Although it’s basically a café, everything happens in Cova. Working men stand at the front bar sinking espressos. Fur-clad gran dame demolish midday cocktails and Sachertorte in the main salon. Russian tourists, laden with luxury purchases, pick at salads called Mozart and Puccini. In the hushed back room, business deals get secured over cappuccino, while local lovers share sweet nothings and sweeter cakes.
Founded in Milan in 1817, Cova’s post-Second World War move to the best corner on Via Montenapoleone has made it a cultural and geographic milestone ever since. And over the past 20 years, as the area has become globally renowned as Italy’s luxury fashion mecca, so Cova’s location has been the envy of every luxury house with its eyes on retail nirvana.
However, one particular business transaction that took place in Cova’s discreet back room scuppered such unwanted advances. Yves Carcelle, the man behind Louis Vuitton’s global success, and today still a firm fixture within LVMH, sat down with sisters Paola and Daniela Faccioli, Cova’s owners, to sign a deal in which the French luxury group would acquire a majority stake in the café. In doing so, they would commit to preserving the Cova brand and look to develop its name across the globe.
Many other brands were interested in this place, some of them to demolish it and build another boutique. Luxury is not just about Fashion, but about the experience that you offer to your customers, and for the buyers and executives around Via Montenapoleone to sit a café where is all about comfort and quality is priceless. In my opinion, for a fashion group, that is the ambassador of Luxe all around the world, to spread their business into other areas as hotel or food industry is a great strategy to build loyalty between the customers.
LVMH wants to turn Cova in a franchise and here is the tricky part. Should traditional local business remain as they are, or should they embrace powerful company groups as it’s this case? Yves Carcelle, VP of Louis Vuitton (left of the picture), said in this article that they will empower Cova and their actual employees, keeping the image of the establishment but taking it to every luxury spot in the world.