Retail of the future
When experts agree that food has replaced ready-to-wear, what they really mean is that today’s consumers would rather live a moment than gather more clothes, bags and shoes to one’s. Far is the time of It-bags. It is therefore not surprising that luxury companies are purchasing food brands — as LVMH and Prada just did in Milan.
LVMH indeed acquired 80% of the capital of Italy’s oldest and very famous pasticceria Cova, while Prada took hold of the Marchesi pastry shop, a Milanese institution founded in 1824. Recently, luxury groups seem to have another fixed idea: hotels. As we are expecting the opening of Cheval Blanc in place of the late Samaritaine (which is meaningful of the evolution of Paris…), we learn that Zadig & Voltaire is about to open a hotel on rue Saint-Honoré, that Kitsuné is developping the same project, but in Bali (in 2021), and that the founder of Bensimon also dreams of an establishment able to house the spirit of the brand, first a fashion name before becoming an interior designer player.
Fifteen years ago, the Spanish footwear company Camper pioneered the concept with the launch of its first hotel in Barcelona, before another in Berlin. The phenomenon has also existed for a long time in Italy where the Armani, Bulgari, Ferragamo, Fendi and Benetton resorts have stopped to surprise anyone. Nothing exceptional in a world dominated by images.
Hotels give luxury brands new ways of expression (they represent a crossroad between fashion, art, wine and gastronomy) where they can treat their customers with new epicurean experiences made to strengthen the sense of belonging to a community. The winning formula of the moment. Ultimately, it is also a way to reinvent hospitality as much as retail, through more services and experiences.
If clothes evoke lifestyle, hotels branded by fashion houses suggest a way of life. Not only are they addressing customers with strong buying power, but they also target anyone who considers brands as signs of their values and success. And there are more and more of them.
So What ?
Going beyond the simple framework of stores, expressing a wider universe than mere products, creating an art of living, staging the brand's vision of the world. Why should this ambition be limited to the fashion world?