Luxury’s Brick-and-Mortar Comeback: Let’s Get Physical, Physical
The basic reason I am optimistic about the future of luxury is the fact I believe you don’t bet against human nature. Luxury fulfills the need to fit in, to belong to a community, get recognized, and rise within the Maslow pyramid, from fulfilling your basic needs to reaching self-actualization. As Aristotle said, “Man is by nature a social animal,” he can’t survive in isolation. And man has been isolated unwillingly for quite a while now with this pandemic! That’s the basic reason why I believe you don’t bet against brick-and-mortar stores; that, and the reality that most luxury brands cater to first-time purchasers who want to look, feel, smell, and touch the product that is often considered as an investment.
One of the most visible stories in luxury this week has been the reopening of La Samaritaine in Paris after the iconic department store had been shut for 16 years. In normal times, this may have grabbed a headline or two. This week, the level of attention around this reopening has been close to dumbfounding. As images of the stunning revamp circulated online, French president Macron was filmed inaugurating the venue with an entire suite of top managers from LVMH (the group owns La Samaritaine and its travel retail arm DFS is running it) to cheers of hundreds of employees in a display of authentic joy and a sense of community. Observers may have been surprised that the French president had time for this the day after what seemed like a tough electoral evening for him, but the reopening will create jobs (up to 3,000 apparently) and certainly a message of hope in the French capital after a long period of COVID-19 related travel restrictions, curfews, and more.
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