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.”
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over the top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty