NEW YORK — If Kwiat can make it here, it can make it anywhere.
So believes the 101-year-old diamond jewelry firm, which is opening its inaugural flagship at 725 Madison Avenue on Monday.
The 1,000-square-foot store will be the only venue to offer the entire range of Kwiat styles, from simple diamond studs to elaborate, red-carpet-worthy diamond and gemstone necklaces that retail in the millions of dollars.
“It’s a huge step for us,” said Kwiat’s chief financial officer Greg Kwiat. “Madison Avenue is the grandest stage for jewelry in the world.”
Kwiat said the firm took nine months to find the most appropriate space. There are no plans at this point to open additional stand-alone boutiques, but there are plans to open additional in-store shops, a strategy the company began last year. Kwiat jewelry is sold in 250 doors across the U.S. and 40 points of sale throughout Canada, the Caribbean and Russia. The Middle East and Asia represent two new markets for Kwiat.
“One of the great things about the store is that we can showcase the range of what Kwiat can do,” the cfo said.
The boutique features classic diamond line jewelry, bridal jewelry, styles from the Vintage collection and one-of-a-kind pieces. Prices range from $1,500 for a small pendant to $1.5 million for a one-of-a-kind piece.
Architecture firm Barteluce Architects & Associates designed the space to reflect the brand’s “timeless elegance” theme with 18-foot-high ceilings in satin nickel and glass display cases with smoky blue wood and a large white marble staircase. There is a private room for VIP clients and a video screen will feature changing images of celebrities such as Halle Berry, Natalie Portman and Hilary Swank wearing the brand’s jewelry.
And while some might consider this an inopportune time to take such a risky step, Kwiat said the top end of the jewelry business is still doing well despite the rocky economy.
“So far, we feel that the high end of the market has been strong and New York City is certainly a unique market in the U.S.,” he said. “We feel it’s still a good time to be opening in these economic conditions.”
Kwiat wouldn’t divulge sales projections for the store or the company’s overall volume, but anticipates the store will increase the overall business by from 10 to 20 percent. Actress Jennifer Hudson, who wore Kwiat jewelry when she was a contestant on “American Idol,” will host the boutique opening party on Sept. 3.
“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