Ian Rogers, the chief digital officer of LVMH, is working to introduce 24 Sèvres, a shopping website and mobile app. Photo Credit：Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times
PARIS — Ian Rogers, chief digital officer of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, sat in his sunlit office on Avenue Montaigne last month, alongside a large cactus with a mélange of Pucci-pattern skateboards and black and white rock band photographs arrayed on the walls behind him. Using a tattooed finger, he punched in a pass code that would unlock access to “Babylon”: the code name for the top secret project he has been working on since his arrival 18 months ago at the world’s largest luxury group.
“We believe we are on the cusp of revealing something very exciting,” Mr. Rogers, 44, said in hushed tones.
The “we” was the project’s 60 employees, many of whom have been hired from the Paris technology sector and who are hidden far from the corporate headquarters in new offices in the 15th Arrondissement. Mr. Rogers rolled up the sleeves of his navy V-neck sweater and added, “I guess it’s time to see if the customers think so, too.”
He was referring to the imminent unveiling of LVMH’s high-stakes foray into multibrand luxury e-commerce. Rumors of a shopping platform that would fall under the branding umbrella of Le Bon Marché, LVMH’s upmarket department store, have swirled for months. Now 24 Sèvres, a boutique shopping website and mobile app named after the Paris street that Le Bon Marché is on, goes live in under a month.
It is a gamble that has divided many of the fashion industry’s power players. On the one hand, 24 Sèvres will be yet another contender in an already crowded sector, where established rivals such as Yoox Net-a-Porter, FarFetch and MatchesFashion.com have long been jostling for the world’s wealthiest consumers. Anticlimactic performances by more recent entrants like Style.com, Condé Nast’s multimillion-dollar digital boutique, indicated that even the most reputable names in fashion can struggle when arriving late to the game.
A successful entry by LVMH, however, could shake up everything.
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