“Twenty years ago, the easiest and cheapest way to buy into a luxury fashion brand was through their sunglasses or fragrance lines – you might not have been able to afford a thousand-pound suit, but maybe you could afford to spend £50 on a perfume or £100 on a pair of sunglasses,” so says Alasdair Lennox, executive creative director at retail design consultancy Fitch. “That’s all changing now.”
The change Lennox is referring to is the growing number of luxury fashion brands which are moving beyond the “wearable”, in favour of the experiential. To appeal to a generation that values doing over having, it appears more and more labels are turning to branded hospitality spaces.
Last month, the world was introduced to three such destinations: Gucci’s Gucci Osteria, located on Los Angeles’ high-fashion high street Rodeo Drive; Louis Vuitton’s Le Café V, housed inside its Osaka, Japan maison; and Tiffany’s Blue Box Café, in London’s Harrods department store. These examples follow in the footsteps of the likes of Burberry, Comme des Garçons, Prada and Dior.