By  on July 10, 2007

BEVERLY HILLS — Emboldened by new owner The Yucaipa Cos. LLC, Garrard is ready to compete with the big guns on Rodeo Drive.

The London jeweler, established in 1735, will officially open a two-level, 3,600-square-foot U.S. flagship today on the heavyweight retail thoroughfare. Lined with awnings in its signature raspberry color, the second-story store joins Georg Jensen, Tiffany & Co. and Gucci Fine Jewelry at Two Rodeo, an intimate open-air shopping center across the street from the famed Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons hotel.

"You need to be here to actually be able to show that you are in the luxury business, to be able to captivate that clientele," said Garrard chief executive officer Robert Procop, who scouted Beverly Hills locations all last year before settling on the former spot of Badgley Mischka and Escada Sport.

Two Rodeo's ample parking, private entrance and European feel were key selling points.

Architect Jordan Mozer and interior designer Thomas Bartlett executed Garrard's store concept, which relies heavily on natural light to illuminate the jewels. A centerpiece circular, waist-high limestone-and-rosewood vestibule topped with jewelry cases emphasizes the round store's curves, and chandeliers by Wilkinson plc add sparkle.

"From a construction standpoint, it is not something that you are going to see most people do," Susan Moseley, Garrard's U.S. retail director, said of the round shape. "It was really important for us to create a romantic feel. When you walk in, you feel yourself wanting to wander through the store. It is a relaxing energy that is created when you have less angles and more curves."

Moseley, who has 13 years of Rodeo Drive experience working with Bulgari and Versace, explained that Garrard's store would serve a mix of tourists mostly staying in Beverly Hills hotels, local walk-in shoppers and private clients. To raise awareness of the brand in the U.S., the store's launch will be feted with a party today and a series of in-store events. Advertising, primarily in magazines, will follow later this year in the U.K. and U.S.

"We are going to attract a lot of the local business that over the years has learned to shop when they are on vacation in other cities and countries,'' Moseley said. "They don't have a strong connection to somebody that is here. Other retailers have lost some of that business and that is what we are going to gain."

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