Whispers have been circulating amongst the fashion and the property elite that Louis Vuitton may be in the midst of planning the launch of a new hotel in one of the most famous locations on Earth — the Champs-Élysées. While this may be mere heresay at the moment (perhaps wishful thinking), LUXUO weighs its possiblity and why venturing into luxury hotels may be the appropriate next step for the fashion giant.
LVMH is currently working on global expansion. In July, LVMH’s Bernard Arnault announced plans to sponsor the 2024 Summer Olympics in a first-of-its-kind deal that comes with a US$166 million (or approx. €150 million) payout and will include Chaumet medals and Moet Hennessy wine. The move is expected to draw international eyeballs from both the world of sport and style, something which LVMH aims to leverage for growth in brand awareness and potential affinity by athlete association. It is a move which Arnault aptly says, “will contribute to heightening the appeal of France around the world.”
Next, (or rather prior to that) Pharrell Williams was named as the new creative director of Menswear Louis Vuitton back in February. His appointment sees him succeed his predecessor, the late Virgil Abloh and as Pietro Beccari, Louis Vuitton’s Chairman and CEO puts it, “his creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter”. This is of course heavily due to Pharrell Williams’ twenty year background in music, art and of course fashion — establishing himself as a “cultural global icon” as Louis Vuitton puts it. Williams no doubt has a heavy influence in the music industry, again another sector Louis Vuitton may want to tap into, similarly (perhaps controversially) to how Adidas and Balenciaga teamed up with Ye a.k.a Kanye West for a collaborative collection that — at the time — saw resounding success.
Music, sport and most recently, the world of audio streaming. 14 September saw Louis Vuitton launch an exclusive podcast to take listeners “on a voyage alongside the visionaries that help write Louis Vuitton’s cultural history”. Dubbed “Louis Vuitton [Extended]”, the podcast is hosted by Loïc Prigent, a renowned French fashion journalist and documentary maker. The podcast is a bimonthly 20 to 40 minutes deep dive into the heart of the Maison which will feature the many creative minds and personalities behind Louis Vuitton’s audacious events and collaborations including Nicolas Ghesquière, creative director of Women’s Collections; Jacques Cavallier Belletrud, Master Perfumer and Francesca Amfitheatrof, artistic director of Watches and Jewellery.
So just who does Louis Vuitton feature in their inaugural episode? The aforementioned “cultural global icon” himself and perhaps the most internationally recognised name in the Louis Vuitton universe, Pharrell Williams. Episode one saw Loïc Prigent speak to Pharrell Williams about his first Men’s Spring/Summer collection as Louis Vuitton’s Men’s creative director, again leveraging on the pop culture “hype” surrounding Pharrell’s appointment and collection. Everything that Louis Vuitton has done so far has been to both resonate with the Louis Vuitton clientele while expanding to a new audience. One could argue that a recent revisit to one of the French house’s most commercially successful collaborative collections in history — with Yayoi Kusama — was both a tactical business move and a nostalgic move as it was aptly timed 10 years from the release of the first collection.
Back to the potential five-star Louis Vuitton hotel, according to “sources close to the real estate world”, Louis Vuitton, could be in the works to set up its very first hotel at 103 avenue des Champs-Élysées. A highly sought after piece of prime real estate both known for its stratigic location, visibility to the general public and where Dior may plan to establish their new headquarters and open a flagship store. According to the Fashion Network, the immense building, totaling 22,000 square-metres, is believed to be the largest single building on the Champs Elysées, “Europe’s most famous single avenue”. LUXUS Plus reports that the building at 103 is currently covered with a huge white tarp, itself covered with multiple Dior designs and that the change in numbers between the two houses is the result of an internal struggle in the wake of the appointment in February of Pietro Beccari as CEO of Louis Vuitton. LUXUS Plus further reports that the luxury giant could spend about €60 million per year just for the rent of the building, which belongs to the Qatari royal family.
If the rumours do end up being true, this would make Louis Vuitton the latest luxury label to branch out into the hospitality industry joining the likes of Versace’s Palazzo Versace, Bulgari’s Bulgari Hotel & Residences (which is part of the LVMH Group), Missoni’s Hotel Missoni Kuwait, Armani’s Armani Hotel Dubai, The Karl Lagerfeld: Luxury Macau Hotel and the Fendi Private Suites: Luxury Hotel Rome in City Centre. As LVMH has already conquered the world of watches and beauty, hospitality seems to be the next in brand venture line with their expansion, perhaps to accompany Cheval Blanc. The move would ultimately lend itself to Louis Vuitton’s clientele living in a fully conceptualised brand experience. In May, voters in Beverly Hills rejected a proposal by Bernard Arnault’s LVMH to build an ultra-exclusive hotel on Rodeo Drive after the luxury group spent “US$ 2.9 million on its campaign to gain approval in the ballot”, according to the Financial Times. Perhaps Parisians will be more welcoming to the idea?
Source : LUXUO