Mexico: Casa Palacio

This store can only be described as breathtaking.

Casa Palacio has three stores, two in Mexico City and one in Acapulco. It sells a unique collection of furniture, home accessories, home decoration and home items. This latest and recently opened example is located in the new Centro Santa Fe Mall extension – due to fully open during 2013. It is located at the end of the mall in a commanding position, next to designer clothing mega brands Dolce & Gabbana, Chanel and Pink.

The design emphasis in this part of the mall is on luxury. Opulent white carrara marble floors, full height contemporary architecture and natural light have been used to create a premium look and feel to showcase the biggest and best in international brands.

Inside this new store, an original Mexican house and courtyard has been thoughtfully incorporated into the new design – creating an innovative juxtaposition between old and new. Built over several floors, the store is a series of small, interconnected rooms that flow seamlessly between each other. Each is themed and decorated with a distinctive product, brand or lifestyle theme – and zoned into traditional South American, European and British, with a mix of classic and contemporary products and themes. Every part of the store has a lavish and carefully curated feel, demonstrating expert attention to detail in VM and retail standards.

VM is exceptional instore. Even the simplest of areas, for mattress and pillow selection, is handled like a luxury boutique hotel. Around the store, it is hard to isolate any particular product areas as the standard is SO high and consistently done. However, the cookshop on the ground floor with its intricate wooden scultpural centre piece that connects through to the floors above is, quite simply, remarkable.

This store embodies creativity and wow factor. It is luxurious, inspiring and ambitious. It is not, however, so exclusive that a potential customer feels ill at ease by simply looking and touching. The staff at Casa Palacio were polite, friendly and engaging, and with discrete service facilities (credit, payment, delivery and wedding list etc. ) carefully woven into the store – the premium experience was maintained throughout. This exciting branch of Casa Palacio is one of the best stores I have visited in a long time.

Click here to view more images of Casa Palacio on the Visual Thinking Facebook page.

The Luxe Revival

Luxe retailers have always had an established, older generation of loyal followers, but according to recent reports they are experiencing a sales boost from an unexpected quarter, with 18-29 year olds no longer just lusting after these high-end goods, but actually buying them too.

Generation Y (youth) consumers ramped up their spending on premium brands by 33% in 2011, highlighting that although this generation may not have as much money as their predecessors, they are actually choosing to spend their cash on high-end key pieces such as bags, shoes and jewellery.

Members of the Luxe crowd who are paving the way for these savvy young shoppers have focused their attentions on digital and social media to engage with this younger generation of consumer. Most notable is Burberry, demonstrating its understanding of this generation with smart use of the latest technology: flagship stores that stream live catwalk shows on huge screens, sales assistants with iPads able to place immediate customer orders and an army of Facebook followers who get rewarded with exclusive new product samples, has all helped to reconnect this 156-year-old brand with a new breed of customer.