Osaka – Haute couture and haute cuisine? At Louis Vuitton’s newest store Maison Osaka Midosuji, leathergoods and apparel emblazoned with the famed monogram are only part of the offer. The Japanese flagship – designed by architects Jun Aoki and Peter Marino – is distinguished as the first-ever Louis Vuitton location with a café and restaurant. Housed within the maison, Café V and Sugalabo V are headed by the celebrated chef Yosuke Suga (just a few months ago, Suga’s Tokyo Sugalabo was deemed to be one of the world’s best restaurants at a ceremony held at Paris’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs).
Louis Vuitton’s decision to incorporate hospitality spaces in the Osaka store comes with considerable precedence. As we reported in Frame 129, luxury retail’s merge with luxury hospitality has been a major market shift in recent years, foreshadowed nearly 20 years ago by the opening of Australia’s Palazzo Versace, the first fashion-branded hotel. Branded spas, cafés, restaurants and hotels have followed, from luxury brands such as Guerlain, Fendi, Baccarat and Saint Laurent. In April 2019, LVMH invested 3.2 billion US dollars to acquire Belmond Hotels group. So it comes as little surprise that the ‘LV’ in LVMH should now find itself in the business of in-store food and drink.