A new Louis Vuitton boutique has just opened in Sydney’s George Street and the very first thing to greet shoppers will be a giant kangaroo made up from thirty or so of the luxe brand’s bags, perched in the front window. Designed by Billie Achilleos – alongside a koala and a crocodile – the installation injects a note of humour into an otherwise very serious style palace. The other Australian accent at the store’s launch was that of Cate Blanchett, who was invited to cut the ribbon alongside with LV’s chairman and CEO Yves Carcelle.
Only the second of its kind in the world (the inaugural out-of-town tryout was in Milan), this store is branded as a Maison, which means that it houses all of the leather and ready-to-wear collections, as well as several made-to-measure services. The building on the corner of King Street was once the ANZ Bank, although one imagines that the value of the stock housed within the glossy interiors is probably worth more than the cash once stored in the vault. The ground floor, once the main banking chamber, retains the old columns and decorative ceilings and makes for a very grand entrance indeed. Surfaces are covered in a variety of highly polished tan timbers and a cream marbled floor.
Take the elliptical, curved staircase to the first floor for the men’s section, where in addition to leather goods and clothing you will also find the area for custom ordered shoes and belts. One floor further up and you are in a women’s world of sleek suiting, dresses and of course shoes and bags. The ‘Haute Maroquinerie’ service on this level allows you to design your own handbag.
We asked Yves Carcelle whether the ongoing international financial crisis is likely to affect the success of this grand venture. “Well, people might think we don’t know what tomorrow will bring,” he smiled, “but gee I really like those new shoes.”
Let’s hope his confidence is justified.
Louis Vuitton Maison
365 George Street, Sydney
1300 883 880