DUBAI — The world’s largest shoe store, Level Shoe District, opens its doors today in Dubai Mall.
“This is a place for people who are passionate about shoes, who are addicted to shoes, who are obsessed about shoes,” said Patrick Chalhoub, chief executive officer of Chalhoub Group, the store’s parent company.
With more than 96,000 square feet of space and a selection of up to 15,000 different styles at any one time, Level is double the size of the world’s largest shoe floors including Selfridges in London and Macy’s in New York. The store is divided into four areas: women’s designer, women’s contemporary, men’s and trends and has 40 designer concessions, including anchor tenants Louis Vuitton, Prada and Gucci.
Chalhoub described the store as a “milestone” for the family-run company, which operates more than 450 luxury retail units in the Middle East. “In the many ventures in which we’ve been associated, we’ve been a franchisee trying to have the perfect execution of what the franchisers were giving,” he said. “In this specific place we’ve had to create the concept. The challenging part was to be a house of brands rather than the execution of one specific brand.
“Its very complex for our buyers because we need to give people the depth of choice but also things that are adapted to many different tastes,” said Chalhoub.
The store will have the spring collection of Louis Vuitton four to six weeks before anywhere else in the world. Aside from the selection of designer brands, Level will feature a concept store called The Zoo, featuring Middle Eastern brands, providing a launch pad for regional talent. Merchandising for Level was very complicated, said Chalhoub, as the idea is to offer “something for everyone.”
That includes a VIP room where dedicated shoe stylists can receive customers who prefer privacy. For men, Level has an in-house master cobbler, a graduate of the prestigious French Apprenticeship Les Compagnons Du Devoir, making bespoke creations.
“Women in the Middle East are perhaps more attached to shoes than anywhere else in the world,” said Chalhoub. But he is not banking on that alone, adding that the large amount of retail tourism in the Emirate is crucial to success. “With 10 million visitors coming to Dubai, it creates a booming retail environment,” he said.
The idea for a dedicated department store for footwear, he said, was based on qualitative market research. “Footwear is one of the fastest developing in luxury,” he said. “We are in an era where people are paying much more attention to the shoes they wear.” Despite the wobbly global economy, Chalhoub said business has stayed on track. “It’s a growing market and has been developing even throughout the crisis because people do not stop dreaming,” he said. “People aspire to a better life, people aspire for luxury, for quality.”
While Chalhoub would not reveal investment figures, he said this is one of the company’s biggest undertakings to date. “I’m not an entrepreneur if I do not take risks and don’t take challenges,” Chalhoub said. “For us it’s a question of looking at what customers want and delivering the best experience. What we don’t know for sure is how long it will take until we have a return on investment. Will it be five years, will it be 12 years? What we are sure of is our commitment to make it work and happen.”
Level is still in soft opening stages, but nearly 80 percent of the store is complete. The Vogue Café (operated by Condé Nast Restaurants) will open by December.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)