I will be posting a full account of the 2012 International Herald Tribune Luxury Conference shortly but I wanted to highlight Dame Vivienne Westwood's speech on Day 1 of the conference. As is always the case in a conference such as this one, there are some speakers who leave a more lasting impression than others. While Dame Vivienne's speech was not necessarily the easiest to follow or the most "on topic", it was by far the most entertaining and the most endearing.
She spoke on a dizzying number of topics ranging from the the power of corporations over individuals, the cost of a cooked chicken in London, her own travels in Africa and global warming, none of which at first blush seemed really connected to the conference theme of the promise of Africa. She was however reacting to previous speakers who had all touched upon the tremendous potential for economic growth represented by the continent's emerging middle class and their growing purchasing power without so much as a nod to the environmental implications thereof. And boy did she let them have it!
Dame Vivienne's views are not exactly mainstream or everyone's cup of tea but whether or not the conference's attendees agreed with them or not is beside the point. Her presentation was quite clearly heartfelt. She spoke her mind with sincerity and conviction. I respect that. Grazie mille Dame Vivienne!
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