Hermès started looking for a location in metropolitan San Diego about three years ago, and the recession didn’t change the luxury retailer’s game plan.
“We’re really long-term thinkers, so [the economy] is not as much of a factor in our current expansion plans,” said Robert Chavez, president and chief executive officer of Hermès USA. “We plan 10 or 15 years out, so this was one of those decisions that’s part of that, and we’re here for the long term.”
The company focused on San Diego because Internet sales in the region “lit up our screen….The city has continued to grow in terms of population and economic importance,” Chavez said.
Those elements led to the opening of a 2,500-square-foot Hermès store this month at Simon Property Group’s Fashion Valley Mall in La Jolla. Construction took about a year.
The store offers all 14 product categories of Les Metiers Hermès, consisting of leather goods, silk scarves and ties, perfumes, men and women’s ready-to-wear collections, watches, fine jewelry, shoes, equestrian, Art de Vivre and Art de Table.
The store features modern upgrades to the traditional Hermès boutique decor, such as a glass display wall for scarves, floor-to-ceiling windows and lots of mirrors. One item exclusive to the San Diego boutique is a bright pink beach towel with zebras — an homage to the famed San Diego Zoo.
Hermès already has locations in Beverly Hills and at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. The Beverly Hills store ranks second in U.S. sales for the brand behind Manhattan’s Madison Avenue flagship. South Coast Plaza is also in the top five stores in terms of sales.
The San Diego location is the brand’s 20th retail unit in the U.S. A second Las Vegas boutique will open in January in Steve Wynn’s Encore resort, to be followed by a Denver store slated to open in spring 2009 and a men’s store on Madison Avenue to debut in November.
Chavez said San Diego should rank in the company’s upper half of boutique performers.
“Southern California is a very strong market for us,” he said. “With the number of people and geographic expanse of California, we’re not anywhere near the point of cannibalization.”
Despite the economic climate, “our client base does continue to shop,” he said. “They’ve just altered their patterns.”
“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