WP Lavori in Corso is making its first major move into the U.S. market.
The Bologna, Italy-based fashion company, which owns or licenses brands including Woolrich John Rich & Bros and Baracuta, will open its first store in the U.S. today. The 1,700-square-foot flagship is located at 225 Smith Street in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn in the space formerly occupied by Smith + Butler, which closed in February.
The store features a curated selection of the company’s brands as well as several third-party labels including Engineered Garments, Nanamica, Hudson, Velva Sheen, Shinola and Barena.
WP Lavori was founded in 1982 and opened its first store in Italy in 1985. It holds the worldwide license for Woolrich John Rich & Bros and Woolrich Woolen Mills. It also holds the Italian license for Penn-Rich and has Italian distribution deals with Barbour and Blundstone. It owns Baracuta and B.D. Baggies and operates 23 stores worldwide: 14 WP stores, eight Woolrich doors and one Barbour unit.
“For us, this is a very important test,” said Andrea Cane, creative director of WP Lavori. In addition to economics, opening outside Manhattan will allow the company to test the waters in the American market. “Manhattan is very competitive,” he said. “You go there when you’ve proven yourself in a smaller neighborhood.” He said Brooklyn and its residents are similar to the customers that shop at the company’s stores in Europe, and the neighborhood offers a “relaxed place to shop.”
The store is evenly split between men’s and women’s wear with women’s merchandised at the entrance and men’s in the rear. “Women’s is really working well for us,” Cane said. While the backbone of the inventory will remain the same, WP Lavori’s team of buyers will freshen the store every season with other labels from around the world, mostly from the U.S., Europe and Japan.
“Many of our owned brands are rooted in American traditions and style,” said Cristina Calori, founder and president of WP Lavori in Corso, pointing to Woolrich and B.D. Baggies. “WP has always honored craftsmanship, tradition and history and we are [pleased] to be opening our first North American flagship in Brooklyn, a community that also reflects these values.”
To introduce the store to the American audience, Cane said there will be visual elements both in the windows and inside the unit, which will feature a contemporary “heritage-driven” design aesthetic. The company will also employ social media and public relations and will host a number of events. “But the communication will be more person-to-person,” he said, adding that the design is intended to encourage a sense of “discovery” among shoppers.
The company hopes this store will be the first of several it will open in the U.S. market. Cane acknowledged that because WP Lavori is “totally unknown” here, “it will take time.” But eventually he hopes to add additional flagships in other East Coast cities. He also hinted that a retail development plan for Woolrich John Rich & Bros will be revealed in the next few months. “We’re putting together a plan now,” he said, one that is also expected to target cold-weather cities on the East and West Coast of the U.S. and will be executed in tandem with the Woolrich family, which still owns the brand.
“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
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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