DUBAI — The world’s largest selection of shoes under one roof will debut in Dubai next month. With 96,000 square feet of retail space, Level Shoe District, a new concept by Dubai-based Chalhoub Group, will be the largest shoe store in the world, offering women’s and men’s contemporary and fashion footwear.
With more than 250 footwear brands, as well as a foot spa, in-house cobbler, private VIP lounges and a Vogue Café and Vogue Espresso bar (operated by Condé Nast Restaurants), Level is a pioneering department store concept that will be exclusively dedicated to shoes. “It’s a place for shoe lovers to come together, where our customers can spend the whole day,” said Rania Masri, general manager of Chalhoub Group Retails Fashion Own Concepts.
Level, located at the Dubai Mall, will be anchored by a Louis Vuitton flagship shoe store, the first of its kind in the world, with eight rooms as well as a bespoke shoe service. In addition to the anchors, the shoe megastore will host more than 40 individual branded shops-in-shop ranging from Prada and Yves Saint Laurent to Dior and Gucci, as well as designer and trend multibrand areas. The “sneaker avenue” will offer limited-edition collections from leading lifestyle brands.
“The thought is that the same customer who might buy a Lanvin shoe will also want the latest Nike collaboration,” said Masri.
Masri noted that there is strong demand for retail outlets that can serve as a platform for the footwear. “Design houses are spending a lot on developing this category. For instance, Gucci now has over 800 styles, but not many places can stock such a large selection.”
Also launching for the first time outside of London will be a Sole Lounge by foot specialist and celebrity favorite Margaret Dabbs. Podiatrists and nail technicians will offer treatments, including oxygen revitalization therapy for the feet.
The Chalhoub Group, one of the largest franchisers of luxury brands in the Middle East, brought in SHED, a London-based interior architecture and design agency whose clients include Vertu and Harrods, to design the concept. One of the hallmark pieces will be a central digital art installation designed by United Visual Artists, the team behind the visual installation at Buckingham Palace during Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee celebrations.
“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