MIAMI — Diesel hit the books for the brand’s third store here.
The Milan-based company took the opportunity to do something different with its store design when a long-term lease on a 2,800-square-foot space on Lincoln Road, previously home to a popular independent bookstore, became available.
Rather than spending months renovating the space and losing key seasonal traffic in the process, Diesel’s retail design team opted to make the most of the store’s library aesthetic. Book shelves were refinished for novelty merchandising and touches like vintage furniture and globes were added. Even fake library cards have been tucked into back pockets of each pair of jeans. The store opened in mid-January and will undergo a full renovation in August.
Steve Birkhold, chief executive officer of Diesel USA, estimates 80 percent of the original interior remains, including terrazzo floors, an espresso bar and vintage light fixtures.
“It lacks amenities like perfect modern lighting, but it was more important to preserve the architecture’s integrity now and even later when we renovate,” he said.
In keeping with the street’s vibrancy, DJs spin tunes before hitting nightclub gigs. Though equipped to serve beverages, the company left that component to the bookstore’s popular cafe, which relocated to a courtyard address on the property. Birkhold said other neighbors like a Base lifestyle boutique are a good fit.
The Lincoln Road location is much smaller than most of Diesel’s retail outposts, including a nearby 4,100-square-foot location on Washington Avenue that opened in 2002. That store was halved for an ongoing two-phase renovation and stocks a full assortment. Items like Diesel Black Gold, a premium contemporary denim collection, won’t be carried at Lincoln Road.
Birkhold said Lincoln Road focuses on “the best of the best” from denim retailing for between $170 and $360, T-shirts, leather outerwear, swim, intimates, fragrances, sunglasses, footwear and bags. Men’s bestsellers run the gamut from skinny to boot-cut to straight styles, while women favor skinny jeans in dark blue and black washes, along with the Basic fragrance for $68, and black clutches and wallets from $120 to $85.
“In just the short time we’ve been open, sales are up by mid-double digits over projections,” said Birkhold, who dismisses any suggestion the store might cannibalize wholesale accounts in South Beach. “We’ll have completely different merchandise than other points of sale, which should only benefit from our brand presence in the area.”
Birkhold predicts the Miami market could hold two more Diesel-branded stores in the near future, bringing the number of units in the area to five and making it one of the top three American markets for the company.
“There are certain markets where we have unbelievable success, and Miami is one,” he said of the city’s richly diverse customer base of locals, European and Latin American tourists, and consistent seasonal spikes like spring break. “You don’t have to sit long at a cafe on Lincoln Road before it’s obvious.”
Lincoln Road is part of a three-year growth strategy from Diesel that has, so far, been little affected by the economy. A nearly 20,000-square-foot store will open on Fifth Avenue in New York this month and store relocations have taken place in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
“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
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
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