On Thursday, the British brand will officially unveil its new Madison Avenue headquarters, reveal plans to double its retail presence in the city and channel $500,000 into local youth projects via the newly established Burberry Foundation. Mayor Michael Bloomberg has declared Thursday as Burberry Day in New York City.
That evening, the company will flip the switch on the 50-foot-long Burberry logos atop 444 Madison Avenue, and host a party for 300 on the 54th floor of the Palace Hotel that will feature a light show, DJ Alexa Chung and British band One Night Only. The guest list is a mix of Brits, expats and locals, including Orlando Bloom, Claire Danes, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Max Minghella, Amanda Hearst, Blake Lively, Sean Lennon, Peaches Geldof, Chloë Sevigny, Lauren Santo Domingo, Matt Dillon, Nicky Hilton, Helena Christensen, Dasha Zhukova and Stavros Niarchos.
“This is the biggest move we’ve ever made in New York, and it’s a huge deal for the company,” said chief executive officer Angela Ahrendts during an interview with creative director Christopher Bailey on Tuesday at the company’s headquarters here. “The new site is a beacon for New York and for the world. Burberry has arrived.”
Ahrendts said the Manhattan headquarters would serve as Burberry’s hub in the Americas, overseeing business in the U.S., Canada and Latin America. She said the Manhattan site is proof of the company’s commitment to the Americas.
“One of our foremost priorities over the past three years has been to invest in underpenetrated markets, which is why we have been aggressively investing in America. We stayed the course, and we still believe it will recover faster than any other market. And we are very bullish about the business north and south of the border,” she said.
The new, 68,000-square-foot headquarters spans four floors of the building, which is located between 49th and 50th streets. Like its London counterpart, the headquarters were designed by Bailey. Both spaces have a neutral palette: a mix of Corinthian gray marble and dark oak floors, polished black chrome fixtures, and chocolate brown, bespoke midcentury modern furniture.
There are LED screens in common areas for beaming runway shows or Webcasts to staff, Halide lighting that switches off when rooms are unoccupied and video conferencing facilities. The new space, which had a soft opening last month, houses 200 employees.
In November, Burberry plans to double its retail presence in New York — historically the brand’s best-performing market in the U.S. — with two new concept stores, which will flank the Madison Avenue headquarters. Both units are empty, and each spans approximately 1,500 square feet. Ahrendts added the company was “aggressively looking” for more space in the U.S.
One of the stores will carry Burberry London, while the other will stock Burberry Brit, the newly rebranded and updated lifestyle collection, which includes outerwear, denim and weekend wear.
“We have elevated the lifestyle collection, and it now has a real point of view and attitude,” said Bailey. The first shipments of that collection will be in November.
But on Thursday evening, Burberry will be engaging with New York City on a level unrelated to retail. The Burberry Foundation, the brainchild of Ahrendts and Bailey, aims to help young people realize their potential through creativity. On Thursday, the foundation will make a $500,000 donation to the Robin Hood charity, to be matched by George Soros per his pledge to Robin Hood. The money will go toward charter schools and job training programs.
“This company is all about creativity, and we want to enable kids to tap into their creativity, and fulfill their dreams,” said Bailey. Ahrendts said the foundation was a natural extension of the brand. “Part of our mission is to help the youth in the communities where we work,” she said.
The Burberry Foundation raises money through private and corporate donations, special events and through in-store sales.
On Thursday, 20 percent of all purchases made in Burberry New York stores, at both 57th Street and the Spring Street location in SoHo, will be donated to the foundation.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)