LUISAVIAROMA is Revolutionizing the Way We Shop

LUISAVIAROMA is Revolutionizing the Way We Shop

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LUISAVIAROMA is Revolutionizing the Way We Shop

LUISAVIAROMA’s Creative Director Annagreta Panconesi sits down with V to talk about the brand’s origins and how they are continuing that legacy today.

LUISAVIAROMA’s Creative Director Annagreta Panconesi sits down with V to talk about the brand’s origins and how they are continuing that legacy today.

Text: Kala Herh

Luxury retailer LUISAVIAROMA seems to have cracked the secret code for dominating the luxury online market. Back in the 19th century, Luisa Jaquin founded the brand and it started as a small hat boutique on Via Roma in Florence. Luisa’s husband slowly expanded the store by adding clothes and opened a factory to produce them. Fast forward two centuries later, the brand has expanded exponentially, hosting 600 brands, and becoming synonymous with luxury and taste. In the early 2000s, LUISAVIAROMA launched their website, which gave select clients the ability to shop the concept store online. A few years later, in an effort to grow their presence in the e-commerce market, the brand opened their website to everyone and became available in eight languages.

Known for their ability to provide customers with the latest trends in fashion, the LUISAVIAROMA site pulls five million visitors every month. The e-retailer offers a selection of luxury fashion for men, women, kids and home goods and among their wide collection, the retailer also offers V’s newly minted The Chanel Book. Creative Director & Headbuyer for Luxury Women’s Wear Annagreta Panconesi knows that accomplishments of such proportions don’t happen overnight. “It’s taken us almost a century to build our brand and it’s paramount that we strive to match our individual customer’s expectations via e-commerce,” said Panconesi. “The LUISAVIAROMA experience falls somewhere between luxury shopping and visiting an art exhibition.” In an exclusive interview with V, Panconesi explains the brand’s continuous hustle, commitment to diversity and passion to expand the way customers consume fashion. 

V Magazine: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. Can you tell us about how LUISAVIAROMA was founded?

Who was Luisa Jaquin and how has the brand expanded from her first store to the company that exists today?

Annagreta Panconesi: LuisaViaRoma was founded at the end of the 1800s by Luisa Jaquin, a French woman who opened a small boutique selling straw hats in Paris.  

In 1929, her daughter Olga married Lido Panconesi and together they opened a boutique in Florence which they named LUISA. In 1968 Luisa’s grandson Andrea Panconesi started dressing the windows of the boutique and began travelling to Paris on buying trips. He worked with brands such as Balenciaga, Balmain, Givenchy, and Saint Laurent and also secured LuisaViaRoma as the first store in Europe to carry KENZO’s Fall/Winter 1968/69 collection.  

During the ‘80s Andrea launched the magazine Westuff, which combined art, fashion and music. The exclusive editorial staff included Stefano Tonchi for fashion, Maria Luisa Frisa for art, and Bruno Casini for music.

In 1999 LUISAVIAROMA.COM was launched to satisfy the desires and expectations of the store’s most demanding international customers who, despite being abroad, still wanted the same service and quality that the brick-and-mortar store in Via Roma is famous for. The site was established to provide a new shopping experience that combined eco-conscious principles, an interactive website, exceptional service, and an emotionally engaging commitment to satisfy every client. 

V: How would you describe LUISAVIAROMA’s mission?

AP: Our mission is to curate a selection from high-end brands and find new emerging talents for our clients. We want to inspire our community and give them interesting content and last but not least, we want to be as environmentally sustainable as possible.  

V: In 2017, LUISAVIAROMA hosted a Fashion and Technology Summit. As a brand, how have you revolutionized the way retailers and consumers interact in the digital age?

AP: These days, technology can facilitate digital communication between retailers and consumers like never before, meaning that we have an even clearer picture of what our customers truly want. Retailers can use algorithms to create bespoke advertising experiences for shoppers which are tailored to avoid irritating the customer with unwanted content.

Our customers come to our website for an interactive engagement that reflects the unique shopping experience at our store in Via Roma in Florence. The LUISAVIAROMA experience falls somewhere between luxury shopping and visiting an art exhibition. Digital innovation has enabled us to share this experience on a global scale. We prioritize authenticity online by incorporating music playlists, articles and visual imagery that enables us to create an immersive digital experience that is as close as possible to the physical experience in our store.

V: When did you start working as a cutting-edge retailer and what initially attracted you to this activity?

AP: First and foremost it’s a family business, but ever since I was little I’ve been attracted to this dynamic world which is in continuous evolution. I love the fact that in fashion, you always have to keep abreast of  what is new and what is coming next. When you find something interesting, you need to move fast. It’s challenging but that’s what drives me.

V: What is your role at LUISAVIAROMA and what are your day-to-day responsibilities?

AP: I am the Creative Director, so I’m in charge of the image of the company and ensuring that what we represent and communicate internally is also well represented externally. I’m also in charge of buying for womenswear and I oversee all the orders. 

V: As the brand’s Creative Director, what are the most exciting things about your job?

AP: Diversity, change and interaction. I have the possibility to have a 360 degree perspective on fashion, the opportunity to meet different people and live in a world which is in continuous evolution, which is very exciting.

V: Have you always been interested in fashion? Where did that interest come from?

AP: I grew up surrounded by fashion because of the business our family is in. Seeing everybody around me working with passion was what got me interested.

V: LUISAVIAROMA offers over 600 brands on its website. What’s the brand selection process like? How do you ensure each of these brands fits LUISAVIAROMA’s own brand identity?

AP: It’s true we have many brands. We’re known for high-end brands and that is our focus. From there we integrate new talents that fit our edit and have high-quality products. In addition, we make sure that they have a strong identity because it’s important for brands to differentiate themselves given that there are so many out there.

V: I’ve read that LUISAVIAROMA.COM gets over five million visits a month (and that was just in a 2017 report). What do you hope to provide the customer with through your digital presence?

AP: Inspiration, novelty and a sense of feeling part of a community. We don’t want our site to simply be a catalogue, but a place where our customers can spend time and engage with us.  We let brand heritage speak for itself. Our clients come to us because of our legacy and because they are confident that we have the newest and most stylish collections. It’s taken us almost a century to build our brand and it’s paramount that we strive to match our individual customer’s expectations via e-commerce.

V: Can you tell me more about the LVR Editions initiative that you launched in 2017?

AP: We feel that our customer is always looking for something special that they can’t find anywhere else and this is why we started doing limited edition pieces and special capsules. We love projects that combine virtual activity with real world interaction. 

V: What’s next for the LUISAVIAROMA brand? Are there any areas of fashion, culture or art you’re looking to get into in the next few years?

AP: A few of our future projects include branching out to include private labels, as well as establishing professional personal shoppers in order to provide an even more high-end service for our customers.

V: Are there any partnerships or collaborations that you’re involved in?

AP: We’re currently working with Extreme E which is a very important partnership that aims to increase awareness about sustainability and climate change. 

Follow LUISAVIAROMA here! And head to their site to check out The Chanel Book as well as all things luxury!

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