The CEO of Louis Vuitton’s North American division talks about the new store at NorthPark, Marc Jacobs, and knockoffs.
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Over the past 27 years, Louis Vuitton has opened eleven boutiques in Texas. For the most recent opening, an astounding 6,200-square-foot store at NorthPark Center, in Dallas, the CEO of Vuitton’s North American division, Daniel Lalonde, sat down with us to talk shop.
This is the eleventh store in Texas, the fifth in Dallas. Are there anyâ€¨ plans to close the Galleria location and just focus on NorthPark?â€¨â€¨
No. It’s so interesting that so many people are asking about that. We remodeled that store a couple of years ago—it’s gorgeous—and it won’t be closing. That was our first Texas location.
Last year retailers were slashing prices and luxury retailers were â€¨drastically marking down items before the holidays even began. The thinkingâ€¨ among many shoppers is that they won’t buy unless they get a “deal.” How do â€¨companies like LVMH pull shoppers into stores that don’t normally haveâ€¨ sales?
Our brand is 155 years old. We pride ourselves on our heritage and craftsmanship, and we haven’t changed since 1854. We never go on sale. The value is something people want to invest in, and it appreciates over time. Louis Vuitton is passed down from generation to generation.
More than any other brand in the world, Louis Vuitton goods are copied, â€¨made into fakes, sold on the streets. How has this hurt business—otherâ€¨ than just financially—and what is being done to stop fakes from beingâ€¨ made?â€¨â€¨
Our work is never done. We are continuing to work against counterfeit goods. We’ve been successful by going after individuals selling bags, and we get injunctions against those who rent to anyone who sells counterfeit bags. We try to educate the customer about what buying a counterfeit bag means. Some of the organizations behind the bags are terrorists; lots of them use child labor.
How can you spot a fake?
I think very easily. Look at the stitching. On a genuine Louis Vuitton, the stitching is perfectly straight. It’s impeccable, never crooked. Also, look at the leather.
Marc Jacobs. What comes to mind?
He’s been the creative director for twelve years, and he’s the most talented designer out there.
Tell us about the new store at NorthPark? There’s been quite a buzz around the opening.
This has been two and half years in the making. NorthPark really attracted me because of the art and creativity. Louis Vuitton has a tradition of partnering with artists, people like Richard Prince or Takashi Murakami, and we really wanted to extend that to our location. We were also excited to develop a store that was married to the outdoor garden.
What can Dallasites expect when they shop the new flagship at NorthPark?
We have a bag bar where customers can shop for handbags and small leather goods. We also have a timepiece gallery. We’ve brought in a special bronze sculpture from Paris that sits in the area of the boutique that opens onto the courtyard, and we’ve commissioned special chandeliers made in Murano, Italy.