By Amanda Dibre.

Retailers are tapping into our five senses to create brand experiences beyond just the purchase.

Fashion houses are experimenting with unique ways to peak their customers’ interest by exploring multi-sensory engagement. It’s not enough to buy the product anymore. Customers want to have an experience. Labels like Jacquemus, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Chanel, and others are reimagining their concepts and creating immersive brand experiences for their clients. Leaning into the five senses of sight, sound, touch, and sometimes even smell and taste, luxury brands are utilizing these sensory spaces to attract brand attention and engagement. 

Christian Dior spa cruise set sail along the Seine River in Paris on July 3rd, ending on July 14th. This luxurious experience offers a two-hour or four-hour wellness retreat for its guests that range from fitness to beauty. An open-air sports deck, juice bar, pool, and lounge chairs, allows guests to partake in spa treatments and leisure activities while relishing in the views of Paris’ most beautiful monuments. Adorned in Dior’s signature toile de jouy in blue and beige, this floating spa concept brings a complete sensory pleasing experience to its customers, making them truly want to head below deck to purchase the Dior skincare and fragrances on display. 

Also embracing the warm season opportunities, Jacquemus launched its pop-up beach and boutique in June 2023, unveiling its very own branded beach along the coast of France. With umbrellas and lounge chairs dotting the St. Tropez coastline in citrus hues, Jacquemus created an ultimate brand interaction. Open until October 10, this presentation allows the consumer to experience the product and connect with the designer on a personal level. Designer Simon Porte Jacquemus said as a child he was obsessed with the sun and sea and typically wore yellow and blue, a clear inspiration for his latest Été capsule collection and temporary boutique. 

In a similar way, but different season, Emilio Pucci sought to connect its customers to the history and spirit of the Italian fashion house. Its December 2022 St. Moritz experiential ski event was inspired by Pucci himself, who was a member of the Italian Olympic Ski Team in 1932. To launch its La Famiglia collection and Pucci x Fusalp skiwear capsule, guests were offered a couple days of ski lessons, snowshoeing, glamorous dining experiences, and nights of Pucci-partying. A pop-up at the Andrea Caratsch art gallery displayed Pucci mannequins and Pucci-print backdrops with Swiss artist John Armleder to create a visual dialogue and sensory stimulating experience. 

Louis Vuitton (LV) has never been one to shy away from exploratory endeavors, so to no surprise LV has been tapping into the sensory spaces as well. January 2023 saw the reconnection of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and the French luxury fashion company. To promote the collaboration and bring its audience a unique experience, LV utilized interactive filters and stunts to lure customers into its offerings. Through Snapchat Inc. and Instagram, Louis Vuitton created an augmented reality highlighting its collection. With the tagline, “KUSAMA-IFY YOUR WORLD,” social media users are able to connect with the designer on a deeper level and “see the world through Kusama’s eyes”

Alluding to the same shock value and unique brand engagement, Balenciaga lined its London store in pink faux fur in April 2022 to celebrate its Le Cagole line, Bottega Veneta revealed a green maze installation in Seoul in October 2021 bringing a child’s game to adults, and Chanel embraced gaming culture with its Chanel Game Center pop-up in Singapore in 2018. 

As traditional retail makes a slow exit, experiential shopping trips are becoming more popularized and prized. From beach boutiques to ski retreats, fashion houses are in search of the best ways to tap into our five senses. Immersive experiences are now playing a major role in a brand’s identity and labels are fighting for the biggest sensory-pleasing, wow-factor, while bringing the spirit, values, and history of the label and collections to consumers.

Images courtesy of Louis Vuitton and Dior.