When Hermès puts on a party, expect champagne to flow, aerialists to perform, and models to pose in interactive, illusion-filled, theatrical installations, adorned in an array of silks, cashmere, and leather.
The French luxury design house known for its expensive Birkin bags and lively patterned silk scarves and ties, is hosting “A Man’s World, Miami” Friday evening in the Design District, an invitation-only soiree designed to showcase its universe of men’s products, while entertaining its guests with playful illusions.
Hermès has transformed the Moore Building for the four-hour event, the company’s first such celebration in the United States and only its third in the world, following “A Man’s World” events in Beijing in 2011 and in Paris in 2012.
“We’re really excited about Miami, and particularly the Design District, being a center for culture and the arts,” said Peter Malachi, Hermès senior vice president of communications, based in New York. “It’s this incredible coming together of retail, design, and fashion, in a city that is really on the frontier between two continents — Latin America and North America.”
Friday’s event, which carries the theme “a sporting life” — the design house’s overall theme for 2013 — is a collaboration between Men’s Artistic Director Véronique Nichanian, who is based in Paris, and Buenos Aires-based artist Leandro Erlich, who designed the conceptual installations, each with a certain scene, infused with a sense of humor and sporting elegance.
Think athletic male models dressed in Hermès, wearing scuba masks, juggling or holding skateboards, inside six wood-and-mirror-paneled, faux — but realistic looking — elevators created for the event. With music playing in the background, the elevator doors will open and close, each time with a different assortment of models inside.
The event is a way for Hermès, one of the only remaining French family-owned design houses, to thank its clients, akin to giving them a gift of an experience, Nichanian said.
It’s also a way to build brand loyalty, said Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for the NPD Group, a consumer and retail market research firm based in Port Washington, N.Y. “One of the greatest ways to connect with the consumer today, outside of social media, is to create a social event,” he said. “What you are seeing is the newfound way of going back in time, giving the consumer and the media the ability to share the essence of the brand.”
And it’s a major coup for the Design District, which is being transformed into a luxury shopping destination under Dacra Chief Executive and President Craig Robins.
“The fact that Miami is now being seen as a very important destination for fashion brands to do large scale events is another major step for our city,” Robins said.
About 600 Hermès clients, members of Miami’s arts and design scene, socialites, and Hermès employees and media from around the world are expected to attend the private event, Malachi said. They will be treated to delicacies like lobster and foie gras as they move from space to space.
A highlight of the evening will be the 11 installations on three floors, incorporating men’s products, from clothing to shoes, watches, jewelry, and fragrances. Several of the installations will be digitally interactive and illusionary, Erlich said.