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.
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
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion