OPINIONS | Marc Dubrule


1.618: “According to you, what is the future of luxury?”

Marc Dubrule : “Contrary to popular belief, the word luxury does not come from lux meaning light in Latin but from luxus meaning dislocation, or separation. Luxury has therefore always been associated with a gap from the ordinary, with what makes one different, unique or unusual. This twist offered by the selective brands has taken various different forms over the years: by using a particular brand, anyone could become more socially important, more cultured, more respectable, more intelligent, more fashionable, more rebellious, more artistic, more modern, or acquire greater aesthetic sensibility and appreciation of quality… and gradually became this “luxury clientele” – people who purchased an image, a different lifestyle, whether visible or not.

Probably a kind of quest for originality.

In recent years, influenced by changes in the art world, this gap with the ordinary has had more and more to do with the notion of experience. People talk about a shift from owning to experiencing. There is still this notion of separation, certainly, but now, more than just the product, it is centred on a unique sensory perception of the whole retail experience: the pleasure of buying, an exclusive service, a connection with art… The customer feels the privilege of being the center of attention.

The luxury sector in the future will undoubtedly exaggerate the differences surrounding the product itself, making the imaginary world it inhabits even more beautiful.

Consequently, there will need to be changes in the way the luxury sector is managed: it will need to venture into new areas, bring in new blood, more open ways of working, multi/omni-channel distribution shaking up the sacrosanct model of the single flagship store, new players with unusual even unsettling business models, a more homogeneous clientele between Shanghai, Beijing and Paris than between Shanghai, Beijing and the rest of China… and finally, more clear-cut behaviour attributed to different generations.

I also think that the luxury sector in the future will not be devoid of values.

Because it is necessarily tied to the notion of sustainability: luxury is synonymous with quality, so it remains and endures.

The luxury sector will be sustainable because the very notion of luxury contains this value within it.

And it is undoubtedly by representing it responsibly and with pride that it will endure. “

Marc Dubrule, Chief Strategic Development Officer L’Oréal Divisions Sélectives

Marc Dubrule, who graduated from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce de Paris (ESCP) in 1984, is a beauty brand management and strategy specialist, with a particular focus on luxury brands. Joining L’Oréal in 1986, he embarked on an international career during which he took on the roles of International Marketing Manager for Paloma Picasso, International Brand Manager Director for Lanvin, General Manager L’Oréal Luxe for South Korea (one of the world’s biggest beauty markets, Chief Executive Officer, Biotherm then Lancôme, the world’s number one luxury beauty brand, which he developed for four years, drawing on his extensive knowledge of Asia to break into the Chinese market.

In 2006 he became Strategic Development Director for L’Oréal Luxury Products where he played a key role in the acquisition of the Yves Saint Laurent, Clarisonic and Urban Decay brands. Between 2009 and 2013, he also managed the coordination of L’Oréal Luxury Products North America, helping to get the Luxury Products USA business back on its feet quickly following the 2008 financial crisis.

In July 2013 Marc Dubrule was appointed Chief Strategic Development Officer L’Oréal Divisions Sélectives (Luxury Products, Active Cosmetics, Professional Products and The Body Shop), and is now responsible for developing the Divisions’ broad strategic direction, external growth through acquisitions and licensing, brand consultancy, forward planning and the synergies between the selective divisions.

Having been President of the Economic Commission of the Comité Colbert (2004-2006), since 2007 he has been Director of FEBEA, the French beauty companies federation, for which he is also a member of the Finance Commission.

Marc Dubrule is a collector of modern and contemporary art, and 1950s furniture and ceramics. In 2011 he published Traits de vie, a collection of personal writings and drawings.