“One of the most fascinating retails schemes in Budapest” – Il Bacio di Stile is going to be shut down by the end of July.
This spectacular temple opened its doors to the public in September 9, 2013, resting on its 5000 m sq around 500 prominent Hungarian and foreign guests. Perfect location – Andrássy út 19, opposite the famous Hungarian Opera and the building itself, which was commissioned by Zsigmond Brül between 1880- 1881 with the sole purpose of building apartments. Although in the past few years the building stayed empty, it was declared as a historical monument, therefore each renovation must be approved by the authorities.
This fashion mecca has been owned by György Gattyán, who was listed as the wealthiest man in Hungary by Forbes in 2014. Well, we should go back to the beginning of his career, where in 2001 he created a live webcam site Livejasmin.com for erotic content. Making millions on his porn business, he has been called “porn king” of Hungary. Gattyán owned several companies, but opened Il Bacio di Stile in 2013, supposed to be the most luxurious investment, which could also revamp his image.
Right after the opening, he was quoted in the Budapest Business Journal, as saying “money does not matter (for) this investment”. Oh well, if he only knew that after less than 2 years, his luxurious clothes will be sold out on discounts up to 80%, maybe he would recall his statement.
I had a pleasure to visit this store for the first time, in 2014. A 3 floors store reminded you of a palace filled with beautiful, luxurious furniture and decorations. I got a feeling as if I was going for some afternoon tea to Queen Elizabeth. Soft carpets, massive tables on which you could praise carefully selected accessories and sophisticated hangers where you could peep through high end fashion clothing. Portfolio of this store was really impressive, keeping the most luxurious brands such as: Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Lanvin , Céline, Chloé, Oscar de la Renta or Gucci. You could also find collections from Hungarian designer Napsugar von Bittera. Staff, mainly consisted of young people, seemed to be friendly and professional, but a bit frightened too. I guess it was not so easy to handle Valentio coats worth nearly 1 M Huf. The smallest stain could cost you your job!
All in all, I had a positive feeling about this store, especially when I reminded myself of an absolutely amazing shop window, designed in a very unique way. And a fragrance was always following you till few meters away from the store.
But there was still one question which kept popping in my head – who is going to buy there? Millionaires? How many of those do we have in Hungary? According to the latest Hungarian survey created by GfK Hungary, a market research company and the Center for Social Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Hungary has 2 % of elite class and only 10.5 % upper middle class. But can we really compare earnings of elite class in Hungary to the one in UK, Germany or France? I don’t think so.
Second group of targeted people was foreigners/tourists. I would not count much on expats living in Budapest, as they make more or less the same amount of money as an average Hungarian who has a bit higher position.
As a result, we have currently a massive sale which offers even 80% discount on selected clothes and accessories. Sounds crazy? Maybe, but this is surely heaven for all rich tourists who are visiting Budapest right now. I went to Il Bacio di Stile to check how this whole sale fever was going on and I must say it looked a bit funny.
Asians (Japanese/ South Korean) with their young, quite loud kids asking in their begging tone, about smaller sizes along with some Britishers and Germans and a few Hungarians trying to get some last pieces. The store itself, however still charming, looked a bit empty. Few rooms have been already closed and personnel did not look so professional either. I spotted a young girl and a boy from the staff laughing out loud and making fun instead of following their last customers. I was shocked when I saw one member of the staff wearing extremely short blue shorts and very tight top, and the other shop assistant who was wearing denim shorts. I was thinking ‘Seriously?’ Just because the store is about to be closed, it shouldn’t mean that the dress code does not apply any more. I was even able to shamelessly take few photos of the interiors as nobody really cared about it (I believe it was not the case before).
Il Bacio di Stile – “The kiss of style”, in Italian, reminded me a bit one of the Almodóvar’s melodrama: we had an impressive opening, fake promises of Budapest being an European fashion hub, few celebrities and bloggers taking selfies in the rich interiors of the store and at the end, all we got was a farewell rose. I guess we do not have anymore Il Bacio di Stile but rather Il Bacio della Morte (kiss of death).
Guys stay tuned! However this is the end of a beautiful friendship between high end fashion and Hungarian society, a porn business is still doing great here! More spicy post will be releasing soon. So far take your dirty thoughts captive!