Inside Louis Vuitton's Most Exclusive Shopping Experience
On a clear evening in Beverly Hills, at a $100 million palace designed by Paul McClean that is, fittingly, called Opus, a handful of deep-pocketed locals wandered the grounds. It wasn’t the food that wooed the attendees (although, in very un-L.A. fashion, everyone ate the deconstructed key lime dessert), it was Louis Vuitton.
Experiences are the trend du jour at the top levels of fashion, and the French luxury goods giant had managed to take the concept to new heights—literally, as the house offers sweeping views of Los Angeles.
Maison Beverly Hills, as the event was called, was an immersive shopping experience that would be open for one-on-one appointments to the most discerning clients for just two weeks, with the very best in furniture, decor, hard-sided trunks, and exotic leather curiosities flown in from around the world for their perusal, and, if all went according to plan, acquisition.
In a retail culture of constant one-upmanship, it’s no longer enough to court big spenders with exquisite products—the rich already own fabulous things—they must be seduced with a premium form of direct-to-consumer. “Brands are spending money to make clients feel as if they’re part of the family,” says celebrity stylist Tara Swennen, who works with Kristen Stewart, Allison Janney, and Matthew McConaughey. “They’re finding new and creative ways to entice customers, and customers are responding.”
A brand that covers its signature trunks with a logo known around the world, and with an archive that dates back to 1854, Vuitton manages to capture status and exclusivity in a subtle whisper to the past and a nod to the future. The label introduced its travel-inspired furniture and lighting collection, Objets Nomades, in 2012 at Design Miami, and it has upped the ante each year with a murderers’ row of design collaborators to rival those of its ready-to-wear line: Barber & Osgerby, the Campana brothers, and Atelier Oï.
“Our philosophy is very much based on work made by hand, on recovering traditions that are in danger of disappearing,” says Humberto Campana. “Louis Vuitton is a symbol of tradition in craftsmanship.”
Hammock by Atelier Oi (price on request), louisvuitton.com
In May, Vuitton brought all its offerings together under one tony roof at the Maison. The Campanas’ playful Cocoon chair, one of the special items available for purchase, was a social media magnet, but the pièces de résistance were Les Petits Nomades, a sister Objets collection focusing on smaller pieces designed in -collaboration with the likes of the Campanas, Patricia Urquiola, and Marcel Wanders that was making its American debut after premiering at Salone del Mobile. The collection hits stores this winter, just in time for Christmas.
“Our philosophy is based on work made by hand, on recovering traditions that are in danger."
Although there was no requirement to buy, this was not a gun-shy crowd. A coterie of well-accessorized women also buzzed around the intricate Malle Haute Joaillerie, a soft, pink-lined, multi-hideaway jewelry trunk that is an ode to Place Vendôme’s finest jewelry houses. It had never been shown before. Nor had its utilitarian cousin, the so-called Malle Artiste, which is fitted with folding stool, travel easel, and paint palette and was the cause of much oohing and aahing. It sold quickly.
Still, as they walked through a gallery of classic trunks, bar sets, and games, the attendees didn’t fret. They know nothing is ever discontinued at Vuitton; all pieces are available for purchase—by special order. If you can think it, they can make it, and they often do. A handful of stores even have artists on-site who offer complimentary consultations and hand-paint LV’s hard-sided trunks.
By the time dinner was served, with the Los Angeles skyline emitting its movie star glow in the distance, the guests had scattered to take in the last of the experience. Because the only thing better than shopping in the comfort of your own home is…shopping in the luxurious comfort of someone else’s.
This story appears in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Town & Country. SUBSCRIBE NOW
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.