The high-end indie beauty chain, founded by Lily Garfield in Aspen, Colo., in 1976, has just opened a 900-square-foot store at the El Paseo Shops in Palm Desert, Calif.
The new store — Garfield's second in California and 10th nationwide — carries a variety of high-end skin care, color cosmetics and fragrances. "Our aim is to make you feel like you're in our house," said Garfield, who said she tailors the appearance of each Cos Bar store to its location — with Palm Desert designed to be Rodeo Drive-style chic.
"When a customer walks in, we aren't accosting them. We're letting her browse in the candy store, and when she has questions, we steer her in suitable directions," she said. "In some stores, you might be pressured to buy an entire range from the same line — but perhaps it's better for the client's skin to cherry-pick from different lines. I make sure that every single person who works for me is well-versed on everything we sell, so we can help the customer make an informed decision."
Garfield instructs her staff to ask what products the client is already using before recommending anything new. "We want to know what she's happy with, as well as what she's not happy with — it's not just about selling another $500 cream," said Garfield. "If it doesn't work, she won't be back. While she may be ready to buy a whole line when she walks in, we may sell her one product that will improve the efficacy of everything she's already using. It's about asking the question."
Garfield's top skin care brands include Chanel, La Prairie, Cle de Peau, Kanebo and Sisley. Serums and creams, ranging in price from $125 to $650, account for a large percentage of that business.
Garfield also has a healthy color cosmetics business, which she sees as a purely impulse buy. "No one is loyal to color," she observed.
While Garfield declined to discuss sales projections for the Palm Desert store, industry sources estimated that it could do $1 million in its first year of operation.
The Palm Desert store is being run by Garfield's son, Oliver Garfield. "Oliver spent a year in Bloomingdale's management program and is a detail man on expansion," said Garfield.
Speaking of expansion, Garfield's not done yet with California. She plans to open a third California store (in addition to Palm Desert, there is a Cos Bar location in Carmel) in Malibu this summer. A second store in Scottsdale, Ariz., is planned for 2010. However, she is adamant on one point: "We will never go into big regional malls," she said. "I have no intention of competing with Neiman Marcus or other huge specialty stores. But I don't have a problem being in the suburbs."
“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