PARIS — Sukhbaatar Square in Ulan Bator, the capital city of Mongolia, is so central that many of its million-plus inhabitants are bound to traverse it on a regular basis.
That means its newest resident, a 5,300-square-foot Louis Vuitton boutique with a two-story high, 112-foot wide wraparound facade, is a conspicuous beacon of luxury in a remote country becoming wealthier by the minute, thanks to enormous gold, copper and uranium reserves.
Vuitton, a luxury pioneer that opened its first store in Greater China in 1992, is excited to be among the first to arrive in the region. “Why be first? You have 100 percent share of voice,” enthused Yves Carcelle, Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer, who is slated to host an opening celebration Friday. “It helps impose your brand as the standard of luxury. I honestly think it’s the right move.”
Carcelle said Vuitton’s 440th store is projected to be profitable within its first year of operation.
Thanks to the Internet and Russian fashion magazines, Mongolians are already familiar with the Vuitton brand and have been purchasing its products from Vuitton stores in three popular destinations: Moscow, Beijing and Seoul, Carcelle said. Another promising sign is the presence of many Vuitton bags “on the arms of elegant women” in Ulan Bator’s trendy nightclubs and restaurants, he added.
Vuitton is also clearly banking on the vigorous economic development expected in tandem with major mining ventures. Already, the skyline is dotted with construction cranes. “It’s a country that knows it has to modernize but wants to do it in a controlled way,” Carcelle said.
The two-level boutique in the new skyscraper Central Tower — which already houses an Ermenegildo Zegna shop that opened earlier this month — features a 30-foot long “bag bar” flanked by men’s and women’s departments, each devoted to extensive selections of leather goods, footwear and accessories.
Upstairs is a circular VIP room, the shape reminiscent of a yurt. A Vuitton saddle was made especially for the store in recognition of Mongolia’s nomadic roots and strong horse riding culture.
Carcelle noted VIP rooms, and the elite service that comes in tandem, are particularly prized in Asia.
To mark the opening, Vuitton plans to donate more than 6,000 educational books to support some 220 primary schools across Mongolia, still a poor country.
Meanwhile, Vuitton continues its global retail expansion, with major stores slated to bow in December at CityCenter in Las Vegas and One Central in Macau. “Casinos are always a good vicinity for luxury,” Carcelle said. Next year, Vuitton will enter two new countries, Lebanon and the Dominican Republic, he added.
A grooming moment between @tanfrance and @antoni last night at the The LGBT Community Center Trailblazer Awards honoring Anna Wintour, Ricky Martin and more. See more photos at WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
“It was a very surreal feeling. It wasn’t like we were in the studio together coming up with it — it’s more like he discovered it and loved it. I didn’t let myself get my hopes up, but then it happened it was very exciting,” said singer-songwriter @nombe on discovering that @pharrell would be using his song, “Cant Catch Me” on his HBO documentary series “Outpost.” The German-born singer — named Noah MacBeth — talked to WWD about feminism, using art as a platform for political expression and personal style. Read more on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
This season, denim is going west – in influence. Brands like @fathersdaughterla (pictured here), @tommyhilfiger Jeans, @levis and more are opting for raw, top-stitching styles. (Styled by @thealexbadia; 📷: @ryanplett)
20-year-old British singer @jorjasmith_ made her debut at Coachella last weekend. We caught up with her and talked about her love for Amy Winehouse, working with Kendrick Lamar on the “Black Panther” album and her fashion philosophy. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @katiedaisyla)
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)