Louis Vuitton will not be put in a box—or a monogrammed trunk, for that matter. Over the past 160 years, the French label has expanded beyond luggage and leather goods to fashion and accessories to pop-up restaurants and interactive exhibitions. Now, it’s opening a hotel.
Chairman and CEO Michael Burke has told Women’s Wear Daily that the brand’s headquarters in Paris, France, will soon be turned into a giant complex featuring the world’s first Louis Vuitton hotel and the largest-ever LV boutique.
With spectacular views stretching from the Eiffel Tower to the Notre-Dame cathedral, the storied Vuitton building is located by the Church of Saint Germain l’Auxerrois in the first arrondissement. Burke says this neighborhood was once “a no man’s land,” but Louis Vuitton’s parent company, LVMH Moët Hennessy, has radically transformed it over the past 18 months.
The world’s largest luxury conglomerate has opened the lavish new Cheval Blanc hotel, spruced up the La Samaritaine department store and unveiled a new Cova pastry outpost. According to Burke, LVMH’s chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault is just getting started, too, with even more venues and businesses in the Parisian pipeline. The move reflects the growing demand for high-end experiences in addition to top-tier products.
“That’s what our clients want from us,” Burke told WWD. “They want a 24/7 relationship.”
The dramatic transformation of the 400,000-square-foot headquarters started this week with the launch of a new experiential space called LV Dream. Set to remain open for a year, the 20,000-square-foot pop-up features an exhibition of LV’s collaborations with artists, along with a gift store plus a cafe and chocolate shop run by the head pastry chef at Cheval Blanc Paris. Burke says the event space will “most probably” be turned into Vuitton’s largest store, while the hotel is expected to open elsewhere in the building within five years.
Although the Cheval Blanc is only a two-minute walk away, Burke is not worried about the future LV hotel encroaching on its territory: “It would be its own identity, and own segment and own service—a completely different experience,” he says.
Hey, who doesn’t enjoy a little friendly competition?