Homewares offering ‘experiential luxury’
The Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the World Towers in Mumbai, Macka Residences in Istanbul and Century Spire in Manila all have one thing in common: not only are they among the most high-profile building projects in the world, but they’re home to fully furnished and designed residences by Armani. Promoting and showcasing the luxury range of homeware items by the world-class designer more famously known for lines of fashion apparel, the majority of such exclusive residences are in emerging markets, with a new project in Miami being Armani’s first venture into North America.
A Profitable Strategy
Armani isn’t the only fashion design house to move into luxury, high-end homeware showcased in both private residences and in luxury hotels. Designing everything from carpets and bedding, dinnerware and kitchen and bathroom installations are Hermes, Missoni, Roberto Cavalli, Ralph Lauren, Versace, and Bottega Veneta, among others. It’s a strategy that hugely increases the bottom line for such companies, with the Boston Consulting Group reporting that, to Armani at least, the luxury homeware market was worth $60bn in 2013.
Mario Ortelli, senior vice-president of Sanford C Bernstein, states that experiential luxury is growing faster than personal-goods luxury. He believes that hotel and homeware offerings bridge the gap between two vital facets of the industry for fashion houses, allowing them to offer a more complete service.
Another advantage for the fashion house is that often the ventures are carried out under licence, vastly reducing costs whilst enhancing the revenue streams of those houses involved in the ventures.
In the case of the Burj Khalifa, which is now one of the world’s most recognisable buildings and home to the Armani Hotel Abu Dhabi, it’s the perfect showroom for the Armani brand, allowing customers to experience the Armani/Casa lifestyle first-hand. It’s just one of 31 monobrand stores and 22 shop-in-shops spread over 40 countries worldwide, and as such represents the most well-established luxury fashion brand homeware extension. Armani/Casa has come a long way since the first creation of a logo lamp back in 1982. It wasn’t until 2000 that Armani/Casa was founded to increase the scope of the foray into the market for high-end home products.
Versace has a similar strategy, having launched Versace Home in 1992 with the aim of attracting discerning clients through their own Versace Home stores and through shop-in-shop licences. Versace’s chief executive, Gian Giacomo Ferraris, said the aim was to present an all-round experience of the Versace lifestyle.
Different fashion houses put the emphasis on different aspects of the luxury homeware market, however. Whilst Ralph Lauren, for instance, focuses on textiles such as towels and bed linens, others such as Fendi and and Armani focus more on high-end furniture.