From The Straits Times    |

Imagine shopping in a boutique where the entire floor can turn into your personal dressing room.

Ultra-exclusivity and premium service are the main things on offer at Louis Vuitton’s newest store. And, no, not everyone can shop here.

In January, the French luxury brand opened the doors to its first retail space dedicated to VICs (very important clients) in Ngee Ann City – the first in the region to debut its new Apartment concept.

VICs is industry speak for the top 1 per cent of a brand’s clientele.

The refurbished space on level two is located directly above Louis Vuitton’s largest dedicated women’s store in Singapore, which reopened in August 2023 after a ritzy revamp. Louis Vuitton first opened in Ngee Ann City in 1996.

Stylised to look like a chic French apartment, the 690 sq m space is divided into an exhibition area, the Main Hall and Gallery – which bring to mind a spacious foyer in someone’s home – and three salons that can each be closed off for a more private shopping experience.

Visitors are first welcomed by an exhibition space, decorated with a collection of iconic Louis Vuitton trunks suspended by hot-air balloons.
Credit: Louis Vuitton

It reflects a strategy some luxury brands are taking to provide highly unique experiences for its biggest spenders.

In a recent case study, fashion media company The Business of Fashion reported that post-pandemic, more brands are opening exclusive stores or shopping suites that only VICs can enter, in response to a demand for complete privacy.

Private boutiques take away the stress and unseemliness of overcrowded stores and long queues – a luxury that, it appears, money can buy.

At the Ngee Ann City boutique, no expense has been spared.

Visitors are first welcomed by an exhibition space, decorated with a collection of iconic Louis Vuitton trunks suspended by hot-air balloons. In line with the brand’s tagline celebrating the “spirit of travel”, a historical photograph of a hot-air balloon event in Vincennes Woods, Paris, from the 1900 Paris Exposition serves as the backdrop.

Here, you can sample a slice of the maison’s rich heritage dating back to its roots as a trunk-maker. Archival pieces on display include a restored Monogram Hat Trunk from 1924, where each monogram was painted by hand.

Venture deeper in and explore more archival pieces tracing Louis Vuitton’s history and creative evolutions – from a bag created in collaboration with the late American designer Stephen Sprouse, to a novelty chameleon sculpture by British artist Billie Achilleos, fashioned from various LV small leather goods.

This patrimonial discovery area is how the house intends to educate and groom its next generation of top-spending clients. The public can make an appointment to view this area.

The shopping begins in the Main Hall, characterised by soft curves and arches that lead into the salons.

French interior designer Stephanie Coutas was tasked to create an inviting atmosphere – realised via soothing cream tones and textures, and bespoke furniture created by French artists and designers.

The shopping begins in the Main Hall, characterised by soft curves and arches that lead into the salons.
Credit: Louis Vuitton

Touches of Singapore have been brought into the space. In homage to the island’s Garden City moniker, flowering in each corner of the Main Hall is an elegant frangipani tree fashioned out of plaster. Each leaf and stalk was created by hand on site.

A focal wall featuring another frangipani tree takes centre stage in the first and main salon, devoted to women’s ready-to-wear and evening gowns. The rest of the walls are painted in an orange-hued gradient plaster named “Singapore Sunset”, complemented by LV Monogram motifs on the ceiling.

Over in the second salon is the Men’s collection. The room is a sight for sore eyes, with design elements including a Damier plaster wall, custom-made carpet in a pattern inspired by waves and Paldao wood cabinets.

A bespoke sofa and vintage Costela armchair almost evoke home envy, beckoning weary shoppers to linger there.

The Blossom Salon in the Louis Vuitton Apartment at Ngee Ann City
Credit: Louis Vuitton

Finally, the third salon houses high jewellery and high watches – the maison’s first permanent space in Singapore devoted to the collections. A vintage 1970 chandelier dangles from the ceiling, while an artwork by American artist Julia Powers adds colour to the space.

Info: Louis Vuitton Apartment is at Level 2 Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road. Visits are by appointment only. Call 6788-3888 or make the appointment online via ap.louisvuitton.com

This article was first published in The Straits Times.