As LVMH’s businesses regain momentum, Hublot, Zenith and Loro Piana all opened new flagships in Tokyo’s ultra-chic Ginza district in the space of a few weeks. The sumptuous buildings and their bold architecture express the confidence the three Maisons have in the Japanese market and their resolve to surmount the impact of the crisis.
While such high-profile events have become rare in the current environment, Loro Piana, Hublot and Zenith all went ahead with inaugurations of their stunning new flagship stores in Japan, symbolizing their confidence in the future. Julien Tornare, CEO of Zenith, confirms that this confidence is embedded in a long-term vision: “Despite the Covid-19 crisis and the short-term economic impact, our brand’s plans and ambitions remain intact. The foundations established in recent years and our very good 2019 results bolster our confidence in our strategy. And expanding our own-store network is a pillar of this strategy.”
The flagships of the three LVMH Maisons are all situated in the celebrated Ginza district of the Japanese capital, renowned for refinement and luxury shopping. The three buildings are equally stunning, expressing audacity and distinctive Japanese character. The magnificent buildings designed by Hublot, Loro Piana and Zenith have all become instant musts in Ginza. The Loro Piana tower was designed by Japanese architect Jun Aoki to express the sober and unique ethos of the Italian Maison. The elegant curves of the façade reflect the sensual fabric draping of the products that have earned Loro Piana global renown.
Fabio d’Angelantonio, CEO of the Italian Maison, notes the importance of the architecture’s impact: “The opening of a new flagship store in Ginza represents an extraordinary project, but also an extremely challenging step for us. This is the first time that Loro Piana is expressing its brand identity through architecture. In three words: “So Loro Piana”. It is a unique architectural proposition of strong visual impact, with the perfect measure of elegance.
Right next to the Italian brand’s building on Chuo-dori Street stands the striking all-black Hublot Tower. The eye-catching façade is covered in laminated glass panels scattered with mirrored pieces that shimmer with reflected sunlight during the day and seem to glow from within at night.
The interiors of the flagships have been meticulously crafted to reflect the personalities of each Maison. Hublot projects a contemporary and shining feel, while the neighboring Loro Piana store contrasts with understated serenity. The new Maison Zenith store on Namiki Dori Street invites visitors to an immersion into the brand universe. The ceiling evokes the watchmaker’s “Time to Reach Your Star” philosophy and the Story Bar offers a perfect spot for customers to relax and enjoy a drink while they learn more about Zenith from videos featuring the Maison’s history and savoir-faire.
The almost simultaneous opening of the three Hublot, Zenith and Loro Piana flagships invites the question of why such an attraction for Japan? The Land of the Rising Sun is the world’s biggest market for the two watchmakers and both wanted to reaffirm their position in the country. The Covid-19 crisis notwithstanding, Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe is unabashedly optimistic about this ambitious move. “This project has been in the pipeline for months and we wanted to complete it and affirm our presence in Japan, our largest market in terms of domestic sales, since sales to tourism clientele account for barely 5% of the total. So we’re expecting a faster rebound here than elsewhere.”
Zenith is equally upbeat, and Julien Tornare is delighted with the new Ginza location.: “Ginza is an amazing concentrate of the world’s most prestigious brands and most amazing stores. The district attracts a sophisticated and demanding clientele. The new flagship in this exceptional location brings Zenith heightened visibility and prestige.”
For Loro Piana, Japan was an obvious choice, as Fabio d’Angelantonio explains. “Japan is very much a quality driven market, with touch being key in ‘feeling’ the quality of the products. The Japanese also highly appreciate not only how an object appears, but also what’s behind it, its construction and details, aspects where Loro Piana excels.”
This confidence in the Japanese market thus motivated the opening of the new flagship despite the Covid-19 health crisis. This initiative also embodies the strong belief of Loro Piana and its CEO in the future: “When we asked ourselves whether this was the right time to open a store in such an important market, we quickly responded that it was certainly a great gesture of optimism. And I must say that it was interpreted positively by the market. People, especially young people, have a desire – without forgetting the rules of social distancing – to look to the future in a positive way.”
The inaugurations of the Hublot, Loro Piana and Zenith flagships in Ginza are much more than simply new store openings, becoming symbols of confidence and resilience in response to the current crisis.