NEW YORK — Guess Inc. is hoping to devour a $10 million piece of Manhattan’s retail pie with its new Fifth Avenue flagship.
Described with superlatives such as first, biggest and premium, the 13,000-square-foot, two-level unit at 575 Fifth Avenue and 47th Street is primed to do hefty sales volume. For starters, it’s the largest Guess store in the world.
“This is a big step for us,” said Paul Marciano, vice chairman and chief executive officer of Guess Inc. “We’ve never had a major location on Fifth Avenue. We found a store that’s a little bit big, but it will cover every avenue of our business. We have collection of lingerie and underwear, but because of space issues, we’ve kept it in Europe and Asia. I will [now] have the space.”
And it’s not the only splash Guess is aiming to make in Manhattan. Marciano said he’s also looking to open stores on 34th Street, Third Avenue and in the Flatiron District.
The flagship boasts the first Guess dress department, the largest collections of footwear, jewelry, accessories and, of course, denim. There’s women’s and men’s apparel, Guess by Marciano and eyewear. Exclusive to the Fifth Avenue location is an international jewelry collection that until now has been sold only in Guess accessories-only stores overseas. The collection of classic jewelry is more expensive than the existing trend-driven line and features animal pendants, charm bracelets and a rhinestone necklace with teardrops and hearts, $128, designed specifically for the Fifth Avenue store.
A group of handbags exclusive to the store ranges in price from $118 for small to $148 for large, and features a Guess logo plaque and chain strap with ribbon woven through. There’s a greater range of watches, an important category for the brand. The Guess line starts at $120, while the Guess Collection of Swiss-made watches is priced from $350 to $2,700 for a limited edition automatic version.
The Guess flagship represents a new (relatively) low-key approach to denim and visual design. Jeans, priced from $89 to $158, have fewer embellishments, according to a spokeswoman.
While the flagship has many slick surfaces — and a two-story glass elevator swathed in metal mesh, the company said it toned down the high-gloss finishes. An example is the silver-leaf wallpaper in the dressing rooms that looks like distressed stone tiles. The same wallpaper appears on ceilings above the chandeliers, which are also covered with metal mesh. Steel display blocks were custom-finished using a chemical wash. There are nods to Guess’ heritage throughout the store, including an area rug made from 500 leather and metal-studded jean patches. A vintage tufted black leather sofa and chair sit on top of the rug in a “lounge area” along with a Deco mirrored coffee table replete with a vintage camera and books of Guess images.
The shop marks Guess’ arrival in Manhattan, although the company has been operating smaller Guess and accessories-only stores in SoHo, and the South Street Seaport, here.
When the Marciano brothers founded Guess in 1981, $50 million in sales was seen as a benchmark for success. “We never thought we’d [accomplish] it,” Marciano said. Guess’ worldwide sales in 2010 were $2.1 billion.
And Guess isn’t standing still.
The company plans to open at least 50 stores in China in the next 12 to 15 months, unveil 30 accessories units this year, build G by Guess for 14- to 23-year-olds into a 58-unit chain in three years and relaunch its kids’ business with 15 new stores. There’s also interest in a home business.
With a presence in 87 countries, Marciano said international accounts for over half of Guess’ business.
“We’re making a strong investment [in Asia] and are putting a great focus on building a management team,” Marciano said. “China has been a priority for many companies, including Guess. We have 65 stores there already.”
Guess exited the Japanese market four years ago, but intends to go back within the next two years. “It’s a difficult market,” Marciano said. “We believed we knew Japan. We had a small licensee, but it didn’t work to our expectations. Next time, we will have control of our image, product, marketing and advertising. Our partner will handle operations, real estate and back-end office functions.”
Marciano sees Europe as having the biggest growth potential. “The brand is so well known and well accepted,” he said. “We want to develop Northern Europe — Germany, Scandinavia and the U.K. We have no presence in Brazil, but we’re talking to two potential partners there.” Guess has long had a presence in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Middle East, Central America and the Philippines.
“We consolidated Guess by Marciano with the kids’ licensee in Europe and now both are part of Guess Europe. Lingerie and swimwear was licensed and now they’re part of Guess Europe. We haven’t done that in North America for a while. It could happen. Some categories may be too small to be licensed and continue to be part of Guess or so big that we need the support and logistics of a licensee.
“We’re continuing to expand in the U.S.,” Marciano continued. “We are making sure we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.”
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye