NEW YORK — West 34th Street is a street of big ambitions. Now three retailers have chosen to open their largest stores in the U.S. on the street.
Geox, Esprit and Aéropostale want to tap into the one million people a day using mass transit — the Long Island Rail Road, NJ Transit and Amtrak, city subways and buses and the PATH system.
Geox recently opened a 6,000-square-foot flagship at 29 West 34th Street between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. The store, which houses the company’s first showroom in the U.S., was designed to highlight Geox’s apparel collection, which had a 42.8 percent sales increase in the first half of this year. Sales in North America grew 20 percent.
The West 34th Street store is the first to display Geox’s new fashion-focused design concept. While the company is well known for delivering comfort through its breathable technology, Geox is emphasizing its Italian heritage and fashion-forward side with the opening of the store. Technology features are downplayed, a spokeswoman said, adding the store is more about the visual merchandising and showing the increased range of apparel. While outerwear is the main offering — Italian wool argyle sweaters, cardigans and tunics are sold overseas — there is also fashion footwear such as pumps and over-the-knee leather boots.
With a new president, John Gunn, a veteran of Tommy Hilfiger, charged with growing the business in the Americas, Esprit in March will open an 18,000-square-foot flagship at 21-25 West 34th Street. It will be Esprit’s largest store in North America and second-largest worldwide. Apple leased the retail space several years ago, but decided not to open a store there. Instead, Apple subleased the first three floors to Esprit. The flagship will have an open and airy design and floors will be connected by a custom-designed staircase. Offerings will include men’s and women’s casualwear and men’s and women’s collections, women’s EDC and accessories for both sexes.
Aéropostale in November will open its first street-level location on West 34th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. The brand is primarily found in shopping malls and, in fact, operates a unit in Manhattan Mall. That store’s fate couldn’t be determined at press time.
Aéropostale has been on a roll. The retailer in June launched a retail concept geared to tweens, P.S. from Aéropostale. For the second quarter ended Aug. 1, Aéropostale posted a sales increase of 20 percent to $453 million, from $377 million in the same year-ago period. Same-store sales for the quarter advanced 12 percent compared with an 11 percent increase last year.
“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