An outdoor terrace with views of the Hollywood Sign and replete with chilled champagne and plush couches. It sounds like a swanky rooftop bar, but it’s the private shopping room at Louis Vuitton’s Rodeo Drive flagship store – with doors that open only to select customers.
Think of it as Beverly Hills’ version of a Las Vegas high-roller room.
The salon is just one of several VIP shopping lounges in Los Angeles built by the Mid-Wilshire office of Boston-based Shawmut Design and Construction. The team finished creating Louis Vuitton’s salon earlier this year and is building out spaces for Beverly Hills boutique Gratus and Tiffany & Co. on Rodeo. Both will open next year.
The salons, which are cropping up at a time when many brick-and-mortar clothing retailers are seeing sluggish returns, are invite-only operations with offers coming directly from luxury labels.
Vincent Spataro, Shawmut’s director of the Southern California region, said he noticed the trend about four years ago but has recently seen an increase in the number of luxury retailers looking to include these lavish additions.
“Larger flagships in important shopping districts like Rodeo Drive have really tried to incorporate these VIP rooms that cater to the high-net-worth individual,” Spataro said. “We actually expect it (now) and we’re surprised when it’s not there.”
Shawmut has built out private spaces for local retailers such as Saint Laurent, Tory Burch, Gucci, Ermenegildo Zegna and Barneys. These rooms, often with a wraparound terrace, include designer furniture, fine art and even a kitchen.
With luxury retail sales seeing incremental growth and major fashion houses such as Lanvin, Christian Dior and Balenciaga recently losing their top designers, many retailers are eyeing their big spenders – often willing to drop $30,000 on the newest Chanel handbag – to help boost sales.
“There is a bit of one-upmanship in this,” Spataro said. “They’re trying to outdo each other and offer more. I definitely think it’s a correlation with their bottom line and sales figures.”
Shawmut’s L.A. office opened two years ago, focusing on luxury retail, hospitality and sports venues. The firm has a staff of 36.
Spataro said most of its salons are incorporated into extensive store renovations and take about four months to complete depending on the complexity of design.
Shawmut declined to disclose costs for the construction of its VIP salons but said it varies greatly depending on the size and scope of the area.
For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.