It’s been an exhilarating six months for Louis Vuitton in New Zealand with the revamp of the Queen Street space and opening of the breathtaking new Queenstown store. We sat down with Oceania’s managing director, Adam Hamzah, to chat about Louis Vuitton’s ever-evolving New Zealand journey.
Tell us about the decision to expand in New Zealand over the past few months and the unique approach Louis Vuitton has taken to the Auckland revamp and new Queenstown store.
We’ve been in Auckland for 25 years and 19 years in Queenstown; that’s a lot of history and it was a long time coming in terms of upgrading the story, it was the right time. It’s not just about the architecture though, it’s really about the client experience. Products are more touchable, they’re more reachable, in the past it was all about showcases behind a counter. It’s very interactive now. It’s very welcoming in terms of approach. The colours and textures are a lot more varied. It was about time for us to come back to New Zealand in a bigger way, and for us it was to bring ready to wear to the market for both men and women.
What motivated the decision to bring Ready-to-Wear to New Zealand with Queen Street’s reopening?
We’ve had our New Zealand clients travelling overseas, particularly to Sydney to buy Ready-to-Wear for quite some time. It’s been a great privilege and honour to introduce it into a new market. It’s a new chapter for Louis Vuitton in New Zealand. There was definitely a demand for it. And for the fragrances too, it was an honour to bring them here as well. They really complete and tell the full story Louis Vuitton story.
Queenstown’s new store is truly breathtaking. How has the response been to the new space?
I like to think it’s the best Louis Vuitton store in the world. The view is to-die-for. It’s a unique resort store: it’s a destination and it pays homage to the values of Louis Vuitton which are all about travel. We’ve got resort stores in St Tropez and in Aspen. There are no resort stores in Asia, so to be able to create this space in this part of the world is spectacular. We’ve got this phenomenal location, it was the right timing. It’s not easy to find the right location, but it all came together. The location came up, the concept was there and the store was launched and it allowed us to have a much stronger local touch with the design.
Is the new approach to store design something we’ll see more of from Louis Vuitton in the future?
When we’ve been in our locations for so long we become the fabric of the community and it’s about recognising the local touches and community. It’s moving away from cookie-cutter design that’s replicated around the world. It allows us to give flavour to the store, with strong touches of the communities we’re in. I think we’ve exceeded expectations with Queenstown; it’s really going to be a benchmark for the future. Maybe we’ll see other luxury brands entering Queenstown, who knows. We’re seeing hotels upgrading, major changes are happening. The market has become more sophisticated, the visitors have become more sophisticated and the town itself is really growing. It’s really exciting for us to be part of this new journey.