New Dior Boutique, Champs Elysées, Paris  FashionNetwork.com. (2019). Dior ouvre sa nouvelle boutique des Champs-Élysées. [online] Available at: https://fr.fashionnetwork.com/news/Dior-ouvre-sa-nouvelle-boutique-des-Champs-Elysees,1120337.html#.XVcVLugzZPY 

How could architecture, as a branding tool, be used to fully rehabilitate the image of the luxury fashion industry?

AR 597: Dissertation | Kent School of Architecture | 2019-2020


I would like to express my gratitude to those who have supported me throughout the making of my dissertation. To my dissertation advisor Silvio Caputo, for reading many drafts and giving me invaluable insight and guidance into the world of high-end retail architecture. To my parents, for their support and my sister for helping me understand the foundations of business and branding. And, last but not least, to my friends and my peer mentor Reni for their help and support.


Vilagines, Manon, ‘How could architecture, as a branding tool, be used to fully rehabilitate the image of the luxury fashion industry?’, BA(Hons) in Architecture RIBA Part 1, January 2020, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent.

Luxury fashion brands, with consumerism and capitalism have become victims of their own dynamics as, by relying on consumerism, they have been degrading their image of privilege.

In this dissertation, we will be proving the following hypothesis. In order to avoid the undesirable ‘side effect’ of the popularization of luxury, high end brands have been trying to purposely link  their image to a new social class; the ‘Creative Class’, mainly through architecture. It is now their new target group and the people whom they rely on to help merge art, culture and fashion, by giving luxury its’ illusion of unattainability back. In some way, the new criteria for owning luxury goods isn’t monetary anymore: it is creativity.

Assuming that the image of the luxury fashion industry is threatened of being degraded by capitalism, consumerism, media and fast fashion, the industry has been trying to link fashion to culture and, therefore, to the creative-class; while making it a part of higher culture through a branding process using architecture. However, is this a flawed, only partial solution? What is the role of architects in this branding process?

In a first part we will be discussing the evolution of retail architecture as a tool to create an image of exclusivity in brands alongside their cultural evolution and the rise of consumerism. We will then question if high fashion brands have, hypothetically, been using architecture to integrate the creative class in the most efficient way and demonstrate this point of view through a series of case studies. Finally, we will suggest a few solutions as to how architects could fully rehabilitate the image of the luxury fashion industry.

KEY TERMS: Retail Architecture, Luxury, Capitalism, Consumerism, Fast fashion, Culture, Creative Class, Creative City, Branding.

– Full dissertation available upon request. – 

2019-08-18 (19)

« This is a well written dissertation which draws from a very personal hypothesis about the creative class as well as the definition of this class as given in Richard Florida’s book. Not all statements or deductions in this dissertation are convincing, but the attempt to redefine high-end retail design and branding as a sociological phenomenon is something to be commended. » – 2:1

Silvio Caputo
Dissertation Advisor