Sydney - Louis Vuitton George Street Maison
Louis Vuitton, the harbinger of expensive but potentially rewarding experiences, the symbol of quality and elegance, and an European tradition hallowed by many of the new rich in rising China and India economies, has opened a flagship outlet at the corner of King and George Streets in Sydney CBD. Officially it is known as the Louis Vuitton George Street Maison, opened on 2 December 2011. This follows the opening of another maison in Singapore's Marina Bay precinct. Its neighbour in Sydney is the second largest Apple store in the world. Its staff attending to clients on the floor are minimally university graduates. On the morning of my visit, the scene could be summed up by Indian sales staff taking care of mostly China buyers. There was no rush at the entrance, but two well dressed staff members controlled the flow of visitors by opening and closing doors. When you enter the three level delight, you first notice the high backlit ceilings, sense the buzz of eager buyers (mostly women) and know that you are going to enjoy a very well planned and thought of experience in checking out both clothes and accessories for both genders.
The outfit is thought to have cost around 10 million Aussie dollars to set up. This is the tenth LV store for Australia. Another good reason to drop by this store is the choice of personalising your selection of an LV purchase, an option not to be taken lightly as it may not be available elsewhere. Japanese tourists have been in obsession with LV for so many years, and this may draw them back to Sydney. Above, one of the several wide-sized shopping display windows that stand out in striking red. Below, a bicycle on an upper floor that caught my eye, combining perhaps the best of French daily life and the exquisite LV touch.
LV is a master of catching attention, celebrating the unique and providing excellent taste. I immediately fell for the rooster (picture above), active, inquisitive and purposeful. The contraption was made of various LV products, cleverly combined and created into a wholesome piece having a separate life of its own, so to speak. Individual items, glowing and beaming, are carefully placed in clear glass displays over the various floors, suggesting more of the Louvre in Paris rather than a fine jewellery shop. There is space, plenty of it, in this magical retail outlay, space to walk, space to admire and space to contemplate. Staff wear dark suits, carry themselves with both a purpose and a smile and the result is to make the client comfortable enough to make a decision. I came across a young Caucasian lady of not more than twenty years old, holding a beautifully wrapped LV box, beaming to her parents, as the latter had to take a picture of this important moment in time, in this young lady's life. I felt that truly, madly and deeply, this roadside take was as important as her prom, her graduation and her first kiss.