IT’S UNLIKELY to suggest deep fried Mars Bars or a trip to the Barras market. But there’s one thing the Louis Vuitton Guide to Glasgow certainly won’t be recommending – a trip to Edinburgh.
In a snub to Scotland’s capital, the Paris-based design house has selected Glasgow as the only Scottish entry in its latest collection of world city guides, even though Edinburgh is home to the country’s only Louis Vuitton store.
Even worse, while an Edinburgh guide has been printed before, it has been dropped from the 2013 range, which includes Glasgow for a second time as well as European style capitals Cannes, Venice, Budapest and Vienna. The only other British cities included are Manchester and London.
Louis Vuitton, best known for the distinctive LV monogram on its bags and luggage, has printed a set of chic city guides to 40 international destinations, including Paris, London, New York, Tokyo and San Francisco which it promises are “an essential vade mecum [walk with me] for the urban explorer”. The guides list bars, restaurants, shops, hotels and tourist attractions that it says are chosen “with flair and discernment” and aim to provide a stylish guide for “laid-back travellers, business travellers and the residents themselves”.
Edinburgh’s exclusion has surprised some of the city’s champions. Independent MSP Margo MacDonald said Louis Vuitton should have considered including Edinburgh. “Everyone worth their salt knows Edinburgh is the style capital of Scotland,” she said. “These people are trying just too hard to be leaders of style and be fashionable so they’ve decided to go for gallus over glamorous.”
Sarah Murray, who runs fashion boutique Jane Davidson, said: “We sell some amazing international fashion brands exclusively in Scotland and in addition to high quality niche boutiques like us, we actually have a Louis Vuitton and Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh.”
And Iain Griffiths, assistant manager of Edinburgh’s Bramble, which was last week ranked 10th in the world’s 50 Best Bars at London Cocktail Week, said: “Despite the fact Glasgow’s a bigger city, Edinburgh puts forward something that’s consistently more interesting and stylish. Edinburgh is an international city tenfold compared to Glasgow.”
Louis Vuitton, recently named the world’s most valuable luxury brand, recommends independent stores and restaurants in Glasgow such as quirky ‘mini department store’ Pierrot et Coco, second hand book shop Young’s Interesting Books, bakery and coffee shop Tapa Organic Bakehouse, vintage clothing store Starry Starry Night and seafood restaurant Crabshakk.
The secretive design house did not comment on why it had dropped Edinburgh from its latest edition of guides, but one Edinburgh man-about-town had a theory.
Martin Hunt, who runs Tartan Silk PR and promotes Edinburgh said: “I was in a New York cab two weeks ago and when I said I was from Edinburgh the driver said ‘oh my God, you’ve got problems with the trams, haven’t you?’ Is that not an indictment on what this city’s reputation is globally at the moment?”
However Kenny Campbell, Head of Tours at Edinburgh Bus Tours, said the city still had plenty to offer. “We would welcome the opportunity to take a writer for the publisher on a tour to showcase the wonderful history and culture of Scotland’s vibrant capital.”
Glaswegians meanwhile, were delighted by the inclusion. Morven Kerr, who runs Pierrot et Coco with husband Pierro Landi, said: “We think it’s an honour to be included. It’s wonderful for all the great places in Glasgow to be listed alongside some of the world’s most glamorous locations.”
Scott Taylor, chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “In recent years, the world’s best publications and renowned travel guides have consistently ranked Glasgow as a must-visit destination, highlighting the city’s growing global profile as a leading retail, cultural and style centre.
“The fact that Glasgow has appeared twice in Louis Vuitton’s guides – the only Scottish city to do so – strongly reflects the city’s position as Scotland’s retail and cultural capital and sends a clear message to UK retailers; if you think you’re in the wrong city or town, relocate to Glasgow and put your brand in the global spotlight.”
Although a Louis Vuitton shop in Glasgow has been discussed, it opened in Edinburgh’s Multrees Walk in 2003.
Sandra White, SNP MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, said both cities had their charms. “Glasgow is a wonderful city that sparkles with creative brilliance. The innovative flair of Glasgow is showcased in a range famous and independent boutiques, galleries, festivals, shops and cafes. Maybe the people compiling the guides could consider including Edinburgh next year as well, which although very different to Glasgow, is an exciting and vibrant capital city.”
The guides will be available from tomorrow in French and English from the Louis Vuitton website and French book shops.