Mar 26, 2009
Eliana Tranchesi is a petite, blonde dynamo, recently hailed as a “business icon” in Vanity Fair magazine. The divorcée, now in her mid-fifties and battling cancer, transformed Daslu - the São Paulo clothing boutique her mother Lúcia Piva de Albuquerque founded in 1958 - into one of the world’s largest luxury empires, selling fashions by top brands like Prada, Dior and Gucci, china, flowers, wines and even helicopters.
In the beginning, senhora Albuquerque sold finery from home, to her wealthy friends, as they sipped coffee and chatted. When her mother passed away, Eliana took over and expanded, but kept the intimate interconnecting salons off-limits to husbands. Neighbouring houses were patched onto the original boutique, the walls between them taken down.
The well-dressed, well-heeled salesgirls chat up the clients, who parade around the labyrinth of plushly furnished rooms in their underwear, trying on outfits while maids in black uniforms follow them silently, tidying up the mess. In the 90s, when Brazil’s economy opened up to exports, Eliana jumped at the chance and signed with Maison Chanel. Other prestigious brands followed suit.
The store grew to include a second street block, housing a men’s department which is open to both sexes, as well as several shops-within-a-shop (Daslu Casa, Daslu Teen, etc.). Guarded by an army of security guards, it became so huge that neighbours began protesting its presence in the residential district. This prompted Eliana to move her empire to a custom-built Italian-style palazzo in a commercial neighbourhood, increasing the total floor space from 12,000 to 20,000 m2. The inauguration was celebrated with a series of glitzy fêtes, impeccably hosted by the queen bee herself.
Three questions for Eliana Tranchesi:
What inspires you?
My desire to make my clients even happier and more beautiful.
In what would you like to innovate?
With the inauguration of my new store in May we will be innovating, by having fashion, home furnishings, technology, culture, lifestyle and philanthropy all under the same roof.
Do you feel you are an innovator?
Yes, in the sense that Daslu is unique. It wasn’t based on any other store, and nothing like it exists anywhere in the world.