November 27, 2014

Mercedes-Benz Travel Season: Luisa Via Roma, the epicentre of exquisite styling

At Luisa Via Roma one always goes with tremendous enthusiasm! As the brick and glass store on via Roma in Florence, where it all began, truly is everything that LuisaViaRoma.com promises it to be: a selection like the one in an art gallery, showcasing exceptional pieces from 400 designers from all over the world!

Luisa Via Roma LVR Florence store

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I had to leave my car in the parking lot, the legendary store being in the historical centre of Florence. On via Roma – the owner told me that his grandmother, named Luisa, was the one to open a small boutique on via Roma, from where the current name. And because there is a strict municipality rule on protecting national heritage buildings (most architectural works of art date back to before the golden age of the Renaissance) from any kind of urban stress, the streets have been closed down for cars, and are now fully pedestrianised.

I had to get used to the idea and park the car, my travel companion – Mercedes-Benz GLA from Tiriac Auto – and change outfit into something more comfortable, the cobbled stone streets in the city center demanding a certain type of look and, most of all, shoes.

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But let’s start with the beginning. With the opening of a straw hats boutique in the Florence of the 1930s. With the quick bankruptcy caused by the fact that the husband of the founder, Frenchwoman Luisa Jaquin, bet on quite simply the wrong horse. Followed by their leaving for Brazil, to then, with renewed strength and finances, to come back to Florence and re-open the initial store. And this store would grow, slowly expand its product range as, at that time, women used to change their hat three times a day. And, in 1968, take its first step towards becoming the world window of fashion avant-garde that is today! Andrea Panconesi, the grandson of the couple, just 20 years old, met, in Paris, Kenzo Takada. That same year, Luisa – what it was still called – was the first European store to present the fall-winter Kenzo collection.

This was, as I was saying, merely the beginning. Andrea Panconesi was to bring many innovations to Luisa Via Roma. Above all, passion. ’’The one thing we don’t need is money. We need health and passion from anybody.’’ says Panconesi when explaining why Luisa Via Roma continues being entirely family owned. Why he doesn’t want more or bigger stores. How and why he introduced the biggest event of online shopping & fashion blogging in the world – Firenze4Ever. And why he still finds it unbelievable that his small company whose cornerstone and management style are passion has managed to have as competitors the giants of Saks Fifth Avenue or Nordstrom.

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Indeed: the ultra-exclusive Luisa Via Roma website garners the attention of 4 million unique visitors a month. And the original store on via Roma is now refurbished following eco principles and works as a beacon of world style. The enthusiastic comments of the visitors recommend it as ’’gorgeous’’, ’’amazing’’, ’’The best shopping in town!’’… ’’One of the best places to shop…on the entire planet.’’, talk about how the Panconesi family patron the LVR atmosphere almost daily and are thrilled to recommend the terrace you reach by passing among Versace and Vionnet, Vivienne Westwood and Vera Wang!

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The store that together with its online counterpart brings together carefully chosen pieces from Houses like Roberto Cavalli, Burberry, Marc Jacobs, Maison Martin Margiela… from renowned designers and extremely talented newcomers – in a balanced selection of clothing, bags, shoes, accessories, jewellery and interior design. In fact, Luisa Via Roma really is the fashion and trend paramount followed by, for instance, over 2 million Facebook users, just because here you can find from bodysuits to evening gowns and from accessories for high fashion skateboarding to jewel-watches worth EUR 68 300.

All, the best of the best. As Panconesi tells his buyers that the people coming to buy from Luisa Via Roma don’t need anything. They already have everything – so, they buy not out of necessity but for pleasure.

And this is what you feel throughout the three storey boutique combining technology with graphic art, for pleasure’s and fashion’s sake. At LuisaViaRoma.com, where you permanently can find items from, say Alexander McQueen or Fendi, up to 70% off! Or, at that, as faithful friend subscribed to the LVR newsletter, receiving access to limited and exclusive promotional sales throughout the year.

In fact, I was still thinking of small-great life pleasures when, moving away from via Roma, driving slowly on the streets of Florence in my lovable Mercedes-Benz GLA (Driving Avec Passion) from Ţiriac Auto, I ran into, first, the Savoy, and then JK Place. The first, a splendid and famous hotel in the monumental Piazza della Repubblica, the other a boutique hotel in the much more picturesque Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, yet both making me wonder: ’’How would it be transforming the online shopping destination into your very holiday destination?’’ At the end of the day, you even have nearby exceptional just as diverse and well chosen overnight stay options…

Luisa Via Roma LVR

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Photos: Business of Fashion, Luisa Via Roma