape Town and South Africa as “exciting and inspiring”. “Many European designers are influenced by Africa, which is great,” she said.
At the end of the conference, Menkes said that she had never felt so emotional in two decades of conference hosting. “I feel that our speakers have reached out to a higher level in what we have discussed and I feel that we’ve all dug deeply into subjects never before related publicly with luxury. It’s with tears in my eyes that I say it was an exceptional experience for me and I am proud to have been here. It’s been an honour and a privilege to be in Cape Town. Nature is indeed the ultimate luxury.”
The next Condé Nast International Luxury Conference takes place in Vienna, Austria, in 2020.