EMBA students with Wendy Malem at the Dior store in Paris
A group of Executive MBA (Fashion) and postgraduate students explored new trends in retail management during a two day trip to Paris with Wendy Malem, Dean of the Graduate School. The visit was organised and accompanied by author of Luxury Fashion Branding, Luxe Corp’s Executive Director & Founder, Uché Okonkwo.
‘Looking back to look forward’ was a theme brought to life by Raf Simons, Artistic Director of Dior in his recent Haute Couture collection. Throughout a private visit to the Rue Royale Dior Boutique, the group explored what it means to be ‘modern’ in the contemporary luxury world. A detailed review of the product portfolio revealed how Simons constantly references and reinterprets Christian Dior’s passion for his garden in Granville, his love of roses and the signature cannage motif, originating in the weave of the couture chairs.
Stylist at Galeries Lafayette VIP lounge
After marvelling at the glories of Paris Art Nouveau in Galeries Lafayette, the group visited the VIP penthouse suite, designed as a contemporary Parisian apartment, to learn how personal shopping has been taken to new heights. The Galeries Lafayette Foundation building will open next year in the heart of the Marais district dedicated to art, fashion and design. The organisation will commission new work and organise exhibitions from different artist movements.
The links between creativity, art and fashion were explored further during visits to Colette, L’Eclaireur and Merci, stimulating ideas on how concept stores might evolve. With the explosion of e-commerce, consumers are looking for more memorable and enriching shopping experiences. A visit to Jovoy, a beautiful contemporary Rare Perfume concept store, which brings back rare scents and limited editions, confirmed this view.
In her stylish office on Rue Cambon, Uché Okonkwo shared a presentation which she had recently given to 80 luxury brands during the 2014 Club e-Luxe International Summit. Outlining seven trends for virtual and physical luxury, she highlighted ways in which digital media, technology and innovation are being seamlessly integrated into every facet of people’s lives.
In the nostalgic surroundings of Le Grand Colbert restaurant the group enjoyed dinner with fashion stylist and consultant, Erik Raynal, Ellen Scherer, Account Executive at Lambert & Associates Global Luxury Retail Network and Rafael Jimenez, CEO & Founder of Plan 8 Consulting. The wide ranging and stimulating discussions led the group to believe that Paris will continue to be a vibrant centre of the fashion industry.