Edge of Tomorrow: Editor’s Letter, September 2015

In mid-July, I sat down with Officine Panerai CEO Angelo Bonati at the brand’s new two-story flagship boutique in the Miami Design District for an enlightening conversation about the future of luxury retail. During our talk, I had the distinct sense we were in the midst of it.

The 2,200-square-foot space, created by Spanish-Italian architect and designer Patricia Urquiola, marks Panerai’s 11th boutique in the United States and its 65th worldwide. Despite the presence of four Panerai boutiques in southern Florida, Bonati is convinced that the legendary Italian watch brand requires a fifth location in Miami’s boundary-breaking new design district, where a bevy of art installations lends the luxury shopping destination the feel of an outdoor gallery. By way of example, consider the baby-blue bust of the pioneering Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier that sits in front of the Panerai boutique—or Buckminster Fuller’s Fly’s Eye Dome, a googly-eyed structure that leads to, of all places, a parking garage.

Robin Hill
A bust of architect Le Corbusier by the French artist Xavier Veilhan in the Miami Design District’s Palm Court

It’s all part of Miami’s ongoing transformation into America’s most art- and style-centric city. Come next month, you’ll have an opportunity to see for yourself when the JIS and Luxury Miami shows open at the Miami Beach Convention Center. To get you prepped, we’ve put together a tantalizing list of things to eat, see, and do in “Miami Rhapsody,” including chowing down at Joe’s Stone Crab, taking in an exhibit at the Pérez Art Museum Miami, and dancing your tootsies off at Story. Consider it our guide to the very near future.

If, however, you’re hankering for a glimpse of the medium to long term, read “View From the Shop,” senior editor Emili Vesilind’s crystal-ball assessment of the products, services, and behaviors that will help retailers of tomorrow thrive. Among Emili’s many insights: “The rise of mobile shopping, the ramping up of e-comm–friendly social media platforms, and the uptick of consumer options at checkout (such as Amazon’s deal with the U.S. Postal Service for Sunday home delivery) are among the invisible forces rendering many traditional ways of doing business obsolete.”

Omi Privé’s Manos Phoundoulakis and me at the AGS Circle of Distinction gala in NYC (for more pics, click here)

Clearly, it is of paramount importance that you and your business stay current. We help you do that on a day-to-day basis with “Smooth Operators,” contributor Daniel P. Smith’s rundown of 10 productivity-enhancing mobile apps. (The one I’m most curious about? Dragon Dictation, a handy voice transcriber.)

The issue concludes with senior editor Jennifer Heebner’s take on diamond fashion trends to carry you through the season (“Temptation Diamond”), from the revival of baguette-cut styles to the profusion of price-point pieces that can be layered for an ever-changing array of looks.

As you peruse the latest styles, keep in mind that if there’s one thing consumers of the future will demand, it’s flexibility—in the way products are designed and, especially, the means by which they’re sold. Be prepared to meet your clients where they are—be it in store or on a mobile device—and your transition to tomorrow should be seamless.

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