PARIS — With a high-powered retail neighbor — Louis Vuitton’s largest store in the world — Kenzo has opened its biggest unit here on the Avenue George V.
The two-level corner store, spread over 5,400 square feet, opened for business Wednesday afternoon and is designed to “create intimacy in a big space,” James Greenfield, Kenzo’s senior vice president, said during a walk-through.
With accessories fixtures resembling retro coffee tables, fitting rooms equipped with piped-in bird chirps and lots of kimono-print lounge-style seating, the store has a cozy, homelike atmosphere, peppered with lots of Antonio Marras touches.
Kenzo’s artistic director since 2003, Marras, in concert with the Milanese architects Beltrame-Gelmetti Associates, has created a retail vocabulary for Kenzo that includes clothing racks inspired by fish spines and stucco flowers blooming out of walls.
Some 53 new or renovated Kenzo points of sale are slated to get the fashion house’s new black-and-white design concept this year, said Greenfield, who recently assumed operational management of the company, part of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. A Kenzo flagship unit in New Delhi is slated to open in October, he noted.
The George V flagship, one of six Paris Kenzo locations, puts women’s wear at the forefront, with an accent on luxurious accessories and runway looks.
Children’s wear also gets a special showcase, demarcated by a mannequin seated in a toy car.
Avenue George V — already home to a plethora of high-fashion boutiques including Balenciaga, Givenchy, Armani Collezioni, Hermès and Jean Paul Gaultier — is on a retail upswing, with Sonia Rykiel recently arriving and Bulgari coming soon. The luxury hotel Fouquet’s Barrière, which opened last year, also is funneling more upscale clients to the Champs-Elysées end of the street, anchored by Vuitton.
The Kenzo store boasts the brand’s first VIP suite to accommodate high-profile clients. Greenfield noted that some 46 percent of Kenzo’s customers at a previous location on George V were tourists, a number likely to increase. Men’s wear and men’s accessories, showcased on the lower level, include exclusive pieces to cater to an upscale clientele. Candy Box handbags are among women’s products exclusive to the unit.
Market sources estimate that the Kenzo boutique should generate annual revenues of about 10 million euros, or $15.4 million at current exchange.
Meanwhile, workmen are putting the finishing touches on Kenzo’s new headquarters in a 17th-century mansion on the Rue Vivienne, just steps away from Kenzo Takada’s first boutique, which opened in the Galeries Vivienne in 1970.
Boasting high ceilings and two courtyards, the headquarters will house showrooms, design studios, ateliers and press and administration areas when it opens in September.
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