On Friday night the London Business School Retail & Luxury Goods Club held its first annual alumni event, bringing together students both current and past to network amongst the chic backdrop of the Harvey Nichols 5th floor Champagne Bar. With over 100 attendees representing luxury brands from LVMH to Net-A-Porter and Burberry to Thomas Pink, the night was an immediate success.
Guests mingled amongst themselves for the first hour of the event, reuniting with old friends and networking with industry colleagues among a revolving selection of canapés and the casual clinking of cocktails glasses. The evening was punctuated with a welcome speech from the school's Retail & Luxury Goods Club President, Gabriella Libonati, who kindly thanked everyone for their attendance before introducing Gareth Howells, the Executive Director of the MBA and Masters in Finance programmes at London Business School.
Gareth spoke first of the school's ever-expanding presence in the luxury and retail sectors, pointing not only to the many industry professionals in the room but also to the growing number of current and future students who cite the Retail & Luxury Goods Club as well as the Walpole Programme in Luxury Management as core reasons for pursuing a graduate degree from London Business School. He emphasized the need to offer a luxury-focused elective at the school, and invited guests to co-create a curriculum that combines industry expertise with the school's vast academic resources.
Gabriella next introduced the evening's featured speaker Avril Noone, Retail Marketing Director of the UK, Ireland, and South Africa at Louis Vuitton. Noone spoke eloquently about the evolution of today's retail experience, focusing on the need for luxury retailers to pioneer holistic, customer-oriented experiences that seamlessly blend brick & mortar with digital while maintaining a consistent brand identity across all platforms. Her insights were refreshing and poignant, as well as they gave an early indication of how Louis Vuitton hopes to take advantage of the growing synergies between retail and technology to push their brand into the future of omnichannel retail.
The remainder of the evening was abuzz with industry discussion, new introductions, and a seemingly endless exchange of business cards - a telltale sign of the event's success. As guests left they were each handed a Harvey Nichols goody bag containing decadent chocolate truffles and miniature champagne bottles - the perfect parting gift for a night spent in the company of London's business savvy and sartorially sophisticated luxury professionals.
For more images of the Retail & Luxury Goods Club Alumni Reunion, scroll through the slideshow below: