PARIS — "I think this is really cool," Fendi chief executive Michael Burke said Thursday, pushing open the back door of Fendi's new Avenue Montaigne flagship here that gives way to the enormous covered courtyard and auditorium of parent LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. "I don't think any other store in the world has this."
Tonight, barren trees will decorate the space, reprising the set from Fendi's show last week in Milan and representing the first time designer Karl Lagerfeld will present his fur and fashion designs in the French capital. A party will follow.
Ultimately, Fendi hopes to use the courtyard to stage fur fashion shows during couture week, Burke said during an exclusive walk-through on Thursday.
The 5,400-square-foot store, which opens Saturday, replaces a smaller unit on the nearby Rue François 1er that Burke allowed had a cumbersome, chopped-up layout, an out-of-date "dark store" interior and, while only about half a block away, a location too distant from the "absolute epicenter" of Paris' most desirable fashion avenue, smack between Dior and Louis Vuitton. He said the high-profile location, and a sumptuous design by architect Peter Marino, should allow the Roman fashion house to double its business in Paris, already one of its 10 most productive stores in the world.
Burke declined to give figures. However, sources estimated the two-level unit should generate sales of about 12 million euros per year, or $18.1 million at current exchange rates.
"This is the fashion capital of the world. We needed to have a store in keeping with the importance of Paris," Burke said. "We were not up to our full potential."
With its sparkling amber-lined window displays and a spellbinding, large-scale silver sculpture by Loris Cecchini glinting inside, the unit already attracts attention from the street.
Once inside, shoppers can discover on two levels the luxury brand's complete product offering — something Burke struggled to achieve in the previous three-story location, encumbered by a hulking central staircase that ate up selling spaces.
The main level of the new boutique is devoted to accessories, with colorful handbags winking from undulating travertine shelves like candies. The front of the store is devoted to the iconic Baguette, celebrating its 10th anniversary, while the B. Fendi, its discreet new cousin, the Doctor B. and other lines get their own showcases, including the hand-stitched Selleria range.The Cecchini sculpture — a splintered vortex of gleaming balls — funnels shoppers past a wall of fur scarves, Spy and evening bags, or toward a shoe salon, another new feature on Avenue Montaigne.
Upstairs is a vast showcase for ready-to-wear and furs, categories that posted the highest growth rates last year, Burke said. Fur selections range from 5,000 euro, or $7,500, "travel" jackets in mink all the way up to 200,000 euros, or over $300,000, for exceptional styles.
"This gives us a real credibility in furs and rtw," Burke said as he drew a semisheer curtain — interwoven with strips of mink and echoing the textures in the wavy, rust-colored walls — that creates a VIP selling area. "It's like one gigantic fitting room. That's how the floor is laid out," he noted.
Among the exclusive items for sale are new designs unveiled during the show on the Great Wall of China last October, which are carried in three other stores: Rome, New York and Los Angeles.
One of LVMH's star brands, Fendi is on track to post double-digit growth in 2008, Burke said. The company's retail expansion also continues, with five stores in China slated to open this year, along with new locations in Las Vegas; Delhi, India; Qatar; Macau, and Kuala Lumpur, Indonesia.
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye