The accessories designer, best known for handmade women’s gladiator sandals, is opening his first store in New York’s TriBeCa neighborhood on Monday. The news follows a flurry of expansion efforts, including a larger fall handbag offering, a new leather-based jewelry collection and a men’s line of smoking-style shoes for fall.
Founded in 2005, Bernson’s label is also rolling out a five-piece collection of caged boots, mary janes and suede fringe booties that it created with Dannijo for fall. While the collaboration will retail for between $238 and $370, Bernson’s core offering of sandals, boots and flats ranges from $125 to $325.
“The idea was to make the highest-quality product possible but to keep the prices accessible,” Bernson told WWD from his new store on 20 Harrison St. “The focus is on doing things well. It’s never to do things bigger, bigger, bigger. It’s a focus on how well we can do it.”
That approach has paid dividends, according to the designer, who said that revenues were up more than 90 percent in 2010, and in 2011, they grew 110 percent year over year. Since the recession, the brand has only grown, and has been profitable for the past three-and-a-half years. He declined to reveal total revenues.
With the bulk of his business coming from online, specialty stores and select department stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Bernson is now embarking on a new frontier with his 2,200-square-foot boutique. From the light fixtures to the furniture, all elements of the store, which overlooks the brand’s showroom, were selected or designed by Bernson to reflect the brand’s aesthetic of urban elegance and rustic ease.
“The goal is to open multiple stores in the next three to five years,” he said, pinpointing markets in Los Angeles, Chicago, Florida and Texas. “But first we want to test this store and see what works.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast