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So, are people buying designer brands at Greenbelt 3?

The stores are never quite empty. More important— this year, revenue in luxury goods market in the PH is projected at $1.303 billion

Hermes at Greenbelt 3

From Hermes 2022 Fall Winter

Queue at Louis Vuitton

I was sitting at Starbucks on my second cup of coffee, waiting for Greenbelt 3 to open. There weren’t many people around—mostly 20-somethings sunning under the green awnings of the café—and I was getting impatient. I had been tasked to observe and experience the new mall area with its luxury stores, and I couldn’t wait to see the new Dior, Fendi, Off-White, and most of all, the Officine Universelle Buly shop.

When the time finally came, my first destination was, of course, the Louis Vuitton store, the holy grail. Few people were lining up because it was still early. I observed a young group of friends toting Off-White bags, what looked like the Binder Mini Flap Crossbody and the Binder Camera Bag. They were finally let inside the LV store. When it was my turn, I had to wait a few minutes. I inquired with the staff standing outside why this was the case—the store was practically empty—and they said it was to make sure that a sales consultant would be present to attend to me inside. There was a QR code outside that said, “Don’t like the line? Book online.”

Signage at LV

Inside, the sales consultant attending to me was very friendly, but, I found, also very assertive. I said I was just looking around. She left me alone, but I could feel her presence and eagerness, waiting to see if I would inquire about anything.

Inside LV store

The store was spacious, with relatively high ceilings. While the store on the Champs Élysées feels a bit cold and is laden with several very obvious glass cases, the bag display at Greenbelt 3 store left the eye more focused on the merchandise and the bags on the shelves. Light colors abounded, and several elegant sculptures throughout the space reminded you that this was an experience to be enjoyed. The store was infused with a feeling of warmth. There were special details of raffia, saguran, bamboo and capiz.

I noticed a foreigner purchasing several bags; she walked out of there obviously happy, to add to what I imagined was a collection of LV bags. It was only just before noon, but it was bustling with sales staff ready to attend to every whim. Outside, the line got slightly longer. A young family entered and began looking around. I sat down on one of the light green sofas with a wooden table in the middle of the space and stared at the clothes on display. Beautifully crafted and designed—although the bags are the main draw of Louis Vuitton—the clothes were excellent. Nicholas Ghesquiere is a genius, and there are always rumors that his contract with the house will end soon, but let’s hope he continues working with the maison.

It was a pleasure to explore Hermès, the bastion of all things well-made

Fendi mesh baguette

At around midnoon, there were 12 people in line outside. I noticed one of them carrying a Lady Dior bag and several other people were toting unbranded, low-key but quality-made handbags. The men were in new Nikes. By 1 pm there were all sorts of customers, those with simple backpacks and shoes that didn’t scream their labels. You couldn’t tell who had the means and who didn’t. It ran the gamut.

Meanwhile, outside Fendi, there were few in line, not as brand-conscious in appearance as those lining up for Louis Vuitton. Inside, a few male customers were trying on shoes and clothes. There was a gorgeous beige mesh Fendi baguette on display along with various colors of thread. It was a design-your-own baguette bag; the same kind of customization is unavailable at Louis Vuitton (although they monogram small leather goods and offer painting on their trunks).

From Hermes 2022 Fall Winter

I decided to go to Hermès to look around and found a lady fully clothed and accessorized in Hermès looking around. It was a pleasure to explore Hermès, the bastion of all things well-made. The brand is apparently opening a 200 sqm preview space around June which will be filled with silk and ties, shoes, fashion accessories, leather goods, perfume, art de vivre, belts, saddlery, pet accessories, and more.

A couple of hours later I went back to Louis Vuitton to observe the line outside. There was a gaggle of people, from those wearing MCM bags to those who were dressed in a simpler manner. I must have looked suspicious standing there staring because when I got back in the store, after having sat down to soothe my aching feet, after a minute I was approached by one of the sales staff. “Ma’am, are you being assisted?” “My feet are tired, I’m just resting.” “If you wish to look around, you can.” “I see, so I can’t sit here and rest?” “You can, then if you wish to look around you can,” he said pointedly.

I also saw the lady who was at Hermès previously. She was shopping for clothes. What a lovely way to spend a day of shopping: from Hermès to Vuitton (and who knows where to next?).

At Officine Universelle Buly at Greenbelt 3

I decided to head on over to Officine Universelle Buly, where the scents left me in a heavenly relaxed state. It was also the opening day of Kenzo at Greenbelt 3, and in focus was the third limited edition collection for the season by the brand’s new designer, Nigo.


Inside the Off-White store was a customer toting a Birkin; she was with somebody who looked like her daughter. The next day, when I looked at the line outside Off-White, a woman was holding a Lady Dior and others with accessories of equal quality. The same Off-White Binder Camera Bag was being held by a customer outside Univers, which had a short line but an impressive lineup of bags being toted.

The Philippines isn’t a high-end fashion shopping destination. But that, some may argue, is changing

Sunday at around 4 pm was different compared to Saturday. Hordes of people were strolling the hallway; lines outside stores were extra-long. I didn’t want to wait in line to get into Vuitton, but observed that it took about five to 10 minutes for the next customer to be let in. It was also the same person from Saturday attending to the customers at the door. At Hermès, the wait in line before being let in was about the same time, but with a significantly less number of people waiting.

It was family day and there were several young people, couples, groups of friends—same as the day before, but multiplied in quantity. Here you saw people just passing through, with shopping bags from Landmark and MiniSo, and others toting Dior and Kenzo shopping bags. There were also several groups of people speaking Chinese and what sounded like Korean walking around and lining up to get into Vuitton. Everywhere you looked, someone was carrying a Louis Vuitton bag. Real or fake? Who can tell anymore? Just two weeks ago, the National Bureau of Investigation seized fake Louis Vuitton goods in Greenhills worth around P63 million. But if you simply can’t get enough of the brand and are planning a trip out of town soon, head over to Singapore, where they are having an exposition of their trunks for a couple of more weeks.

So how is it looking for the brands in Greenbelt 3? “Tax cuts, GDP growth and plans for greater deregulation have led to an increase in luxury consumption in [the Philippines],” a 2019 article in Vogue Business stated. According to an article in Euromonitor International, luxury spending in the Philippines, including fragrances and other luxury items, totaled $1.4 billion in 2018—up 40 percent from 2013. This year, revenue in the luxury goods market in the Philippines will amount to $1.303 billion.

In international circles, it’s said that the Philippines isn’t a high-end fashion shopping destination. But that, some may argue, is changing. According to information site Statista, the revenue of luxury apparel in the Philippines will amount to $190 million this year, and the market is expected to grow annually by 3.35 percent. Just in the past couple of years, LVMH, SSI, H&F Retail Concepts, Noble House, and others have brought in and will bring in the likes of Balmain, Fendi, Dior, Off-White, Thom Browne, Kenzo, RIMOWA, Officine Universelle Buly, Roger Vivier, Jimmy Choo and Loewe to Greenbelt 3.

The best is yet to come.

About author


She was fashion editor of Mega and Metro magazines, in different stints, and former editor in chief of Metro style. She also wrote for Philippine Daily Inquirer for a decade. She lived and worked in Paris for eight years, writing for international publications, and worked as copywriter for Louis Vuitton Paris. Now based in Manila, she has a content marketing and copywriting firm. She continues to write about luxury and fashion.

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