• Maria Hvorostovsky

2019 Year in Review (Fashion, Beauty, Luxury & Lifestyle)

Updated: Mar 31

Overview of 2019


Lots of exciting developments and events took place this year in Fashion, Beauty, Luxury and Lifestyle. Lets take a look at a few of them...



3rd Jan - Fenty Beauty launches 50 shades of concealer as Rihanna continues to lead the way for inclusivity in the Beauty industry.


11th Jan - Lush open their first 'Naked' shop which cuts product packaging and is a fantastic step forward for plastic-free beauty products.


30th Jan - EU report found that only half of clothes are recycled and only 1%of these are turned into new clothes. 


2nd April - Kourtney Kardashian launches her new lifestyle brand 'Poosh', dedicated to health and wellness, life and style, interior design, beauty, motherhood, and more.


6th May - Lady Gaga, Billy Porter and Harry Styles stunned at the Met Gala. The theme was 'Camp: Notes on Fashion'.


10th June - Calvin Klein appoints first female CEO - Cheryl Abel-Hodges.


17th July - Zara sustainability pledge. Clothes to be made from 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025.


20th September - Jennifer Lopez wears that green dress at Versace Spring 2020 show, sparking a 1,200% increase in search for “green dresses”. 


30th Sept - Sustainable fashion brands dominate London Fashion Week. Brands that stood out for their practices and style include Vin+Omi, AV, DB Berdan, Riley Studio, Riona Treacy, Hanna Fiedler and Unaji.


1st October - Gigi Hadid confronts runway crasher at Chanel catwalk during Paris Fashion Week.


7th October - Kering organised a 48-hour hackathon called “Hack To Act” addressing sustainability challenges. 


8th September - Prabal Gurung uses Fashion Week to comment on immigration. Models wear "who gets to be American" sashes on the runway. When speaking about the show, he commented "we must remember all versions of our history and take ownership of our past while forging a new legacy."


18th November - Coty buys majority stake in Kylie Cosmetics for $600 million.


21st November - Victoria Secret officially cancels their annual fashion show after plunging profits, falling ratings and criticism over a lack of diversity.


25th November - LVMH buys Tiffany & Co for $16.2 Billion.


28th November - Black Friday 2019 saw shoppers spending more in store and breaking records online. We personally loved AllBirds' 'consume less' approach where they closed their flagship store in Covent Garden to open it up for free workshops and live music.


Year Review with the HVO Search Team


Maria Hvorostovsky, Founder and CEO



What has been your biggest challenge this year? 

Balancing running a business with motherhood. Parenting takes its toll physically and emotionally. I didn’t realise before that we don’t give enough credit to parents but especially mothers, those choosing to work or staying at home.


I never thought that being a woman hindered me in business, but I am seeing how the world (especially the world of work) isn’t well designed for women. 


We need to find more ways to support and encourage women to fulfil their potential!


What new skills have you learnt in 2019 that you will take forward with you in 2020?


Talking into the camera for all the online videos we are doing. Running an executive search company, I didn’t think I would ever be on a screen! But it’s 2019 and the way we communicate with the world and the market has changed. So I am learning to keep up with the times.


Expect to see me talking in our Hiring Series and Interviews with CEOs a lot on camera next year!


Discuss a positive change that has come out of the Fashion, Luxury, Beauty and Lifestyle industries this year? 


More focus on sustainability and circular economy.


Brands are increasingly conscious of the impact their products are having on the environment, from making cruelty-free, sustainable packaging in beauty to choosing to make products from materials that are either recycled or have a smaller impact on environment. It's great to see big brands such as H&M and Zara making a substantial change.


I was also pleased to see Vestiaire Collective opening permanent space in Selfridges.


Brands are also encouraging us to buy less - Allbirds for example closed its store this Black Friday to give free workshops and experiences to their customers rather than focus on mindless consumption. 

The resale market is also contributing to this trend. Look at Burberry teaming up with TheRealReal. There have been some great steps towards making product seem less disposable and hopefully ending up less and less in the landfill. 


I look forward to seeing more luxury businesses channeling innovation in 2020!


Has your approach to headhunting changed in 2019? And if so, how? 


Yes and no. Technology and the digital revolution may have changed how we find talent, but understanding people, staying close to and building solid relationships that last decades still remain the same.


Zia Paul-Birabi, HR and Commercial Director


What have been the biggest recruitment changes to the Fashion, Luxury, Beauty and Lifestyle industries this year?


The ongoing Brexit uncertainty has meant many brands have been hesitant to make ‘big’ decisions - not just in terms of manufacturing/supply, but also making ‘big’ hires.


In the last few weeks we’ve seen a lot more opportunistic hiring going on as businesses look to spend their budget before year end. Whether this will pay off for them next year remains to be seen, but certainly brands taking a more long term view are likely to be those that thrive. 


Do people hire differently now to how they did this time last year?


This year we’ve seen an increasing consolidation of C Suite roles, as brands try to be more creative with what they already have. Things have moved on significantly in the digital/marketing space in particular and many outdated responsibilities have been replaced by other, newer responsibilities. 


What advice would you give yourself a year ago about your career and personal development? 


For me it’s the realisation that true self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake, it is making the choice to build a professional and personal life you don’t need to regularly escape from. I wish I’d

learnt that sooner.


What is the best piece of advice you can give a CEO or HR Director when growing their team? 


Copious research shows our decision making can not be trusted. Involve others in the process that don’t think like you, and you’re much more likely to gain commercial perspective.

Don’t just think ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when it comes to hiring: using Behavioural Science techniques, such as ours or De Bono's thinking hats to fully explore the pros and cons of each hire.



Felipe Meggiolaro, Marketing Director


The way people absorb content is continually changing. What would your advice be to stay ahead of the curve in 2020?


Focusing on creating majority video content for Youtube and Instagram over photos and trying to be as dynamic as possible without the fear of creating something new.


What are the consequences of not investing in digital marketing for brands? 


Not to be remembered at all. If you don’t appear on the “feeds” you are not real (you don’t exist)


What are your predictions for how social content will change in 2020?


The Gen Z and younger generations will dictate which social media the companies should be if they still want to survive. I think TikTok will be important for a lot of companies marketing strategies next year!


What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learnt in 2019?


It doesn’t matter what do you think about what you want to do, if you don’t actually do it.

Who creates first in this era gets all the credits and recognition.


If you want to succeed on social media, you have to be as real as you can be, being real is easier and more relatable to attract followers / potential consumers. The visual quality doesn't necessarily matter, the more errors you make the more attention you will get. Funny / emotional content is always the best way to become viral.


Why you should be thinking of hiring at Christmas time - more than ever!


The Christmas period can be a confusing time for hiring. Often, companies will make rushed 'opportunistic' hires before the end of the year. Or they will hold off making a key decision before the new year.


However, if done right, now is absolutely the right time to make those strategic hiring decisions.


Why? Because a lot of time and resources are spent during the recruitment campaign. And this can be difficult to manage in the New Year after workloads begin to mount and new projects are taken on.


Rather than stretching your diaries in 2020, think about you recruitment strategy now. We can help you put together a considered approach that will sort the best of the best - schedule a call with me.