LONDON — Bugatti has made a bold statement with its first lifestyle store, which officially opens Thursday on Brompton Road, in London’s Knightsbridge.
The 1,076-square-foot space has an ultra-modern feel, and is filled with contemporary design details that are a nod to Bugatti’s 95-year heritage in car design. A gleaming aluminum horseshoe-shaped sculpture stands in the window, a reference to the car’s grill. Display platforms for the label’s python and crocodile skin bags look like the rear wings on a Bugatti Veyron, while the parquet wood and marble floors mimic the contrast of colors in Bugatti’s car interiors.
As for the clothes and accessories themselves, they’re also aimed at the high-end customer who might buy a Bugatti car, the majority of which are made to order and whose prices start in the millions of dollars. “What we’re trying to do is a true and authentic project that is deeply inspired by the origin of the brand and executed in a super-luxury way,” said Massimiliano Ferrari, chief executive of Bugatti International, who heads the brand’s lifestyle division, during a walk-through of the store.
The EB, Ettore Bugatti Collection, which is all made in Italy, spotlights unabashedly luxurious designs such as mink-trimmed wool coats, suits in Loro Piana and Vitale Barberis Canonico fabrics and document cases and weekend bags in Palmellato leather. Haute details include mother-of-pearl buttons and a dancing elephant metal motif underneath the jackets’ collars, inspired by the work of Rembrandt Bugatti, the sculptor brother of founder Ettore Bugatti.
There are also a number of women’s designs, including bags in structured boxy shapes of leather, python and crocodile. In addition, there’s a sportier line called Bugatti — Performance Luxury Collection, with pieces such as a lamb’s leather down jacket and a leather jacket woven with metal to give it a crinkled, vintage effect. The label also offers a tailor-made suit and bag service, called Bugatti Atelier. The designs in the store are all in different shades of blue to reflect Bugatti’s signature color and the hue of France’s motor racing team (Bugatti’s headquarters are in Alsace, France.)
“We’re talking to a refined customer who appreciates quality and craftsmanship,” said Alessandro Carnicella, head of brand communications at Bugatti. Ferrari added, “The awareness of the brand is not as huge as other automotive brands, but [for] a very high-end and sophisticated customer, the awareness is high. I think [the shop] will attract and surprise them,” he said. Ferrari noted that other automotive brands’ product offerings often don’t complement the lifestyle of the cars’ customers. “Our inspiration is to be at the same level…as brands that are super-luxury,” he said.
Leather bags start at 4,000 pounds, or $6,400, rising to 31,000 pounds, or around $49,000, for a women’s crocodile bag, while evening suits retail for 2,000 pounds, or $3,170, and leather jackets start at 1,960 pounds, or $3,100.
The label has a major rollout plan and will open 30 stores over the next five years, with Tokyo and Dubai set to be the next locations, followed by Milan and Paris. Plans call for entering China and the U.S., Bugatti’s largest market, in 2016.
While Ferrari declined to disclose sales projections, he believes within three years, the label’s sales will be in line with those of “top luxury brands.”
Early next year, Bugatti plans to launch e-commerce, followed by a wholesale strategy starting next spring at “a few selected doors,” Ferrari said. “We want to do a gradual rollout of the project — it’s not a fashion brand, it’s a super-luxury brand, and we want to go step by step.”