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Arden: Opening the Red Door

After an intensive four-month revamp, Elizabeth Arden's venerable Red Door retail space in Manhattan has gotten a 21st-century makeover.

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After an intensive four-month revamp, Elizabeth Arden’s venerable Red Door retail space in Manhattan has gotten a 21st-century makeover.

This story first appeared in the January 25, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The challenge for the store — in operation since 1930 at 691 Fifth Avenue — was to “open up the retail space and reflect our brand strategy,” said Elizabeth Park, executive vice president of global marketing and general manager of Elizabeth Arden U.S. “The new space allows us, essentially, to run an experimental retail lab.”

The 1,000-square-foot store — which has about 630 square feet of selling space — will serve as a global flagship for Arden and a model for future retail stores worldwide, said Mary Beth Mazzotta, vice president of sales and marketing services. “We think it will also enhance sales for our department store partners, as customers — many of whom are tourists — will be able to easily see and experience our entire product range,” Mazzotta said. “We will also take our best practices from this store to our department store counters.”

Designed by Glenn Leitch, principal of Highland Associates, the store setup is strictly modern, yet includes nods to the Arden heritage — particularly in the liberal use of the color red, the founder’s signature color. One of the renovation’s central points is a 14-foot-high curved wall finished in shiny red lacquer. Intended to resemble a curving ribbon, the wall — fabricated and executed by Dan Gutfreund of Industry Outfitters — includes nooks for makeup artist consultations, products and a galley that will feature changing displays of art, celebrities and philanthropic projects. Opposite the ribbon wall, a dramatic chrome and glass display wall backed by an LED light panel showcases products. Colors can be changed depending on the display or time of year, such as green and red for Christmas, noted Mazzotta. Nearby, huge video panels showcase runway clips and Arden commercials and promotional videos.

At the back of the store, a circular table with a dramatic chandelier above it showcases skin care. A wenge wood doorway leads to elevators to the Red Door Spa, the operation of which Arden licenses to a third party. Even the store’s new phone number — 212-MS-Arden — echoes the theme.

Arden plans a gala opening for the store in March, although the space had its soft opening this month.

 

While Arden executives declined to comment on projected sales, industry sources estimated that the store could generate retail sales of more than $1.5 million in its first year of operation.

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