Photo Courtesy of Louis VuittonThe Latest openings from Breitling, Fendi, BMW, Proenza Schouler, Cartier & Jo Malone, in Paris, Singapore, London, New York, Abu Dhabi and Turin.
In a recent study by Capgemini regarding the future of physical retail stores, over half (51%) of the 16,000 participants expect that, by 2020, many physical stores will exist primarily as showrooms, places to display products available for order by various other channels. Which when you think about it, is a historical model that has long served the retail cycle of luxury cars.
With that in mind, it was interesting to note this month the push by luxury car brands into brand-owned and conceptualised retail spaces. This month it is Audi City London with a huge digitally driven concept store, last month it was BMW in Paris debuting its ?Future Retail? concept, both designed to connect directly from the brand to consumer.
Where car brands were once steered by a sprawling network of distributors, where one-to-one marketing was largely in the hands of the agent, social media has opened up direct conversations like never before, and this seems to be having a knock-on effect when it comes to physical retailing. In the past two months alone, BMW has opened stores dedicated to the 7-Series (Moscow) and its dedicated hybrid & electric brand, BMW i (London).
Now that communications have become more personalised and interactive at the hands of social media, it?s logical that the physical retail experience must follow. ?Mobile Internet is not just changing our shopping habits; it is altering the power balance in the consumer-retailer relationship,? explained Paul Hudson, Chief Executive of Intersperience.
?We are seeing the first wave of change in the retail sector but we predict it will become a powerful tide.? he continued. ?The onus is on retailers to make in-store shopping more attractive and rewarding to shoppers, from loyalty bonuses to limited edition goods, price matching and more personalised service.? And if these subtle shifts in brand-owned retail are indicative of the future, they will become carefully curated, digitally integrated, thoughtful destinations stores.
Aesop enlisted Japanese studio Torafu Architects for its latest skincare boutique in Tokyo, who chose chunky chipboard surfaces to be sanded and stained to look like marble. A muted brown stain coats the wooden walls and countertops and bottles sit within recessed shelves and openings.
Audi has unveiled its first Audi City location at London?s Piccadilly Circus, featuring giant LED screens that let customers design their own vehicles. The London opening marks the roll out of the concept in 20 ?affluent locations? in Europe, China, Russia and the U.S, by 2015.
Sales staff will be armed with iPad?s to help complete orders through an established dealer, and potential clients will be able to store draft designs on USB devices to change vehicle-option data on home computers.
Barneys has unveiled the latest piece of its multi-year renovation, a 2000sqm space dedicated to men?s and women?s designer shoes, as well as travel accessories by Givenchy, Balenciaga, and Rimowa.
Conceptualised under the direction of Dennis Freedman and interior design firm Yabu Pushelberg, the space featured white marble walls, brass fixtures, limestone flooring, iPad stations and brass-mesh glass cases to highlight specific labels.
Bottega Veneta has launched in Saint Tropez just in time for summer, with a boutique spanning 165sqm that will house a full range of ready-to-wear for men and women, bags, accessories, small leather goods, shoes, luggage, sunglasses, jewellery and perfumes. The store has been realised in keeping with the design concept by creative director Tomas Maier and features handmade walnut tables and doorknobs dressed in leather.
BMW has chosen London to launch its first i Store, a showroom for the carmaker?s new premium brand BMW i, based around electric and hybrid engines. The store currently features electric concept cars like the BMW i3 urban design and the i8 sedan, as well as BMW iPedelec, an electric bicycle concept.
Breitling has opened doors on its first Parisian flagship boutique a few steps away from the Place Vendôme, on rue de la Paix. The 145sqm flagship will carry the entire range of Breitling Watches, as well as first-class after-sales service and personalised support for Breitling owners.
British luxury watch brand Bremont has launched its first stand-alone store in London?s Mayfair. The two-level boutique has been designed with ?a club-like atmosphere? in mind, featuring with its very own bar.
?The boutique will be more than a traditional watch store,? explained Giles English, co-founder of Bremont. ?There will be an explorers? club based from there, a considerable watch library and it will also be the only place in the world to see unique items like the Bremont B-1 Marine Clock.?
Burberry has opened doors in Abu Dhabi, at Etihad Towers, featuring Burberry Prorsum, Burberry London and Burberry Accessories collections for both men and women. It follows the Burberry store design concept developed by Christopher Bailey, chief creative officer, and also showcases eyewear, fragrances and watches.
After months of careful refurbishment and redesign Cartier has unveiled a brand new boutique, designed by French interior architect Bruno Moinard, within the Harrods Jewellery room.
The re-imagined space showcases Fine Jewellery, a Bridal Salon dedicated to Cartier diamonds and a uniquely created ?Watch Wall?. All framed by two specially commissioned crystal chandeliers, designed by Windfall and manufactured in France.
Damir Doma has inaugurated a first flagship in Paris, inside a discreet courtyard at 54 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. The light-filled triplex ? with massive marble stairway by Australian architect Rodney Eggleston ? houses an assortment of men?s and women?s fashion on each floor, set against unpolished marble and raw walls.
Joining a string of luxury goods brands to open in S?o Paolo?s JK Iguatemi mall, Dolce & Gabbana has opened its first Brazilian store. The 670sqm space carries both the Dolce & Gabbana men and women?s clothing collections, along with the accessories lines, the jewellery collection, demi-couture, innerwear and makeup products.
Fendi has opened its latest Southeast Asian flagship at Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Ngee Ann City, Singapore.
The 200sqm store juxtaposes warm mood lighting and sensuous curved walls, against a gleaming floor wrought from exotic black lava stone. The store will feature a range of limited edition Baguettes, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the handbag.
IWC has launched its first Parisian boutique on rue de la Paix. The two-storey space, realised by the brand?s in-house architects, features unique decor for each of the different watch families. The elegant showroom commands a masculine and minimalist feel, combining chrome, brushed metal and wood.
Its third boutique in Italy, Jo Malone has opened doors on a new boutique in Turin, at the heart of the city?s exclusive shopping district. The store features the full range of Jo Malone fragrances and perfumes for the home, as well as a Tasting Bar, where customers can enjoy a relaxing massage for hands and arms, enabling them to sample creams and lotions.
Herm?s has opened a dedicated timepieces boutique in Fu Xin Meng Parkson shopping centre, Beijing. The 83sqm space will house the full range of La Montre Herm?s products and is the latest of 17 dedicated timepiece stores within key markets in Asia, USA and Europe.
Louis Vuitton has unveiled its first Chinese ?Maison? in Shanghai ? its 16th worldwide ? complete with a gilded spiral staircase and an invitation-only private floor that allegedly incorporates a hair salon. Specially designed by architect Peter Marino, the Maison showcases leather goods, ready-to-wear for women and men, luggage, watches, jewellery, and rare and exceptional products over four floors.
Louis Vuitton has launched its first space dedicated to fine jewellery on Paris?s Place Vendome, again designed by architect Peter Marino. The boutique will carry mid-range items, up to diamond and sapphire-encrusted necklaces and rings that can sell for millions. The brand will also design high-end jewellery on the premises, both in a series of collections and as made-to-measure pieces.
Louis Vuitton has also opened a new store within London?s Harrods, situated in The Central Hall on the Ground Floor. The brand is also set to launch its first Chinese Maison in Shanghai later in July.
Alongside project partner, Russian brand Gourji, Montegrappa has opened its new Moscow boutique within the restored Four Seasons Moscow Hotel. The 73sqm space will feature special editions White Nights, Russian Cosmopolitan, Kazan and Yuri Gagarin pen. The brand will also celebrate three fresh designs ? Moscow, St Petersburg and Russia ? later in the year.
Mulberry has launched among the streets of San Francisco, California, with its first store to house a dedicated gallery space, able to host exhibitions and events. Designed in close collaboration with renowned British architects Universal Design Studio, the store plays host to the brand?s growing collection of accessories, shoes and womenswear.
Following existing locations in Plaza 66 and International Finance Centre, Officine Panerai opened its third boutique in Shanghai last month. The 66sqm boutique is located in Nanjing Xi Lu, decorated with gold Calacatta marble flooring imported from Tuscany, teak wood wall panels and the brand?s iconic stucco walling finishing.
Swiss luxury watchmaker Piaget has opened its first Abu Dhabi flagship boutique at Etihad Towers, the brand?s seventh location across the GCC region. The Abu Dhabi space is the third in the world to launch under Piaget?s new architectural identity by Christine Querlioz, featuring a path made of black stones, framed by natural parquet and soft, warm lighting.
Prada has opened its latest boutique at Dubai?s Mall of the Emirates, designed by Roberto Baciocchi. One of the group?s largest globally, the 1,140sqm boutique features majestic marble, a succession of symmetrical rooms, luxurious carpeting and a mirror gallery.
Separate womenswear and menswear sections house the latest and signature collections, ranging from ready-to-wear, footwear, bags, accessories and a ?made-to-measure? area dedicated to bespoke clothing.
Proenza Schouler has chosen Madison Avenue for its first standalone boutique, describing the space as ?edgy and sophisticated but not overtly feminine,? featuring exposed beams, concrete walls, pipe fixtures accessories displayed on steel shelves.
The store will carry almost all of the brand?s runway looks and special exclusives, for the first few seasons picked by designers McCollough and Hernandez themselves.
Roger Dubuis has conceived its new boutiques ? launched in Hong Kong, Dubai & Singapore ? in the style of a jewellery box studded with invitations to discover the extraordinary world of the Geneva watchmaker.
The intimate and sophisticated environments have been outfitted with braided leather, bronze, and wood, whilst large display windows are animated by video. Lounges, libraries, and spaces devoted to cigars further enrich this unique experience in Luxury Watchmaking.
Rolls Royce has authorised local partner Avilon to open its second dealership in Russia?s capital city, Moscow, led by Anastasia Zbarskaya, General Manager for the Avilon Rolls-Royce business. The company has also opened a new sales and service facility in Nyon, Switzerland, near Geneva.
Zenith has opened a boutique exclusively dedicated to watches in Lucerne, where the concept store features the latest interior design concept for the brand. A private space has also been developed especially to welcome VIP customers.
The dominant theme is wenge wood combined with ?Chantilly? stone, creating a refined contrast between a deep chestnut brown and a luminous matt creamy shade.