Fashion meets fine dining as luxury brands aim to attract foodies
High-end fashion houses are looking to attract local foodies, as Koreans' craze for luxuries continues to extend beyond the garment business and into the dining scene.
Louis Vuitton announced last Wednesday that it is set to open a pop-up cafe at its boutique in Cheongdam-dong, southern Seoul, in May.
Louis Vuitton Maison Seoul, the local flagship boutique of the French luxury brand, is housed in a building designed by Canadian-born American architect Frank Gehry, one of the biggest names in contemporary architecture. Opened in 2019, the building is comprised of four stories and an underground floor.
The pop-up cafe will be on the fourth floor of the building where the exhibition space named Espace Louis Vuitton is located.
Exhibitions of Alberto Giacometti, Gerhard Richter and other globally renowned artists have previously been held at the Espace Louis Vuitton.
Korean-born French chef Pierre Sang Boyer will oversee the kitchen at the Louis Vuitton cafe, offering multi-course lunch and dinner menus.
Gucci also launched high-end Italian restaurant Gucci Osteria Seoul in Itaewon, central Seoul on Monday.
Gucci Osteria Seoul restaurant is situated on the sixth floor in Gucci Gaok, the Italian luxury house’s second flagship store in Seoul. Gaok is the Korean word for a traditional home.
Launched last May, Gucci Gaok consists of six floors — one to four of which sell fashion items.
Its first flagship store is located in Cheondam-dong, Gangnam District, southern Seoul.
Gucci Osteria was established in collaboration with Italian chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana, which has been awarded three Michelin stars and the No. 1 spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list, first in 2016 and again in 2018. The restaurant brand opened its first branch in Florence, Italy in 2018, its second in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles and its third in Tokyo, Japan. The Seoul branch is the fourth.
Gucci Osteria Seoul aims to provide a luxurious dining experience, the company said.
The menu includes the Emilia Burger, the signature dish of Gucci Osteria, and other contemporary cuisines such as Seoul Garden, a dish said to be inspired by Korea’s seasons according to Gucci. The restaurant will offer some 200 varieties of wines as well as other kinds of alcoholic beverages.
Gucci Osteria Seoul saw almost instant popularity, with all of its 64 tables fully booked for a month just four minutes after reservations opened on March 16.
IWC Schaffhausen, the Swiss luxury watchmaker, is running a coffee shop named Big Pilot Bar in collaboration with coffee brand Center Coffee at the Lotte Department Store’s Myeong-dong branch in Jung District, central Seoul.
Opened last July, the menu and interior are themed around the IWC Big Pilot watch, the watchmaker’s most recognizable watch collection, IWC explained.
Breitling, another high-end watchmaker from Switzerland, also opened a cafe and a restaurant in February at its two-story boutique in Hannam-dong, Yongsan District, central Seoul, where customers can browse timepieces and enjoy pasta and steak.
Major luxury brands have been jumping on the premium dining trend across the globe. Such restaurants and cafes provide not only a place for customers to rest while shopping, but also an experience surrounding the branding of the luxury houses.
“The narrative and storytelling of a brand are weaved into luxury brands’ products when the products are connected with a certain background,” said Lee Eun-hee, a consumer studies professor at Inha University.
Lee explained that the luxury houses’ business expansion is “a strategy to suggest a lifestyle that many people aspire to and make consumers experience their brands more intuitively through restaurants and cafes.”
BY YOO JI-YOEN [firstname.lastname@example.org]