“Six pounds for a cup of tea and you don’t even get a china cup!” This complaint was quoted to me some 30 years ago by my friend G; his mum aghast at the price of a cuppa in some National Trust cafe or other. Yet it’s a refrain that auto-plays all too frequently in my head when I pass any number of overpriced chain coffee outlets. Especially in the last two years when the premiumisation of, well, everything has played out in the world’s fashionable metros.
At WatchHouse (below), a new-ish UK coffee chain, you do get a lovely ceramic cup. The chain is notable for its upscale Aesop-esque branding (its design team is headed by a former Aesop designer), superior snacks, well-mannered baristas and several-steps-up-from-Starbucks hospitality area. (more…)
It’s re-entry time! While the world’s flagship shopping cities have seen their fair share of retail casualties, they’re starting to pick themselves back up again. From London to Paris to New York and even Zürich, it’s clear the battle for tourist dollars is stronger than ever.
“La Samaritaine is like a really pleasant stroll. And when you’re strolling, there are surprises, you discover things, you feel good,” says Eleonore de Boysson, region president of Europe and Middle East at LVMH’s DFS Group. In case you blinked and missed it, La Samaritaine is LVMH’s recently reopened Paris department store, after some 16 years of renovation. Located on Rue de Rivoli and restored to its Nouveau and Deco splendour, the multi-building emporium also encompasses a Cheval Blanc boutique hotel and twelve restaurants. (more…)
“For a moment, I cannot remember who I am or why I am sitting here amid this sea of beautiful young people, all of them desperate for recognition, their whole lives ahead of them, empty at the absolute center. TikTok is a sign of the future, which already feels like a thing of the past. It is the clock counting down our fifteen seconds of fame, the sound the world makes as time is running out.”
Writer and English professor Barrett Swanson laments the empty culture of TikTok influencers in this outstanding long read for Harper’s Magazine(more…)
There’s a new luxury retail destination in town and it’s a storied Mayfair townhouse that features a heady mix of culture, community and the latest personalised tech-led shopping services. DRG retail editor, ALISON FARRINGTON reports…
Apart from the appealing fact that visiting an actual store is somewhat of a novelty as we emerge post-pandemic, we are about to enter a new era of phygital retail. Phygital 2.0 plays to the strengths of being inside a physical boutique environment – all the trappings of tangible and joyous purchases plus social interaction – while having frictionless digital retail services at your fingertips.