TOKYO — Salvatore Ferragamo SpA chief executive officer Michele Norsa said the house is performing more strongly than expected in Japan, registering an 8 percent jump in retail sales in the first three months of the year.
Norsa said April is shaping up well, too. “It’s been many years since I’ve seen four positive months in a row…both in Tokyo and in other parts of Japan,” the executive said, just minutes after cutting the ribbon on Ferragamo’s new store in the Roppongi district on Thursday.
The executive attributed the increase to a variety of factors, including easy comps from a depressed market at the beginning of 2009, a steady flow of Chinese tourists to Ginza and Ferragamo’s strategic move to offer more entry-level-priced products, especially handbags. This more affordable range includes nylon totes with leather-braid handles and Swarovski-studded logo motifs, which retail for 99,750 yen, or $1,070. The purple and brown versions are exclusive to the Roppongi boutique.
Norsa’s upbeat comments contrast sharply with those of many other executives grappling Japan’s long-standing economic stagnation and tepid demand for luxury products. Just last week, Bain & Co. forecast that luxury goods sales in Japan likely will drop 3 percent this year.
“China is growing a lot, but Japan remains a very big market,” Norsa reasoned. “It’s only right to be present here and make investments.”
The new 2,798-square-foot Ferragamo unit is located in the Roppongi Hills retail-residential complex on a strip housing Louis Vuitton, Loro Piana, Escada and a host of other shops. The space was formerly occupied by Versace, which recently shuttered all of its boutiques in the country. Within Ferragamo’s network, the Roppongi store replaces an older boutique in The New Otani Hotel, which will close soon.
Ferragamo already has a store in Ginza and a significant presence in Tokyo department stores, but Norsa said Roppongi offers the Italian brand a different kind of environment. The neighborhood, rife with restaurants and clubs, is populated with well-heeled expats and tourists.
The two-level boutique features a mix of women’s and men’s footwear, handbags, accessories and apparel. In step with Ferragamo’s most recent design concept, the store’s interiors feature Italian marble floors, walnut walls and leather furnishings. “[It’s important to have a] nice new store in Japan, because actually, many of our stores and shop-in-shops in department stores date back many years,” Norsa said.
The brand has about 75 sales points in the country.
Ferragamo is channeling its efforts on Asia, particularly in fast-growing China. Next week, the Italian brand will open a large flagship at Shanghai’s International Financial Center to coincide with the opening of the World Expo. In June, it will stage a fashion show in Hong Kong at the Bank of China skyscraper.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast