Design Feature Stories

Retailers leveraging their brand

Giorgio Armani Hotel

If you were asked what LVMH, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli, Tiffany’s and Prada all do to make a crust, how would you answer? Suppose we said they were in the food and beverage game. Think we’re nuts? Read on – it’s about ‘leveraging the brand’.

The importance of a brand name and its use in these ever-changing times has become even more evident with a number of fashion labels beginning to leverage their good name for other practices. Luxury fashion label Gucci has opened a 50-seat restaurant named Gucci Osteria, headed by Michelin Star chef, Massimo Bottura, in Florence. Located inside the historic Palazzo Del Mercanzian, the restaurant décor is divided into a series of themed rooms. As well as restaurant, it’s also part museum, celebrating old advertising campaigns, artisan images and retro objects from the brand.

Gucci Osteria, Florence
Gucci Osteria, Florence

LVMH (Louis Vuitton) is opening a second branch of its gourmet grocery store ‘La Grande Epicerie’ in Paris. Occupying just short of 3,000m2 it sells over 30,000 gourmet products out of its four main departments: groceries, fresh produce, wines and cooking kitchens. Cheese, bakery, seafood and meats along with coffee and teas, sweets, fruit jams and olive oils can be purchased and gift wrapped in LVMH packaging. This follows in the footsteps of Giorgio Armani which has branded hotels in Dubai and Milan accompanied by restaurants and cafes.

LVMH La Grand Epicurie, Paris
LVMH La Grand Epicurie, Paris

Dolce and Gabbana have their Bar Martini and Martini Bistro in Milan, Bogota, South America and St Barthélemy in the Caribbean, honouring times past of restaurants from the early ’50s. As their website says, it’s about Mediterranean passion, an essential part of Dolce and Gabbana’s DNA, with a truly sensory experience. The Bar Martini in Milan is a ‘total black’ look with the only hint of colour being a red dragon rising from the floor. It’s dubbed as a place of total relaxation, jealously guarded within Milan’s Dolce and Gabbana men’s boutique and offers a patio and interior garden room to complete the experience.

Dolce & Gabbana Bar Martini, Milan
Dolce & Gabbana Bar Martini, Milan

Meanwhile Ralph Lauren has ‘Ralphs’ in Paris, Mayfair London, and Chicago as well as its Le Polo Bar in New York City that offers all-American contemporary food. Trip Advisor customer reviews say it serves the best hamburger in Paris and even fussy Parisians seem to have accepted the American designer, food and all.

Ralphs offers all-American contemporary food
Ralphs offers all-American contemporary food

International retailer Roberto Cavalli has a chain of cafes spanning Europe and the Middle East with opulent interiors serving traditional Italian dishes along with branded chocolates, vodka and wines. Not my cup of tea, pardon the pun, but suffice to say there’s a lot of bling among the leopard and zebra skin.

Roberto Cavalli has a chain of cafes spanning Europe and the Middle East
Roberto Cavalli has a chain of cafes spanning Europe and the Middle East

Tiffany’s has opened its Blue Box cafe in New York where you can actually have ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. You can eat a lot of things at Tiffany’s including the Charles Lewis club sandwich (named after the founder), Blue Box cake and a bunch of other American classics reinvented to be uniquely Tiffany. The ‘Blue’ comes from Tiffany’s trademark colour, and as you’d expect the walls, plates, furniture, etc are all in the colour synonymous with the brand. The trend has continued with Pasticceria Marchesi (pastry shop) and Bar Luce in Milan. The historic bakery and cafe, dating back to 1824, has been known for its excellent freshly baked pastries, cakes, cookies and candies, as well as being a place for a quick lunch or after-work cocktail. Bought by Prada in 2015, it has now opened its second store and has plans to open in Hong Kong and Japan.

Tiffany's Blue Box cafe, NY
Tiffany’s Blue Box cafe, NY

Prada now packages delectable takeaways uniting the two brands, taking retro style and making it absolutely modern. Bar Luce, also in Milan, was designed by film-maker Wes Anderson at the request of Prada. He’s best known for films including the Grand Budapest Hotel and was invited by Prada to create the main dining space in its new arts centre which occupies a converted distillery. The space takes reference from Milanese landmarks and cafes particularly from the 1950s and ’60s. These influences are visible in the details, colour and finishes from veneered wooden panelling to the colourful Formica furniture.

Prada Pasticceria
Prada Pasticceria

The designers’ aim was to create a mini version of Milan’s iconic Galleria Vittoria Emanuele shopping arcade.

Who knows where it will end, but one thing’s for sure, the fusion of fashion and food is an ever-growing trend.

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About the author

Tony Quinn

Tony Quinn is a Principal Architect at Hames Sharley, a national multi-award winning design practice specialising in architecture, interior design, urban design and planning. Tony has over 25 years’ experience within the retail and mixed use sectors, extending across master planning and design. Prior to joining Hames Sharley, Tony has directed award winning projects such as the Orion Springfield Queensland (mixed use) and Sovereign Hills Town Centre (mixed use). Tony also worked on projects such as No. 1 Martin Place (Sydney GPO), Grace Bros Broadway and Sydney Central Plaza redevelopments.

Tony is a member of the Australian Institute of Architects, Large Practice Committee (AIA) and International Council of Shopping Centres and is an active member of the Property Industry Foundation, as a former board member and chair of the Regatta committee.

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