Even before it has opened to the public, LVMH is going to let Louis Vuitton use the new super-luxe location of La Samaritaine as the setting for the brand’s next show.
Vuitton will unveil its spring-summer at 3PM on Tuesday, October 6 inside La Samaritaine, a famed department store on the banks of the Seine that has been closed for renovation for over a decade and a half.
The show event is the last physical show in Paris Fashion Week, which debuts this Monday afternoon with nine-days of shows and over 80 events on the calendar.
A spokesman for Vuitton confirmed that the next show by the house’s critically acclaimed women’s designer Nicholas Ghesquière will take place at Samaritaine, which includes a new 5-star luxury hotel, Le Cheval Blanc with exceptional views over Pont Neuf.
The designer will send out his cast on the top floor of the complex, underneath a giant glass dome, which casts light into a massive interior atrium. Due to social distancing, Vuitton will stage two shows, with about 200 guests per show.
In recent seasons, Ghesquière has staged many of the shows nearby at the Louvre Museum. However, this will be an even easier journey to bring the collection. Vuitton’s world headquarters is located on the other side of the street from La Samaritaine.
This luxury construction company – encompassing an uber-chic department store, luxury hotel, hi-tech office space, and even public housing – has been in the pipeline for over 15 years at a budget of €750 million. It was due to open in April but was pushed back to early 2021 due to the pandemic.
The project includes the relaunched Samaritaine 20,000 square-meter department store and the latest edition of Haute game hotel Cheval Blanc, 72 rooms all overlooking the Seine with a starting price of €1,500 per night, dreamed up by architect Peter Marino. Besides over a dozen restaurants – several designed to win Michelin stars – shared between store and hotel, there are a further 96 public housing apartments. LVMH acquired La Samaritaine back in 2001, a storied department store first built in 1870 by the Cognacq-Jay family. Three years after the acquisition, LVMH closed the whole structure, citing major asbestos and structural problems in the main building. This began a convoluted series of proposals and negotiations with City Hall in Paris, which only really culminated in 2015 when proper construction began.
“Ernest Cognacq and Louise Jay, who donated the motto 'in constant progress' to their store and their foundation, set the direction. I think I can say today that we have, with tenacity, respected their wish and that the La Samaritaine of tomorrow will be more beautiful than ever, re-finding its place at the center of Paris,” said LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault.
The project will also confirm LVMH’s ambitions as a high-end innkeeper. The new Cheval Blanc joins a luxe ski hotel in Courchevel, a tony hotel in St Tropez, and an elegiac resort in the Maldives. Moreover, it also joins LVMH’s burgeoning new division, LVMH Hotellerie, whose key element is the Belmond Group, acquired this spring, which includes such stellar names as the Copacabana Palace, Rio; the Splendido in Portofino, and the Sanctuary Lodge in Machu Picchu.