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Recap of CNI Future Luxury Conference in Seoul


A Suzy Menkes USB!

I was incredibly excited and honored to attend the Conde Nast International Future Luxury Conference as a speaker on behalf of Glow Recipe this week. Held at The Shilla Hotel, hundreds of attendees from all over the world in fields including fashion, beauty and jewelry flew into Seoul to attend this annual conference, hosted by the one and only Suzy Menkes, International Vogue Editor.

We were blown away that Glow Recipe was invited to speak at the CNI Conference alongside speakers such as Olivier Rousteing and Eva Chen. It was humbling to have this opportunity, especially as it was the first time beauty was a topic at the #CNILux conference – and I really wanted to do it justice!


The Shilla Hotel is one of my favorite places in Seoul as it balances both modern elements (like this gorgeous chandelier) and traditional Korean architecture.

The 2 day conference started off with welcome reception the night before in the gardens of the Shilla Hotel.


The traditional Youngbingwan gardens at The Shilla

Then an intimate dinner at the Leeum Museum. I’ve been to the Leeum many times, but this was my first time in the Museum after hours and it was a privilege to be able to view their extensive collection at leisure.


After Suzy’s opening speech…


…the conference started off with a bang with Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain and Eva Chen discussing the role of Instagram and digital in beauty, and how it levels the playing field between brands with millions in ad spending versus smaller companies that need to find more creative ways to raise awareness. Fittingly, it ended up with a Olivier-Eva-Suzy selfie that was regrammed non-stop.  (I got my own selfie with Olivier …but he out duck-faced me)

The keynote speaker was Seohyun Lee, president of Samsung’s C&T fashion division. The Samsung family is notoriously reclusive and this was the first time Seohyun Lee had ever given a speech in public. She was refreshingly frank about Samsung’s challenges in developing a luxury fashion brand and her vision for the future of the company’s fashion arm.


Her hair was also shinier than my future

Jay Park and MCM’s CVO Sung-Joo Kim, among others discussed the influence of K-pop on luxury trends in a lively panel.


In the spirit of digital sharing, Jay Park kindly (and jokingly) offered to remove his shirt if it would help make Suzy’s photo with him more viral.

The last panel of the day featured Irene Kim, Liu Wen and Sasha Luss, where they each discussed how Instagram factors into their careers as models and also digital influencers.


Irene Kim, Liu Wen, Sasha Luss with Vogue China’s Angelica Cheung and Suzy Menkes


Liu Wen was amazingly sweet!

Day 1 ended with a future-themed party at the Zaha Hadid designed DDP (Dongdaemun Plaza), complete with colorful ‘street stalls’ with various cuisines and a Suzy Menkes character.

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On Day 2, K-beauty was one of the first topics on the agenda. I was nervous but excited to present the latest K-beauty trends and how these trends fit into the luxury landscape to such a diverse, international audience.  For me, K-beauty at any price point and packaging, is a luxury because of the sensorial textures, results and experience that it offers.


After speeches from Gian Giacomo Ferraris, CEO of Versace and shoe designer Rupert Sanderson, my favorite talk of the day was Steve J and Yoni P. Their energy was infectious (a nice reminder that high fashion didn’t have to take itself so seriously) and it was incredible to see the rapport and love between the husband-wife designer duo.

Another nice moment was when Nicola Formichetti, creative director of Diesel and former stylist to Lady Gaga (yes, he was behind the infamous meat dress) paused during his talk about his career to mention that Suzy was a constant source of support since the beginning of his career as a designer.

The last event of the conference was the re-opening of the MCM flagship store in Cheongdam, with Jay Park giving a performance at the end of the night.

In summary, it was a packed 2 days, full of inspiring talks and insights into the future of the fashion and beauty industry. It was also great to see Suzy Menkes host the conference, moderate panels and interact with all of the attendees and speakers. I had read Suzy’s articles for years, but it was lovely to see that she was incisive yet considerate, extremely kind and genuinely curious.  Thank you again to CNI & Suzy for having Glow Recipe be a part of this conference and speak to all of the great milestones that K-beauty is having right now!


Get your glow on,

P.S. Follow us on Snapchat (glowrecipe) or #glowinseoul to see the latest scenes from my trip to Korea!

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