Curitiba, the European-influenced capital and largest city of the Brazilian state of Paraná, will finally get its first taste of luxury shopping when the Pátio Batel mall opens with Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, Kate Spade, Burberry and Carolina Herrera, among other international brands.
These will be the first stores of those brands in the nation’s southern region, home to the mighty Iguazu Falls and much of Brazil’s modern agriculture production.
Also among the 200 stores at the mall are Coach, Ermenegildo Zegna, Michael Kors, Tiffany & Co., Tory Burch, Versace — all firsts in the region — and local fashion brands Animale, Colcci, Farm and Cia.Marítima.
But it’s not dedicated exclusively to luxury: Fast-fashion empire Zara and cosmetics retailer Sephora have also confirmed they will have stores at Pátio Batel, as well as traditional Brazilian chains such as O Boticário and four anchor stores that haven’t been announced yet.
The mall’s opening has been postponed several times because of permit irregularities and construction delays. It is now scheduled to open in late August, but the developers don’t have a firm date yet.
Paraná is one of three southern states that border Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The city is considered Brazil’s most developed capital, being consistently ranked among the top three capitals in the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index. It’s the second state capital with the highest concentration of upper and middle-upper class families, after the national capital of Brasilia, according to Brazil’s statistics institute IBGE. It has Brazil’s fourth-largest Gross Domestic Product after São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia.
The best security, health and education records among Brazilian cities attracted companies such as ExxonMobil, Kraft Foods Inc., Siemens AG and HSBC Holdings plc, as well as local cosmetics giant O Boticário and Positivo Informática, Brazil’s largest computer manufacturer, to set up their headquarters there.
“The project was designed with this cosmopolitan, upscale, globalized consumer in mind,’’ said Sonia Marques, marketing manager at the mall. “There are other malls in Curitiba, but Pátio Batel is meant to be more than a local project. It’s a gateway for new brands to access the southern region.’’
Curitiba is benefiting from growth in Brazil’s consumer class, fueled by easier access to credit, wage gains and full employment. Though economic growth slowed last year — Brazil’s economy expanded just 0.9 percent but is expected to recover and grow about 2.7 percent in 2013 — retail sales continued to grow. Sales increased 1.6 percent in April from a year earlier in the most recent reading by statistics agency IBGE. The data beat market expectations.
It’s surprising, however, that it has taken so long for luxury companies to set up shop in Curitiba. Brazil’s northeast, a semiarid region that suffers from severe droughts and has the country’s most extreme levels of poverty, last year got a mall in Recife. The mall has an entire luxury section, where Chanel Cosmetics and Burberry, among others, are scheduled to open stores. São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, Brazil’s wealthiest cities, have attracted foreign luxury brands to their malls and upscale neighborhoods for two decades, not to mention luxury cars, which have been around much longer.
One of the reasons it has taken so long is that Brazil’s south is not a region known for explosions of consumerism, said Carlos Ferreirinha, president of MCF Consultoria & Conhecimento, a retail and luxury consulting company in São Paulo. That has to do with the conservative and frugal culture of the population in the three-state region, he observed. The states of Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul were settled by European immigrants from Germany, Italy, Poland and Ukraine and by some Japanese families. Most of them started to arrive in the early 19th century, escaping wars and poverty and attracted by the promise of free land as the Brazilian government sought to develop agriculture in the sparsely populated area.
“Although southerners are wealthier than average, they have a very different, more thrifty and conservative consumer profile than the rest of Brazilians,’’ said Ferreirinha. “The increase in consumer spending has been slower in the south, so brands have been more careful when assessing the possibility of setting up operations there.’’
Negotiations with foreign luxury brands were more difficult and took longer in the case of Pátio Batel compared with other recently inaugurated malls in Brazil, Ferreirinha noted. Most brands wanted to be sure that operations would do well in São Paulo and Rio, to then make a decision about a not-so-obvious consumer center like Curitiba. Pátio Batel started to take shape five years ago, and “it took a lot of convincing’’ for certain brands to be sold on the idea.
Until now, H. Stern was the only luxury brand with a presence in the city, at Mueller Mall, the first shopping center in Curitiba, which opened in 1983. A few multibrand stores, such as Capoani and Bazaar Fashion, sold items by Diesel, Galliano, Just Cavalli and Armani Jeans, among others, as well as collections by such Brazilian fashion brands as Cris Barros, Mara Mac and Victor Dzenk.
Grupo Soifer, a Brazilian real estate company that built four other malls in the country in the past 30 years, invested 280 million reais (about $127 million at current exchange) to develop Pátio Batel. The mall has four stories of shopping area and a five-floor parking garage in an area totaling 220,122 square feet. The structure is mostly vertical due to a lack of space in the elegant Batel neighborhood, home to most of Curitiba’s upper-class residents.
A huge skylight allows for natural light to reach all four floors where stores, restaurants, bookstores, cafés and art galleries are interspersed.
A 10-screen cinema complex built by Mexican group Cinépolis is located next to an open-air garden on the top floor, where lush trees are expected to provide a cool and bucolic ambiance. The marble used on the floors is white with black and gray details, while pink Rosso Verona marble was used to decorate parts of the facade. The sidewalk outside the main entrance was all redone with light-gray granite.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
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