For its sophomore retail effort in the U.S., Stockholm-based Acne Studios is making a pioneering move for a global fashion brand by locating in downtown Los Angeles.
This fall, Acne Studios will open a more-than-5,000-square-foot store, its largest, in the Eastern Columbia Building, a nearly 83-year-old historic Art Deco structure at 849 South Broadway recognized for the turquoise terra-cotta tiles trimmed with gold and deep blue that cover its exterior. The brand gravitates toward eclectic store sites, but chairman Mikael Schiller maintained it doesn’t usually take chances on risky retail geography and just had a “good gut feeling on this one.”
“We were really looking at Melrose in the beginning, but then we went to downtown L.A. Maybe it’s a European thing, but we really liked the area. Obviously, people have been saying downtown is going to happen and have been saying that for 10 years and it hasn’t really, but we really liked it there, and we really liked the building,” he said. “Los Angeles is not really a city where people walk; people drive. So we were saying to ourselves, if we are going to do something, we have to do something that feels special and gives people a reason to drive there.”
The roomy single-level store, which will stock denim, men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, bags and other accessories, affords Acne Studios the space to put in a cafe, its first at a retail location, to be run by the people behind Il Caffè in Stockholm, including Magnus Jökulsson, a friend of Acne Studios’ creative director Jonny Johansson. The space also will contain a VIP room for customers who want a personalized experience, a concept that has worked for Acne Studios in London.
Denim today is roughly 20 percent of Acne Studios’ business in the U.S. and plays an understated role in its merchandising. At the stores, Schiller underscored customers won’t find a large denim bar. “Denim needs a lot of service, and we should have a lot of service. So what we feel is you don’t need to see a lot of the denim, it is more about having a close dialogue with the sales staff in the store,” he said.
Dating back to 1996, Acne Studios launched American retail in 2008 with a monobrand store operated by Opening Ceremony in New York. That store has since closed, and the brand last summer opened its own store not too far away on Greene Street. “What we see [in New York] is that people spend more money compared to our stores in Scandinavia,” said Schiller, adding that the new unit is performing well.
“We are going to open more stores in New York as well. We have one in SoHo, and maybe we could have one on Madison, maybe one in the West Village. We could have four or five in New York,” he said.
Outside of New York and L.A. in the U.S., Schiller believes Acne Studios has a retail future and pointed to Miami and San Francisco as possible destinations. “What we will try to do in the U.S. is we will take some of the larger cities and do it [retail] really well there, and have a great Web store and service the rest of the country through that and through wholesale,” Schiller said.
Acne wholesales to 71 doors in North America, notably Barneys New York and Opening Ceremony. Its worldwide retail network currently numbers 35. Market sources put the firm’s sales last year at about $120 million.
Schiller views retail as critical to the brand’s wholesale success. “During the last 18 months, we have tripled the wholesale business in the New York area. My historic experience is that, when you open a store, then you sell more to wholesale accounts around the store because obviously the brand becomes more visible,” he said, voicing confidence that the L.A. store could boost West Coast sales, which have trailed those in the east.
Globally, Acne Studios is also on a retail push. This year, a second store will open in London, a third in Paris, three stores in Seoul with partner Shinsegae, and a store in Japan in Osaka. Currently, retail and e-commerce are responsible for 45 percent of Acne Studios’ sales, but that percentage is poised to grow as Acne Studios’ retail spreads. Beyond Europe, “both New York and Tokyo performed really well, so it gave us some confidence to open more stores,” said Schiller. “That is how we work, by trial and error. When things work out well, we try to do more of that.”
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews