LONDON — Move over, Tom Ford, Ozwald Boateng has his sights set on becoming a global men’s luxury brand too.
Earlier this month, the designer unveiled a 6,500-square-foot flagship on London’s Savile Row, in the former Anderson & Sheppard space. He has plans for another 30 international stores—mostly franchises—over the next three years.
Boateng, who left as a consultant to Givenchy men’s wear in August, has forged a partnership with UAE-based Al Tayer Group for six stores, the first of which recently opened as a concession in Harvey Nichols Dubai. There are additional franchises in the works for India, Russia, Mexico, Brazil and northern England, and he is also planning a second stand-alone store in London.
Another major priority for Boateng is the U.S. The designer—who has already starred in the American reality TV show House of Boateng—said he’s looking for a partner there to open a series of stores.
Boateng currently owns 100 percent of his business, and his annual sales are 10 million pounds, or $20.3 million. With the new retail additions, he said he expects sales to double annually in the “foreseeable” future. He declined to be more specific.
His costs, too, are mounting. The flagship, which also incorporates showrooms, tailors’ workshops and corporate offices, cost “seven figures,” he said.
The focus of Boateng’s expansion plan will be the Savile Row store, which he said will showcase the brand’s concept and highlight the role of Savile Row itself as a mecca for luxury men’s wear.
“It’s lifted the whole experience of Savile Row. I’m really excited about what this shop does,” said Boateng, not known for his modesty. “I’m trying to create a whole new way of shopping for men.”
The flagship’s interiors are sleek and linear, and boast a mixture of textures and colors: black lacquer walls, glass cabinets, purple paint in the accessories room, gray slate floors and moody, atmospheric lighting that recalls a nightclub.
“I love the simplicity of it and the colors. It’s sexy and luxurious. This is a true marriage of everything I would consider to be me, in a [retail] environment,” said Boateng, who designed the interiors in collaboration with the London architect David Adjaye.
The store is divided into four environments: accessories, rtw, bespoke and a space for exhibiting art. Boateng said this would be the template for all future Ozwald Boateng stores.
The rtw collection is housed in a wide, dark wood corridor. Boateng said it was designed to feel like a runway, with mirrors running along one wall and suits displayed on the other wall.
The bespoke room is a large enclosed lounge, with sliding full-height mirror doors, and leads to an infinity mirror-box fitting room.
“It gives you an infinite view of yourself and the suit,” said Boateng, adding that in addition to full bespoke and adapt-to-fit bespoke suits, there will also be bespoke footwear, accessories and fabrics available.
The art gallery is painted white, and devoted to works by key artists such as Chris Ofili, a friend of Boateng’s and regular collaborator of Adjaye’s.
Boateng said the space would regularly host exhibitions and art projects. “We are on Old Burlington Street and right next to Cork Street, which are both known for their art galleries. I wanted to emphasize the synergy between bespoke and art, and connect the two,” said Boateng.
Prices run from 800 pounds, or $1,631, for a rtw suit, to 2,000 pounds, or $4,079, for an adapt-to-fit bespoke, all the way up to 4,000 pounds, or $8,158, and up for a fully bespoke suit. Accessories run from 80 pounds, or $163, for cufflinks to 500 pounds, or $1,019, for a bag. The store also sells Boateng’s women’s fragrance, Parfum Bespoke, which is priced at roughly 60 pounds, or $122. Next year, Boateng said he would add a men’s counterpart.
His outlook for the future?
“I am excited about men’s wear becoming as big a luxury market as women’s. It’s really the time for men’s fashion, and it’s only getting more exciting. Savile Row is the most famous street in the world for tailors. Tradition has to evolve to survive,” said Boateng.
“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