As the fashion industry descends on Paris this week for the haute couture shows, one of the first stops will be the new Louis Vuitton jewelry boutique, a 160 square-meter store opening on Monday on Place Vendôme that represents the hottest trend of the moment: a move by companies that specialize in ‘soft’ luxury goods into ‘hard’ luxury.
On Sunday, Versace launched its first high jewelry collection, the one-off couture version of fine jewelry; in March, Salvatore Ferragamo introduced a fine jewelry line. Similarly, Bottega Veneta, Hermès, and Ralph Lauren have all moved into fine jewelry in the past few years, following the lead of Gucci, Chanel and Dior.
Hamdi Chatti, director of Louis Vuitton Watches & Jewelry, said the Vuitton brand extension, which began 10 years ago, was driven by consumer requests. Now the brand is actively looking to open further standalone stores in cities from New York and London to Hong Kong. “We intend to be a true player in this area,” he said.
Gian Giacomo Ferraris, Versace chief executive, also confirmed his company was planning stand alone fine jewelry stores.
Thomas Chauvet, a luxury goods analyst at Citibank , said: “The opportunity is enormous. Say the jewelry market is approximately $150 billion, and you take 5 percent of it: that’s about $7 billion. That’s almost two Cartiers.”Page 1 of 3 | Next Page