LONDON — Lilac-hued posters reading ‘Veni Vidi Viti’ and picturing a striking color-blocked heel have been dotted all around Central London, adding a much-needed dose of color— and optimism — to the British capital.
They marked the opening of footwear designer and Louis Vuitton shoe director Fabrizio Viti’s first brick-and-mortar store at the Burlington Arcade in Mayfair, which is home to many artisanal labels and exciting names in the footwear world, from Manolo Blahnik to Baudoin & Lange.
The store is a charming, compact space decorated with plush carpets in Viti’s favorite lilac hue, modernist shelving and flowers all over the windows, alluding to the designer’s signature daisy embellishments. It is temporary and set to run until the end of June, before moving to Paris and New York.
“The idea is to have this moving store, almost as a traveling exhibition. We’re working with the Almine Rech gallery, which has committed to lending us different pieces [for the London boutique], so the idea is to create these takeover experiences” said Gisela Niedzielski, the label’s chief executive officer, adding that the company is maintaining an agile approach and is open to considering turning the Burlington Arcade space into a permanent one.
Niedzielski sees Burlington Arcade as a chance to show Viti’s colorful world in all its glory, showcase the brand’s high-quality product and meet its broader customer base — a big chunk of which is in London — for the first time.
“We’ve had amazing wholesale support from the likes of Matchesfashion and Galeries Lafayette, but what we’ve been missing is being able to show the customer the world of Fabrizio Viti. Giving customers the ability to physically enter our brand and see the product come to life was the big reason why we talked about doing this. As much as we believe in the power of online — and there’s a lot of growth for the brand online — being able to touch the product is very important, especially for this level of quality,” added Niedzielski, pointing to the brand’s commitment to producing its shoes in their entirety in Italy to ensure it minimizes its carbon footprint and supports local craft.
The store will also be showcasing the full spectrum of Viti’s collections, including spring 2020 styles, as well as classic best-sellers and the label’s first foray into bags, which came in the form of miniature cutout leather bucket bags featuring daisy appliqués.
“The bags started as a little side project. Fabrizio scribbled the design and I just begged him to produce it,” said Niedzielski. Given the positive response, new versions in raffia and a bigger tote style are also in the works for June. “They’re conversation pieces and there’s no sizing with bags, so we love it,” she added.
The bags and shoes, ranging from the brand’s trendy raffia clogs to classic textured leather pumps and boots, are dotted on top of modernist metal shelves across the ground floor of the store. The area features a sculpture and watercolor painting by American artist De Wain Valentine and next to classic Sixties Italian furniture, in a bid to reflect the duality between vintage and modernist elements in Viti’s work.
An upstairs floor will be dedicated to events such as talks, workshops and screenings.
Amid COVID-19 uncertainty, the brand has also announced plans to share a percentage of the sales from its web site and new store to the Italian Red Cross, a charity chosen by the label’s team in Italy, to help hospitals and communities affected or at risk.