Mauboussin wants to take on Manhattan.
This story first appeared in the September 26, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The French jeweler, which has not sold in the U.S., plans to open a splashy, five-floor, 6,000-square-foot boutique at 714 Madison Avenue next month.
Designed by David Rockwell, the shop is meant to emphasize the brand’s artistic leanings and creative heritage, said Alain Nemarq, Mauboussin’s president.
“We wanted to find a new way to present bijoux,” Nemarq said. “We want to shake up the usual way and create a place full of air centered on active women who are interested in fashion and jewelry.”
Art will figure prominently. French actress and sculptor Marine Delterme will show one of her cast resin pieces. Painter Aki Kuroda, who designed the firm’s store on Paris’ Champs-Elysées, and sculptor Clara Halter also will have works on view.
Three floors will be devoted to jewels. The first will feature fashion jewelry, the second will be devoted to diamonds and the third to engagement and wedding rings. Prices range from about $650 to $5 million, said Nemarq.
A “gourmet” salon will grace the fourth floor and “will mostly be devoted to chocolate,” said Nemarq, while the top floor will be a loftlike VIP lounge.
Nemarq said three-star Parisian chef Yannick Alleno of Le Meurice would prepare a meal once a month in the space for about 20 people.
“It will be a dinner for friends,” he said.
French entrepreneur Dominique Fremont, who took control in 2002 and hired Nemarq, owns Mauboussin, which had sales last year of some 30 million euros, or about $41.1 million at average exchange rates.
The company has slowly been expanding at home. Now international growth is on the agenda. Nemarq said a flagship in Tokyo’s Ginza was set to open in January.
“We haven’t been sold in the U.S., so the New York store is important,” he said. “We needed to be here in order to grow in the States.”
Nemarq said he wasn’t worried about the turbulence in the financial markets.
“The U.S. is a huge opportunity for us,” he said. “It’s 35 percent of the worldwide jewelry trade. And it’s a key moment in America. The society is changing. How else can you explain the arrival on the scene of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin. These are fundamental signs of change.”