Brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Ralph Lauren and Prada reconcile luxury with accessibility thereby reaching out to a new demographic of customers


By Manish Mishra



Most of us fashion folks during our biannual trip to Milan Fashion Week end up stopping at the vibrant Prada cafe (Fondazione Prada) for a quick espresso. The warm and inviting cafe radiating a Milanese elegance synonymous with the luxury brand also embodies the values of the design house. All in all, a multisensory Prada experience–from the decor to the food to the view outside. Brands like Prada, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and many more have successfully ventured into the hospitality and leisure arenas unveiling chic eateries within their existing retail spaces as well as dedicated F&B venues. These bastions of culinary hipness serve as approachable and enticing entry points for aspiring consumers itching for a slice of the brand’s allure.


A trip to Florence would be incomplete without a heartwarming meal at the magpie-ish Gucci Osteria. Since 2018, Gucci Osteria in Florence has embodied the same values of high creativity, inspiration and inclusiveness as the Italian brand. Gourmet cuisine served tastefully in exquisite Gucci tableware and glassware makes for a holistic brand experience. It’s the brand’s way of ushering in the consumer for a 360-degree Gucci experience. And why would a brand like Gucci do that?

Branching into the zone of approachable luxury offers a multi-faceted advantage for these heritage design houses. By diversifying the offering to reach out to a diverse array of consumers, luxury brands aim to inculcate a feeling of inclusivity, nixing the belief that luxury is the prerogative of an exclusive few.
During Paris Fashion Week, a lot of fashion cognoscenti end up eating at Ralph’s for some delectable American food. It’s not unusual to bump into the likes of Olivia Palermo enjoying their lunch here while taking a break from the shows. From Maryland-style crab cakes to New York cheesecake–served with vintage wines and classic cocktails, ranging from mint juleps to Ralph Lauren’s favourite margarita–everything has a distinctive touch of the American luxury label.

This calculated foray by luxury brands into affordable hospitality and leisure experiences holds significant potential. They manage to entrench themselves into a market that craves to participate in their exclusivity but may currently lack the means. Hence luxury brands strive to bridge the chasm between aspiration and reality. By offering an experience of their rarefied world through accessible avenues like cafes, these brands add an entry point for a new legion of customers, who have the potential to become loyal patrons as their disposable incomes improve.



A case in point being Tiffany & Co’s NYC flagship store which features a café with an enticing menu by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Boulud. Realised with the brand’s signature blue, the café brings to mind the evergreen charm of the classic film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s starring Audrey Hepburn. Also, worth mentioning is Louis Vuitton’s Saint Tropez seasonal restaurant at the White 1921 Hotel helmed by Michelin-starred chef Arnaud Donckele and pastry chef Maxime Frédéric. Between the Vieux Port and the Place des Lices, they have put their hands and heads together to design a gourmet journey born of the local terroir, a menu of Mediterranean flavours presented with a relaxed, welcoming, elegant spirit–a reflection of their unshakeable friendship and the summer lifestyle that Louis Vuitton enthusiastically embraces.

Through these incredible hospitality experiences, luxury brands attempt to create powerful emotional bonds with their customers. Such initiatives exemplify the brands’ dedication to impeccable service and attention to detail, translating their core values seamlessly into new avenues.

By reconciling luxury with access, brands don’t just become impossibly relevant in a constantly evolving luxury landscape but also reach out to a broader spectrum of modern consumers looking to savour authentic and memorable experiences.




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