How to strengthen the positioning of a department store

A bold renovation of the shoe department helped Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche energize its image and performance.

Le Bon Marché © Gabriel de la Chapelle


  • The brief
    Inject fresh energy into Le Bon Marché – the world’s first department store – to continue to offer shoppers an expertly curated selection of products in an environment designed for well-being and a diverse clientele.
  • The approach
    Progressively renovate the store, one space at a time, to align with new customer expectations while retaining the store’s DNA.
  • Results
    A totally revamped customer experience at a department store that successfully promotes its Parisian roots while engaging with an international clientele, a strategy that has led to dynamic growth in sales.


Le Bon Marché © Gabriel de la Chapelle


Le Bon Marché introduced a pioneering concept when it opened the world’s first department store in 1852. To mark its 160th anniversary in 2012, the store embarked on an ambitious renovation project. The modernization strategy revolved around several key concepts: carefully curated brand selection, creation of new tailored spaces and showcasing of the unique 19th century architecture signed by Louis-Charles Boileau…and none other than Gustave Eiffel.

In 2016, after four years of now virtually completed renovation work spanning 30,000 square meters of retail floorspace, the brand has totally reinvented itself while leveraging its DNA. Two clearly identified segments have been identified for the store’s two buildings, one dedicated to style, fashion and culture, the other to gourmet foods and homeware. To make it easy for shoppers to walk around the store, the two buildings are now connected on both the first and second levels by redesigned twin walkways, as well as via the Men’s department and Wine Cellar in the lower level. This reorganization also links the gourmet food store, La Grande Epicerie, directly with the Homeware department via a double escalator that echoes the one in the main store.


© Studio Kippik

“The concepts of space and the customer journey were at the heart of Le Bon Marché’s renovation. For a department store, managing the way customers move through the store is critical,”

© Le Bon Marché

The new shoe department is emblematic of this successful renovation. Inaugurated in February 2015, the new footwear emporium doubled in size and moved from the first to the second level in a spectacular architectural setting covering 2,000 square meters and bathed in daylight. Beneath an original Eiffel glass roof refurbished during the renovation, the department features an exclusive selection of over 80 brands and is visible from the ground floor of the store.

Some 30% of the shoes on display at Le Bon Marché are exclusive offers. Each season also features a specific trend reprised by partner brands. Following “Glitter” for the launch, the latest theme is “Crazy Animals”, introducing shoes designed specially for Le Bon Marché. A pop-up space showcases individual brands such as Nicholas Kirkwood for its tenth anniversary celebrations in  late 2015, or Berluti this winter to mark the launch of a capsule collection of women’s shoes.

Le Bon Marché © Gabriel de la Chapelle

The new shoe department was designed inhouse by the architecture team, which worked closely with commercial teams, buyers and the styling department. It has proved a spectacular success with both customers and the media. Sales surged 50% in 2015 with a very youthful clientele, and enthusiastic media coverage has cast a glow on the entire department store.

“The more credible we are among Paris shoppers, the more international customers we attract. And the average age of our customers is now 12 years younger than it was in 2012,”

Le Bon Marché saw strong overall growth in sales in 2015 with 15% growth from local clientele and 30% from international customers. Supported by a totally updated range of services and a new ad campaign signed by Martin Parr, these results confirm the effectiveness of an audacious long-term strategy anchored in the credibility and unique identity of Le Bon Marché.

Le Bon Marché © Martin Parr

Key figures

  • 30% Exclusive brands
  • +50% Growth for shoe department in 2015
  • 300000 m² of Retail space renovated since 2012

Successfully executing a historic change of head office

Fendi’s major move in Rome



  • Objective
    Bring all Fendi employees based in Rome together under one roof in a new head office in a mythic building, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. This exceptional site inspires creativity and positive energy among Fendi staff while signaling Fendi’s longstanding commitment to “Made in Italy”.
  • Approach
    Championed by Fendi general management, this unifying project engaged all employees right from the initial announcement, thus ensuring that everyone was on board to support the move.
  • Results
    Fresh impetus for the Roman house. A strong sense of pride among staff in being part of Fendi, driving both motivation and efficiency.


Arches © Hélène Binet


All Fendi teams in Rome have been working together since summer 2015  in their prestigious head office building, the Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. Dubbed “the Square Colosseum”, the building was built in 1937 for the 1942 Universal Exhibition, which never took place. Although it has since figured in many movies shot in Rome, the building had never been opened to the public until Fendi arrived. Situated between the mountains and the sea on one of the highest points in Rome and bathed in natural light, the place inspires creativity and positive energy for all the staff who work there.

In 2012 Fendi management was actively seeking a building to accommodate all its staff in Rome, who were at the time split between two locations, one in the center of the city and the other in the suburbs, and reached out to municipal authorities. The rediscovery of the historic Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana met with unanimous enthusiasm, led by Fendi  Chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari, who instantly grasped the huge potential of the site. Discussions with the city of Rome progressed quickly and an agreement was signed in July 2013. It then took a year to design the layout for the building’s new configuration and obtain permits for renovation, followed by another year of construction work.


Entrance © Andrea Jemolo

Fendi teams moved to their new offices during the first half of 2015. The move went very smoothly thanks to upstream internal communication by the Human Resources team and seamless coordination between HR and the Fendi operating real estate department, which was in charge of the worksite.

A survey of Fendi employees was also conducted early in the process to address any questions people had as work progressed. Transportation, infrastructure and other issues were all taken into account in preparing the new head office. Regular visits to the site were organized during the construction so that employees could become familiar with their new surroundings.

Office © Andrea Jemolo

The seven floors are divided by department: one for design, another for supply chain and products, etc. An open space configuration was chosen, but the building also offers numerous meeting rooms – 27 in all. Bringing everyone together in the same building has made exchanges more fluid and sharpened efficiency.

© Studio Kippik

“The pride that all Fendi employees feel when they come to work each day in such an incredible place is actually palpable!”

Management has thought of everything to make employees’ lives easier. There is a private shuttle between the metro station and the Palazzo, and special agreements have been negotiated with day care centers near the head office for parents who want to register their children. Other amenities include a messenger service to handle day-to-day tasks such as going to the post office or dry cleaning.


Lounge © Andrea Jemolo

To let staff take possession of “their” building, the inaugural evening on October 22 was followed by a private Christmas party for Fendi employees and partners. A temporary transparent structure was set up at the foot of the building, allowing revelers to admire the stunning Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana while they danced.

Another fun and innovative touch was an internal photography contest to immortalize the new Maison Fendi head office. The five winning photos were printed and hung on the walls of offices. For management, the success of this move was largely tied to the engagement of all Fendi staff, who were involved in this exciting project right from the outset.

The first year clearly showed the benefits of the move with a big jump in efficiency. The opening of the company restaurant was a finishing touch to the successful move that has been rich in symbolism for Fendi, whose new head office building is firmly rooted in Italian history.

© Studio Kippik

“We’ve had press coverage around the world since the inauguration. More than simply a head office, this building has become an international showcase for Fendi.”

Key figures

  • 2013 Building renovation launched
  • 500 employees now working together at the same site
  • 19000 square meters of office space renovated

How to build a watchmaking icon in a decade

Case study: Hublot Big Bang

The Big Bang


  • Objective :
    Create an iconic watch designed for a young, cosmopolitan clientele to re-energize Hublot’s brand image.
  • Strategy :
    Defy convention by transposing the concept of “fusion” to watchmaking, featuring a case made of unprecedented materials, while at the same time unlocking new production synergies.
  • Results :
    In less than ten years, the Big Bang has become a true watchmaking icon, winning the hearts – and wrists – of 300,000 aficionados around the world.
Ricardo Guadalupe and his design team © Hublot / Fred Merz


In 2004, Jean-Claude Biver and Ricardo Guadalupe, now respectively President of the LVMH Watch Division and Chief Operating Officer of Hublot, took the helm of Hublot, a watchmaker founded in the 1980s. At the time, Hublot had made a splash by offering a watch whose case combined gold and natural rubber. But by the early 2000s sales had begun to wane. To give the House a fresh boost, Jean-Claude Biver capitalized on the original idea to invent a fusion concept for watchmaking, proposing a new take on high-end chronographs that spotlights functionality and the performance of the case, along with the materials in which they are made. This was a bold gamble in an industry deeply attached to traditions and the methods of time-honored craftsmanship. The concept became the cornerstone behind Hublot’s renaissance. And the ultimate expression is the Big Bang.


© Studio Kippik

“Fusion was already ubiquitous in fields like architecture and gastronomy, but in 2005, the idea of fusion was something still very new in watchmaking.”

To apply the fusion concept, Jean-Claude Biver and Ricardo Guadalupe set out to design an entirely new model of watch. Inspired by the way legendary guitarist Les Paul captured the functional essence of an acoustic guitar to invent the electric guitar, they wanted to accomplish the same thing for watches. The case had to accommodate a combination of novel materials to create a distinctive aesthetic while developing new technical characteristics. The design had to be rationalized to facilitate the use of complementary and interchangeable components, making it easier to create new models and limited editions.

These imperatives spawned the idea of a “sandwich” case made from five parts, compared with three for a conventional watch, along 70 components. Thanks to this architecture, all the components that were once hidden become visible, enabling a fusion of different materials. The Big Bang was born, paying tribute to the excellence of Swiss watchmaking craftsmanship while at the same time propelling it into the future.

The first model was unveiled in 2005 at the industry’s prime time event, the Baselworld show. Pairing a natural rubber strap with a case in 18K pink gold and a ceramic bezel, it was an instant hit. By the end of the show, Hublot had multiplied sales by a factor of 5.5 versus the previous year.

© Hublot / Usain Bolt

“We went where luxury had never gone before, into the worlds of soccer, basketball, athletics and rock music.”

Sporty, with the look of a thoroughbred, the Big Bang boasts a movement containing 252 components, including a tungsten rotor, and is water resistant at up to 10 bars (100 meters). The watch is not marketed like conventional high-end timepieces. Hublot targets a new generation of watch lovers, intrepidly adventuring into realms that were previously unexplored by watchmakers. Over the years it has partnered with a host of modern-day icons, including rock stars (Depeche Mode), graffiti artists (Pamela Castro), athletes (Usain Bolt, the Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich football clubs), Formula One heroes (Ferrari team) and more. This diversity of partnerships is possible thanks to the ultra-modular construction of the Big Bang, making it possible to adapt the icon into a multitude of exclusive models, underlining the key to its impact and success.

Hublot has at the same time conceived a succession of amazing associations to create an infinite variety of Big Bang watches. Over ten years the case has been crafted in gold, rubber, titanium, ceramic, carbon, Texalium and other exotic materials. Hublot even developed its own Magic Gold, cast right at the manufacture. Made of a gold and ceramic alloy, Magic Gold is so resistant it can be scratched only by a diamond.

© Hublot

The Big Bang is also an astounding watchmaking feat in that it has become an icon in less than ten years, winning over 300,000 customers around the world. Hublot’s sales were 20 times higher in 2014 than in 2004. The brand is present in 39 countries and has 77 brand-owned stores. This vitality enabled the House to inaugurate a high-tech manufacture in 2009, a 6,000-square-meter facility on the shores of Lake Geneva, and to develop its own Unico movement. The Unico is a column wheel movement with a double clutch, containing 330 components. It naturally made its debut in a Big Bang watch in 2010, giving Hublot fresh impetus to continue forging new paths to the future. In September 2015, a second building will be inaugurated at the manufacture, crowning the brand’s success.

Key figures

  • 5.5 times increase in sales after Hublot introduced the Big Bang in 2005
  • 70 components in the Big Bang case
  • 5 to 7 years are needed to add a new material to a Big Bang design

How do you successfully launch a new perfume?

Case study: Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire


  • Objective:
    Create a major women’s perfume able to win over a new, younger clientele and become a myth around the world.
  • Strategy:
    Differentiate from the competition with a bold launch – orchestrated entirely by in-house teams – spanning the bottle, the name and the advertising.
  • Results:
    A fresh image and a surge in recognition for Guerlain thanks to a creation that has figured among the top-selling women’s fragrances worldwide since its launch.


La Petite Robe Noire © All rights reserved Guerlain


When he arrived at the helm of Guerlain in 2007, Laurent Boillot and his teams defined ten ambitious projects that would scale up the House to a new dimension. The program included renovation of the historic boutique at 68, Champs Elysées in Paris, launching an online store and building La Ruche, the new Guerlain production site in Chartes for skincare and makeup. The Guerlain CEO’s agenda also included creation of a new fragrance for women that would let Guerlain attract a new clientele. That fragrance is none other than La Petite Robe Noire!


© Studio Kippik

“La Petite Robe Noire was inspired by a true icon of femininity. The result is a major fragrance that truly disrupts the traditional codes of the perfume sector.”

With an elite launch in 2009 as part of the Exclusive Collections, the fragrance was initially sold only in Paris stores, where consumer response was very enthusiastic. Following this success, La Petite Robe Noire was reinterpreted in 2012 by Guerlain’s in-house nose, Thierry Wasser, who designed a custom-tailored fragrance with black cherry, patchouli and rose, all in audaciously excessive doses. More sublime than ever, the new take on the fragrance was ready to conquer the world, supported by a groundbreaking launch strategy.

The decision was rapidly made to eschew the traditional use of a celebrity “face” for a fragrance, opting instead for a sophisticated silhouette whose playground was all of Paris. Behind the scent of La Petite Robe Noire is the ultimate Parisienne, a rebellious personality with a touch of insolence.

Working in seamless coordination, Guerlain’s marketing, communications and creative teams called on the talented illustrators Kuntzel+Deygas to bring her to life. La Petite Robe Noire frolics in a delightfully fresh staging on the edges of fragrances and fashion. This handmade, custom-tailored creation perfectly captures the rich personality of the fragrance.

“Every aspect of the creative work and subsequently each chapter in the international launch was designed to be surprising, different and audacious.”

The launch campaign was designed 100% in-house without any outside agency. It expresses Guerlain’s creative audacity at every level: the animated ad showcases La Petite Robe Noire against the backdrop of Nancy Sinatra’s iconic hit These Boots are Made for Walkin’. Free-standing cutout silhouettes were displayed in all major French cities. Others graced famous “Morris” outdoor advertising columns in conjunction with a special Kuntzel+Deygas exhibition at 68 Champs-Elysées. La Petite Robe Noire was also drawn on the back of a double-decker bus, and a major media campaign was orchestrated.

La Petite Robe Noire can claim the enviable title of the best ever launch in the history of women’s fragrances in France. It topped the symbolic one million units sold in just three months. At the end of 2012 the fragrance ranked No. 2 in women’s fragrance sales in France. The launch campaign – the fruit of teamwork across all of Guerlain – was also honored by a flurry of awards in France and around the world, including Best Global Advertising (Grand Prix Stratégies), Audacity Award (Marie-Claire), Best Advertising Film (Fifi Awards UK), among others.

Key figures

  • 1 No. 1 in sales in France for 9 weeks in a row after the launch.
  • 0 Ad agencies used for the launch.
  • No. 1 Best launch in history for a women’s fragrance in France.

How do you balance logistics performance and environmental responsibility?

Case study: Louis Vuitton Supply Chain certification

© Louis Vuitton Malletier / Mazen Saggar


  • Objective:
    Deploy Louis Vuitton’s commitment to exemplary environmental performance around the world by embedding it in the company’s supply chain.
  • Strategy:
    Integrate environmental criteria – via certification – directly in Louis Vuitton’s supply chain policy, including all the company’s transportation and logistics partners.
  • Results:
    Louis Vuitton’s Supply Chain for leather goods – from shipments by workshops to delivery to stores – received ISO 14001 certification in 2013.


© Louis Vuitton / Jean-Philippe Caulliez


Louis Vuitton has been defined by a pioneering spirit since its founding in 1854, making it natural that the House also be a trailblazer in environmental performance. Achieving certification for the Supply Chain thus carries on this legacy. In 2013 Louis Vuitton became the first French company to earn ISO 14001 certification (the global benchmark Environmental Management System) for a portion of its supply chain.

The result of more than 20 years of environmental commitment, this certification process mobilized all Louis Vuitton teams, especially Supply Chain & Logistics and Environment & Innovation teams. The team also benefited from close cooperation with the LVMH Environmental Department and its auditors.

To achieve certification the team focused on two key components in the supply chain:

– Inventory and supplies: precise management of sales forecasts and inventory quality enables the House to use maritime shipping for part of its international shipments;

– Logistics and transportation: Louis Vuitton uses external partners who are regularly challenged against environmental criteria in requests for proposals.


© Studio Kippik

“When the first request for proposals was issued in 2011, on the very same day we met with transportation providers we had invited to bid to explain that environmental factors were essential to our future collaboration.”

For logistics, partners work together to drive continuous improvements, mainly to reduce water, electricity and packaging consumption. All Louis Vuitton logistics platforms worldwide have now obtained ISO 14001. Two of its warehouses have also received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

The Louis Vuitton EOLE logistics center in Cergy, outside Paris, spearheaded and is emblematic of this commitment. The center integrates exemplary environmental standards with geothermal heating, enhanced building insulation, and filtering of rain and wastewater. All Louis Vuitton logistics centers also combine respect for the environment with optimal working conditions for employees.


© Studio Kippik

“ Green Supply Chain is not an isolated issue but an integral component in Louis Vuitton’s relationships with suppliers and every bit as important as other factors.”

For product transportation, environmental impact is included right from the first request for proposals sent to a dozen service providers. The RFP is written in collaboration with the Logistics department, but also includes input from specialists in customs clearance, finance and security. Selected transport partners must then provide comprehensive reporting on their compliance with ISO 14001 norms.

Concretely, every effort is made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Louis Vuitton asks its transport partners to train their drivers in eco-driving, give priority to nonstop flights with a low carbon footprint and whenever possible use trucks compliant with the Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards (either hybrid or electric) for the final delivery kilometers to stores, whether in Paris, Tokyo or Hong Kong.

© Louis Vuitton / Nicolas Turini & Eric Fenot

To monitor environmental performance, each zone where Louis Vuitton is present around the world has an internal environmental representative who has direct contact with suppliers for key environmental issues. Thanks to this proactive and ongoing environmental commitment, supply chain certification is now a reality at Louis Vuitton.

Key figures