“I’ve got no right to complain,” Stanley Whitman, the owner and visionary developer of Bal Harbour Shops, said last week.
He turned 95 on Nov. 15, continues to go to work two to three days a week, sometimes more, and has his family ensconced in the business, which reassures him about the future.
And he continues to tabulate his luxury center’s extraordinary productivity, which he doesn’t mind boasting about. “When we opened Bal Harbour Shops in 1965, the Ala Moana shopping center had by far the highest sales per square foot,” Whitman told WWD. “By 1970, we passed Ala Moana in sales per square foot, and for every year since we have had the highest sales per square foot in any center anywhere. Last year, we had $2,600 a foot, and this year we are tracking at over $2,800.”
“The big thing is having my family working here,” having entrusted his son Randy and grandson Matthew Whitman Lazenby to the leasing and management. “They’re doing a fantastic job. We don’t always agree but we always get along.”
Almost 50 years ago, Whitman, whose house was on the site of Bal Harbour Shops, saw the potential in luxury long before the rest of the shopping-center industry. He came up with the concept of bringing the luxury retailers of Fifth Avenue to Miami Beach and foresaw that Miami as a tourist mecca would only grow, and that tourism and luxury would be a potent combination.
“I was the first to successfully develop a luxury shopping center; others have tried with limited success. My success bred my competition,” Whitman said. “Luxury merchants eventually found out that in certain locations you can do a smashing job.”
He’s compiled an impressive list of innovations, among them bringing parking structures to a mall. “It’s a wonderful solution when you don’t have land. You shorten the walking distance to the stores. The fact that we were the first to charge for parking, customers didn’t appreciate it. But they have gotten used to it.”
His decision to put trees in the parking lot was pioneering as well. “No one ever planted a tree in an urban parking lot. You break up the asphalt and it’s difficult to keep clean, but I did it for aesthetic reasons.”
Whitman had opportunities to create other malls around the country. Yet there’s always been a singular focus on the 450,000-square-foot Bal Harbour, which has set in motion a 200,000-square-foot expansion. That is, until earlier this year when the Whitmans became codevelopers and equity partners in the 500,000-square-foot retail component of the 2.9 million-square-foot Brickell CityCentre. Brickell is a mixed-use project being built in Miami’s financial center by Swire Properties. The Whitmans will bring their high-end retail expertise to help develop and lease that shopping center.
“Brickell is in an area where there are dozens of these five-star hotels,” Whitman observed. “It’s become the primary financial center, with these high-end hotels, tremendous density of condominiums and offices growing there and now, for the first time, we have an opportunity to get into another market. It’s a wonderful opportunity. They get the business tourists. We get the resort tourists.”
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)