Pursuits

Inside La Samaritaine, LVMH's Billion Dollar Department Store for the 'Super Rich'

Soon to become the most high-end shopping mall in the world.
IMAGE La Samaritaine
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After 16 long years in the making, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton is finally opening the doors of La Samaritaine, the ultra-luxurious department store set to shake up retail in Paris.

Founded in 1870 by French couple Ernest Cognacq and Louise Jaÿ, what started out as a small family boutique is now being relaunched as one of the most expensive department stores in the world. LVMH's superstore will cater to the "super rich," the ultra-high net worth individuals eagerly awaiting the mall's opening.

La Samaritaine will include over 600 brands, a luxurious department store with the world's high-end brands, 96 social housing units, five-star restaurants, and a five-star Cheval Blanc hotel with 72 rooms that each cost $1,270 (P60,000) per night.

Other unique features include the duty free retailer DFS and a Christian Dior spa.

LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, the most powerful man in fashion, acquired La Samaritaine in 2001, but the building was closed in 2005 due to failing to meet building safety codes. The palatial shopping mall has been in the works for years, but management issues and structural concerns have caused the project to stretch for almost two decades, spending over $1 billion in renovation costs.

CFO of LVMH and CEO of La Samaritaine, an LVMH subsidiary, Jean-Jeacques Guiony admitted that “the Samaritaine has no architectural unity, which isn’t to say it doesn’t have personality.”

In order to keep the building's unique architectural identity, the mall underwent a 30-month large-scale renovation schedule, updating structural elements for safety while also striving to keep the fine details of La Samaritaine.

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Over 150 years since its inception, La Samaritaine still boasts its stunning tiles, Jourdain glass roof, and Art Nouveau design.

Revamped and refurbished, La Samaritaine is set to finally open on June 19. Take a look inside the fashion house's luxurious new department store, and no doubt one of the most opulent malls in the world.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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