Fashion giants Chanel and Louis Vuitton have chosen to go in opposite directions in terms of their site choices looking forward, underlining the choice available to retailers looking to set up shop in the capital.
Whilst Chanel recently announced it was to open four new stores in Piccadilly’s prestigious Burlington Arcade (in keeping with its other store locations in New Bond Street and Sloane Street), Louis Vuitton has announced its decision to create a temporary pop-up in Dover Street Market to display the fashion house’s Autumn/Winter collection.
The news appears to underline a difference in the ethos of the two companies. Chanel has signed a four-year lease on four additional units in the Arcade with the intention of opening stores for its subsidiary labels, including lingerie and swimwear brand Eres, milliners Maison Michel, watchmakers Bell & Ross and Scottish heritage knitwear label Barrie.
Burlington Arcade, opened in 1819 to the specifications of Lord George Cavendish, runs parallel to Bond Street and alongside the Royal Academy off Piccadilly. It is still patrolled by the uniformed Burlington Arcade ‘Beadles’ and has a long tradition of hosting upmarket retailers.
Melissa Gliatta, executive vice president at Thor Equities (which owns Burlington Arcade), said, “Our goal is to provide the highest-quality tenants”, and believes Chanel is “a wonderful addition to the arcade”.
The location for Louis Vuitton’s pop-up, however, has a much more modern feel. A department store with a “dynamic street market feel” that is cutting edge, with a “minimalist, functional interior” that is a far cry from the Burlington Arcade. By no means cheap, the design of Rei Kawakubo – using Portakabins to house the fashion designs – gives a contemporary feel that will juxtapose with Louis Vuitton’s haute couture image.
The brand’s Autumn/Winter collection (put together by Nicolas Ghesquière) will be displayed until 1st September, when it will be replaced with a display of the Spring/Summer 2015 collection designed specifically for the pop-up, coinciding with this year’s London Fashion Week.