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May 29, 2012

Camp Luxury!

Move over TED: Affluence peddlers & global moguls are congregating in Marrakech in June for a luxe-focused boot camp

By Nancy Staab

Sure, the visionary TED conference attracts its share of techo-geeks and celebs, but the real powerbrokers are congregating in Marrakech for this year’s Financial Times Luxury Summit. And these well-heeled moguls get to keep their shoes and ties on for this conference. Think: less Havaianas and organic power bars and more Hublot watches, private helicopters and Hermès-encased iPad 4s.

A Gucci Ad. Gucci is part of The Business of Luxury Summit guest speaker Francois Henri Pinault's luxury holdings at PPR A Gucci Ad. Gucci is part of The Business of Luxury Summit guest speaker Francois Henri Pinault's luxury holdings at PPR


The renowned The Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit, now in its eighth year, takes place May 30-June 1, 2012 in Marrakech, Morocco. The theme of this year’s annual summit is “The Lifestyle Revolution” and will explore the increased intermingling of luxury and lifestyle. The summit bills itself as “the premier thought-leadership event evaluating the key issues facing luxury businesses,” and given the VIP roster of attendees, their claim seems legit.  This year’s conference will examine everything from the macroeconomic outlook to the role of media.



Salma Hayek and Francois Henri Pinault Salma Hayek and Francois Henri Pinault

This year’s 350-plus attendees will mingle with the likes of French luxury conglomerate head and keynote speaker Francois-Henri Pinault, CEO of Pinault-Printemps-Redoute, as well as other speakers, including cosmetics heiress Aerin Lauder (about to launch her own cosmetics label within Estee Lauder), Harry Winston CEO Frédéric de Narp, global designer Christian Liaigre, Island Record’s Chris Blackwell, fashion icon Tory Burch, and CEO Sidney Toledano of Christian Dior Couture, not to mention sundry members from The Blackstone Group, American Express, Jimmy Choo, Versace, Financial Times, Moncler, Alexander Wang, Ferrari, Hermès, Vertu, etc. The inclusion of CEO Ron Johnson of JC Penney may raise a few eyebrows in the luxury sector, but the new Penny’s head honcho is re-inventing the store from top-to-bottom and has already scored a major coup by scooping up domestic doyenne Martha Stewart, who will also be present at the luxury summit.


Tory Burch Tory Burch

Past attendees have included: Armani, Balenciaga, Bang & Olufsen, Bentley, Bulgari, Cartier, Chanel, Chopard, Christie’s, Deutsche Bank, Ferragamo, Google Inc., Gucci Group, Hublot, JP Morgan, LVMH, Maserati, Oscar de La Renta, Ralph Lauren, Swarovski, Taj Hotels, Tiffany & Co., Tom Ford, Vacheron Constantin, Valentino, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vogue and YSL, to drop a few loaded luxury names. Participating industries from fashion and retail, yacht manufacturing, watches, private equity, investment banking, private banking, architecture, luxury hotels, arts and culture, film, and design consultancies all seek out this elite summit.


The Selman Hotel, Marrakech The Selman Hotel, Marrakech


Frederick de Narp of Harry Winston with Halle Berry Frederick de Narp of Harry Winston with Halle Berry

Only the best for this glossy posse, who will make the brand new Selman Palace Hotel, Marrakech, their official clubhouse for the Summit. Selman will host both the gala dinner and after-party, as well as serving as an official hotel for attendees. The luxe property was designed by Jacques Garcia, of Hotel Costes fame and includes a plush spa, the longest lap pool in Marrakech, and gorgeous Arabian horses housed in its sleek stables. For more on this exotic escape read our profile of this haute hotel:



Stream It Live:

Can’t attend this year’s conference? You can stream a selection of key sessions live, including keynote speaker Francois-Henri Pinault’s address on May 31, via Financial Times Live at


For more info visit

The Selman Hotel, Marrakech The Selman Hotel, Marrakech