Luis Bodes has always had in mind that quality is much more than quantity and that elegance is not opulence. His shop in Valencia, Hannover 1998, is one of the best men’s stores in the world. He also launched a perfume’s collection, Eight & Bob, that seduced from Barack Obama to Kerry Kennedy
Your family was linked to commerce, especially luxury, in the past or you were the one starting the path in this sector?
My first business adventure was born in Oviedo, my hometown, with a tailoring shop. A few years later we moved to Valencia and in 1998, as a result of the experience acquired during those years, the “Hannover” project was born.
So there are family roots.
Totally. Since my siblings and I were born we were taught an essential value: do your job the best you can achieve, even if we are talking about the smallest details. I think those are the seeds of what nowadays is Hannover.
How Hannover was born and why?
The idea from day one was to create the best men’s store in Valencia. With the best brands, with a pleasant decoration and most importantly: with a strong commitment to customer service. I wanted that any customer who entered the store will leave with a unique shopping experience. The formula worked and a few years later I decided to open Hannover in Sotogrande, considered the most exclusive urbanization in Europe, in addition to having the largest polo club of Europe, 6 golf courses, including Valderrama where the Ryder Cup was played, a magnificent marina… ¡The spot!
¿Why the name Hannover?
The name of Hannover was born in the airport of Mallorca. Every 15 days I used to travel to Palma because I had a store there and repeatedly I was listening through the loudspeakers: “The flight to Hannover …” and I liked how it sounded.
You got a lot of success from the very beginning.
Thank you, I guess it is true (he smiles). I put all my efforts to make Hannover one of the best men’s stores in Europe. Finally, after much uncertainty and overcoming some barriers, I bought the building next to the store. We demolished it and promoted a building with luxury homes, allocating the new Hannover’s store at the entrance. In April 2010 we inaugurated a new 800 m2 space exclusively for men, where customers can park their car in our private garage and access directly to the store with an elevator. All customers are greeted with a glass of French champagne and can shop in a relaxed way by lounging by the fireplace or smoking a cigar on the terrace… The customer can find from headphones designed by Philippe Stark, an extraordinary Australian wine or a Ferrari bicycle.
How does Luis Bodes select the firms in the store?
The selection of brands is one of the most difficult aspects of our job and precisely for this reason we are very demanding in terms of the quality of the garments, their fabrics, the details, the innovations… or the classical and impeccable tailoring. At the same time, we choose brands that can provide a style that fits perfectly with our image: contemporary, elegant, and fresh. There are many brands with which we have been working with for more than 20 years: Brunello Cucinelli, Loro Piana, Canali, Tod´s, Crockett & Jones, etc. In Hannover we cannot deceive our clients and that is why we are constantly looking for the best.
Going to your store is a unique experience, beyond what you acquire. How do you do it?
As mentioned before, being very demanding, selecting the highest quality garments and brands that identify with the style of Hannover. But I think what customers are most surprised about is the excellent team of professionals who work in Hannover. It is a fantastic human team, with a very complete training and with a very personal attention to each client.
And that passion for perfume? How was ‘Eight & Bob’ born? Why bet on the world of signature fragrances?
I always had the dream of creating a brand with international presence in the best stores in the world. One summer I realized that I could make my dream come true through Eight & Bob perfume.
All started with my father’s uncle, David Rubio. He was an important professor of Literature with a brilliant career. In the 1930’s Archer Huntington, one of the greatest fortunes in the United States and a devoted lover for the Spanish culture, called him to direct the library of the United States Congress. With Huntington’s financial support, David Rubio did a tremendous job turning the library into the largest one in the Spanish-speaking world. In gratitude, the US Congress paid tribute to him and today a portrait of him still hangs on its walls. The history of that perfume is inspired by this family member and his anecdotes from his tour of the USA.
How did Luis Bodes come into relation with the Kennedy’s family?
In November 2017, we received an email from the Robert Kennedy’s Foundation telling us that in 2018 they were celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the murder of Robert Kennedy and that they would like us to value the possibility of collaborating with them. They explained to us that for the 50th Anniversary they would celebrate 2 galas to raise funds: one on October the 25th, in Montecarlo, chaired by Prince Albert, and another on December the 12th in New York, which was attended by 1.500 people including Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and the most glamorous American society.
And which was your contribution?
We proposed to launch a special edition of our original perfume for those attending the 2 galas and also to sell it in an exclusive number of stores by donating a percentage to the Foundation. May that year, Kerry Kennedy, Robert’s daughter and President of the Foundation, presented the perfume in New York.
Are you still in contact – Joe is starting his career now – with them?
Yes, of course, we keep in touch with them and we will probably collaborate again in the future. It is a Foundation that does extraordinary work defending Human’s Rights and Kerry has brilliantly achieved recognition throughout the world.
What do you consider crucial in a men’s closet?
I think every man should have a navy blazer, a white shirt, and some Crockett & Jones in his wardrobe. As simple as that. From there you can start to build … I will go on with a timeless watch and an elegant scarf, but I would not add too many more accessories because elegance has never been a synonym of overloaded.
Future goals of Luis Bodes?
Right now, we are very focused on consolidating the Eight & Bob perfume’s collection and launching an incredible collection of amenities for luxury hotels.
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Text by Anna Tomàs