What Bond street is to London, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré to Paris, Ginza to Tokyo and 5th Avenue to New York, the Andrassy street is to Budapest. In the last few years more and more well-known international luxury brands opened their stores on Andrassy street or in its close neighborhood. This is where the fabulous Budapest Opera is located, too. The area has undergone serious renovations and slowly but surely it is becoming a wonderful district of Budapest – be it in the summer or in the winter – with its breathtaking architecture, nicely appointed stores, private homes, offices, restaurants and cafés.
So far what has been completely missing from Budapest was a luxury multibrand department store offering a wide selection of high-end luxury goods and services to shoppers with high purchasing power. But this part of the market is developing, too, as Il Bacio Di Stilo, the first luxury temple – in the real sense of the word – has just opened its doors this week: it looks amazing and is definitely unparalleled in the region!
Il Bacio Di Stilo is located at Andrassy ut 19, opposite the Opera. The original building was erected in 1880-81 commissioned by Zsigmond Brüll, a wealthy produce merchant and it was constructed to serve the purpose of an apartment house. Apart from smaller modifications and renovations, the property remained more or less the same in its original state. In the last few years the building was empty and it was declared a historic monument, meaning that every planned renovation works must be in line with the regulations and prior to any works plans must be approved by the authorities.
The luxury palace is an investment of the Docler Holding based in Budapest, while the store is managed by Tamas Magyari, former managing director of Ermenegildo Zegna Hungary, currently CEO of Il Bacio Di Stilo Ltd. Renovation and reparation works of the building started in 2011 and the property was completely revamped. While the outer part of the building was reconstructed to appear in its original state – similarly to the neighboring buildings – the inner part was completely redone. To the contrary of current trends, in this case architects and interior designers managed very well to bring back the original pomp of the property, while the building was upgraded to meet the highest expectations of current times in terms of technology, comfort and the likes. Along wall and ceiling decorations, beautiful stucco creations, most of the old furnitures and appliances shown on the below pictures have also been carefully renovated and they have either been donated to museums or they became integral parts of the current interior.
The final result is amazing: 5000 square meters of exclusive shopping heaven accommodates approx. 40 brands in a posh setting of the seven-story building, where luxury brands like Tom Ford, Sergio Rossi, Oscar de la Renta, Bottega Veneta, Saint Lauren and many more can represent themselves according to their brand image and shoppers are offered a uniquely wonderful shopping experience that is enhanced with a carefully selected collection of artworks. Besides the internationally well-known high-end designers, the Hungarian Napsugar Von Bittera also offers its creations to the discerning clientele. On the top floor of the building the Sky bar will be situated, where guests can enjoy first class cuisine from across the globe, while having a fantastic view to the Buda Hills. Besides the illustrious environment and impressive selection of high fashion brands, the department store also provides first-class professional services – e. g. luxury beauty care and made-to-measure tailoring – ensuring an ultimate customer experience.
Lot of people in Hungary question the business sense of this venture and whether it will be financially viable on the long run. These types of questions are undoubtedly legitimate – especially in the current economic state of the country. On the other hand, there is an upper class in Hungary, too and they regularly purchase high-end luxury products , but they go abroad to do so, because most of the high-end fashion brands are not available in Hungary. It can be assumed that this group of consumers will make some parts of their purchases rather locally – if service level will be appropriate, too – rather than traveling to Milan or Paris for a pair of Sergio Rossi. And besides the Hungarian upper class, there are also wealthy visitors, who are happy to spend money, if the offered products, services and the environment are up to their expectations. Indulging shopping experiences are part of the ‘everyday life’ of the select few, so in my opinion it is more than logical to develop this part of the market – also in Hungary.
At last the concept should not be left without appreciation either, as this project is not only about selling luxury goods – obviously the business has to be profitable on the long run -, but it is also about preserving national cultural heritage and making a contribution to elevating the image of the city by re-establishing a beautiful landmark and taking it to the next level. It is a first-mover on the Hungarian retail market, hence it can be expected that it will attract similar high quality initiatives. Il Bacio Di Stilo opened its doors to the public September 9, 2013 and is inviting potential clients and admirers alike.
All the best to the management that they will succeed to attract domestic clientele as well as visitors from abroad! For more information please visit the Il Bacio Di Stile website and for regular updates please join their Facebook community.
Source of store & building images: courtesy of Il Bacio Di Stile.
Fall / Winter 2013/14 advertising campaign – as seen in Vogue UK and the French Vogue (among others) – was shot by Mert & Marcus.