NEW YORK — Emporio Armani is building a small empire in the U.S.
Tonight, the Armani Group will fete the return of Emporio Armani to 601 Madison Avenue with a mini-music festival featuring performances by The Drums, Skylar Grey and Ladyhawke, as well as DJ Mayer Hawthorne. The celebrations mark more than just the new Manhattan store, which quietly opened its doors last week: They also signal a flurry of retail activity for the 31-year-old brand. By the end of this year, Armani will operate 16 Emporio Armani stores in the U.S., doubling the number from last year, with additions in cities such as Chicago, San Diego and Santa Monica, Calif. RELATED STORY: Emporio Armani Teams Up With Spotify >>
The new stores are part of a larger direct-to-consumer strategy to further build the brand’s presence in North America through freestanding stores.
“The goal is to reach 30 stores in North America,” said Giorgio Armani Corp.’s chief executive officer Graziano de Boni during a walk-through of the two-story, 6,000-square foot Madison Avenue space.
The brand is no stranger to this address. The company opened an Emporio Armani store on the site in 1996, though over the years, it has served various Armani brands including Armani Collezioni. De Boni felt the time was right to bring Emporio Armani back to the location. “Madison Avenue is experiencing a renaissance, not just for established luxury brands but also up-and-coming fashion brands,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for Emporio Armani.”
The Madison Avenue flagship offers a full assortment, with women’s wear on the main floor and men’s on the second. The decor mirrors recent openings in Paris and Barcelona. The interior concept was developed by Giorgio Armani himself in collaboration with his team of Milan-based architects. True to Armani’s aesthetic, the striking use of gray, silver and black gives the store a clean and modern feel.
Both levels feature apparel lined along the walls in full-length black glass wardrobes, while accessories are centrally displayed in clear fixtures.
“It’s a great representation of accessories,” de Boni said. “The accessories are now so developed, which lends itself well to some of the new markets, from Atlanta to Tucson to Santa Monica, San Diego and Chicago.”
In addition to apparel and accessories, the location also offers Emporio Armani Underwear, the AJ Armani Jeans and the EA7 active apparel line.
According to de Boni, the breakdown between men’s and women’s is almost even, with the balance slightly tipping in favor of men’s categories. He added that the plan is to concurrently develop the wholesale business in “a more selective way,” noting that the company recently “restarted” Emporio Armani at Saks Fifth Avenue.
De Boni declined to disclose sales projections for the Manhattan unit, or the U.S. volume of the brand, but noted: “Relatively, with Emporio Armani, we are underdeveloped in the U.S. That is why we’re going through a strategy of rolling out 30 [freestanding] stores in North America to bring the business to the level of what it should be.”
Worldwide, the brand accounted for 27 percent of Armani Group’s revenues last year of 1.8 billion euros, or $2.5 billion at average exchange. This was flat compared with 2010. There are 225 Emporio Armani stores globally.
Emporio Armani isn’t the only brand positioned for growth in the U.S.
“We are developing all of our brands, and in total, we are opening 13 stores this year,” de Boni said, noting that the company will end the year with a total of 45 stores, up from 32 last year. “We are more than encouraged by the business in America. We experienced double-digit growth last year and are experiencing it still in 2012. It’s a great momentum, affirming the opportunities we have.”
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
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)