DFS Group, the world’s leading luxury travel retailer, recently unveiled its first Traveler’s Galleria, or T Galleria, from the heart of Hawaii in Waikiki.
“T Galleria” is designed to emphasize the retailer’s understanding of the global traveler’s needs. The rebranded identity will replace DFS Galleria, the company’s downtown store concept started over four decades ago, at each of their 14 locations across the globe.
In honor of the occasion, DFS hosted celebratory activities in September for more than 600 of its guests, many of whom traveled to Hawaii specifically for the event.
Notable attendees included Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, Princess of Denmark; and Alexandra von Fürstenberg, both daughters of DFS co-founder Robert Miller; Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie; Golden Horse award-winning actor Ethan Ruan; international fashion model Jessica Michibata; Korean-American actor Daniel Dae-Kim; and British music icon Estelle, who also made a special performance exclusively for the rebranding.
The distinguished guests joined DFS executives, led by chair and CEO Philippe Schaus, as well as senior representatives from LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and the world’s premier luxury brands, alongside a large contingent of international press, in witnessing the milestone.
“After more than half a century of innovation in travel retail, we are thrilled to unveil our plans for continued industry excellence, as we again adapt our business in service of world travelers,” said Schaus. “We are proud to reveal the exciting path that lies ahead of us in the company of so many special guests, each of whom has played a key role in building our heritage through the decades and around the world.”
Explaining the evolution of DFS at a press briefing, Schaus introduced the new brand identity and global rollout campaign for the upcoming Galleria conversions. Members of the media also enjoyed an exclusive tour of T Galleria Hawaii, learning about its many special services and unparalleled product selection through the more than 700 brands carried by DFS.
At the pinnacle of the weekend, DFS revealed the new T Galleria logo during a breathtaking unveiling ceremony. A specially choreographed Cirque du Soleil performance ushered the VIP guests down a red carpet that wrapped around the store and led directly into the new T Galleria, while traditional Pacific Island dancers and drummers performed a synchronized act. As a crowd of thousands looked on, the blast of twelve conch shells heralded the guests’ arrival at the entry of the T Galleria and the beginning of the ceremony. Fifty hula dancers then performed a progressive Hawaiian dance, followed by traditional chanting. After remarks by Schaus and a final Hawaiian blessing, the new logo for T Galleria emerged, in the form of a giant floral structure appearing from the mist enveloping the Galleria.
Festivities continued inside the T Galleria at a Gala Event. With 45 cages filled with live birds hanging from the ceiling and stunning visual merchandising displays, the setting brought to life DFS’ fall/winter 2013 campaign, shot by renowned fashion photographer Craig McDean and featuring top international models Karen Elson and Sean O’Pry. Throughout the evening, guests enjoyed entertainment by Cirque du Soleil and the highly acclaimed DJ Rashida. The event concluded with a show-stopping act by Estelle, epitomizing the spirit and energy of the fantastical evening.
Outside the Galleria, the party carried on for the thousands of participants of the public event. They enjoyed nonstop performances by a diverse range of artists, including Taimane, ukulele extraordinaire; Starr Kalahiki, the award-winning Hawaiian jazz artist; and the Noisettes, the famous British indie rock band.
“As the place where we first introduced our downtown concept in 1968, Hawaii is the ideal location from which to open a new chapter in the history of both DFS and travel retail,” said Schaus. “For more than four decades, we have been perfecting the downtown travel retail concept, and we are proud today to present the results of that dedication. As we now further deepen our expertise in the luxury segment with T Galleria, we once again confirm our commitment to evolving in line with the desires of our clientele, world travelers.”
Guests also participated in a curated program of Hawaiian activities DFS specially designed to demonstrate how its service expertise elevates the destination itself. Activities included a tour of the North Shore with a surfing class taught by U.S. surfing champion Ken Bradshaw, a spa retreat at the historic Sullivan Estate, and an exclusive DFS shopping experience. The unforgettable day ended with an elegant cocktail reception on Waikiki Beach, awash in the setting lights of the Pacific sun.
“We have spent more than 50 years innovating for and catering to the world traveler and are eager to continue for another fifty,” said Schaus. “We hope this weekend has offered a preview to our guests of the exciting developments to come as we fulfill this promise.”
Following the event in Waikiki, the DFS journey will continue in 2013 with the conversions of three Galleria stores this autumn in Hong Kong, followed by two in Macao at the end of the year.
DFS Group is the world’s leading luxury travel retailer. Established in Hong Kong in 1960, DFS Group continues to be a pioneer in global luxury travel retail, offering its traveling customers a carefully curated selection of exceptional products from over 700 of the most desired brands through 420 locations on three continents.
Its network consists of duty free stores located in 18 major global airports, 14 downtown Galleria stores, as well as affiliate and resort locations. The company is privately held and majority owned by the world’s largest luxury conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), alongside DFS co-founder and shareholder Robert Miller. DFS Group employs over 9,000 people focused on creating inspiring retail experiences for its customers. In 2012, over 200 million travelers visited DFS stores. DFS is headquartered in Hong Kong and has offices in Hawaii, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Singapore and Tokyo.