The San Francisco men’s lifestyle store, which branched out in 2010 to start a private club called Wingtip about a block away from its current location at 1 Embarcadero Center, has signed a 10-year lease to put the store and club under one roof inside the historic eight-story Bank of Italy building at 550 Montgomery Street. The new 6,000-square-foot store will occupy the street and basement levels of the building, and change its name to Wingtip. The 13,000-square-foot club will occupy the 10th and 11th floors. They will open in September and December, respectively.
“I had the founder of Crate & Barrel [Gordon Segal] tour the space last year, and he said, ‘As soon as you get them in the same building, you are going to see a huge increase in sales,’” recounted Ami Arad, who founded On the Fly as an e-commerce business in 2004 before heading to brick-and-mortar retail in 2008. “He didn’t have to tell us that, but it was good to have it validated.”
The idea behind Wingtip was that it would provide a place for On the Fly shoppers to hang out. Full members pay a $2,500 initiation fee and then $200 a month in dues, but the dues can be redeemed for merchandise at On the Fly. There are about 350 members now and, at the new location, they will have access to a bar, a 3,000-bottle wine cellar, a business center, a rooftop deck, billiards room, and exclusive parlor and dining rooms.
By attracting customers who find out about On the Fly through Wingtip and by gaining a larger wallet share of existing On the Fly customers, Wingtip has helped boost On the Fly’s sales. Although there are no price tags, everything at Wingtip is available for purchase — and Arad has tried out clever ways to expose members to other items they might want to buy. For example, there is a library of 60 pocket squares that members can borrow. “We have sold more pocket squares in two years to members than we sold out of the store before,” said Arad, who has also begun a cuff link library and wants to do the same for watches.
Arad won’t have to do much to Wingtip’s new digs in the Bank of Italy building to transform the space for the store and club. He’s retaining the high ceilings, enormous windows and extensive marble and brass work that made the building that’s mostly housed banks throughout its 112-year history a national historic landmark. “If you tried to build a store like this today, it would cost you millions,” said Arad.
Sixty percent of On the Fly’s sales come from apparel, but the store stocks an extensive range of lifestyle offerings, including belts, pens, grooming items and home furnishings. Arad described a typical customer as an affluent male in his mid-30s to mid-40s or the woman who shops for him. Among the store’s top brands are Bills Khakis, Peter Millar, Michael Toschi, Agave Denim and Mulholland Brothers.
“Over the last two years we have seen pretty explosive growth,” said Arad, who forecast On the Fly would generate $5 million in revenues this year and mentioned that Men’s Wearhouse cofounder Richard Goldman recently joined the board. “We grew 65 percent last year over the year before, and we grew 30 percent the year before over the year before that. This year, we are expecting to grow 20 to 25 percent. Next year, we expect huge things with the new store.”
Arad isn’t content on keeping the concept in San Francisco. In two years or so, he said he anticipates Wingtip will spread to two more major metropolitan cities, perhaps Los Angeles and Chicago, and grow to six locations in 10 years. “We would love to expand within the Bank of Italy building if we can and figure out the offering that is best and roll that out to other cities,” said Arad.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)