inner sanctum shopping flat
November 15, 2011 | By Shannon Kelly
© Stéphane Muratet / Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton's most valued customers are now allowed access, by invitation only, to a luxury apartment above the New Bond Street store in London. Preferred guests can curl up in one of three lounging areas near artwork by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Gilbert & George while working with one of six personal stylists. It’s the lone flat among within the Louis Vuitton network, although other locations have private meeting rooms and dressing rooms for one-on-one consultations.
According to Bloomberg, the retailer also uses the apartment, which has a bathroom but no bedroom, to host private functions, including dinners.
The apartment strategy is a clever tool for luxury retailers who want to sell more, but remaining exclusive. In a retail environment where elegant store design and customer service is commonplace, just the term "private apartment" creates a more intimate and exclusive impression of the shopping experience.
Devoting space to culture and comfort can be an expensive proposition, especially in a neighborhood where rents run as high as 1,000 pounds per square foot, but maintaining and elevating a brand's image is vital to its longevity. An invitation only salon, unlike an advertisement in a magazine, targets the brand's best customers while leveraging an image of culture, heritage, and craftsmanship.
It's a concept that, in more ways than one, is not for everyone.