NEW YORK — Hugo Boss is throwing conventional wisdom to the wind with the first store selling products from all of its labels.
Most fashion houses separate their collections, high from lower-priced and often men’s wear from women’s wear. Boss’ 4,000-square-foot store at 401 West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District is an experiment. The company’s hypothesis is that consumers will shop across many lines.
Hugo Boss has high expectations for the store. The first-year sales projection is a minimum of $5 million, said Claus-Dietrich Lahrs, chairman and chief executive officer.
“It’s a very targeted selection,” he said. “We decided it might be interesting to bring the sharpest and most unique items from each line together. Mixing interesting pieces from each brand could be very surprising. It’s a special moment in the history of Hugo Boss.”
Lahrs cited the opportunity to “show that we’re not only clothing men. We can talk about product like we’ve never talked about product before. The [sales] team will have to have an understanding of how different Hugo Boss brands can play together. We are going to be more alert and take lessons learned here to other stores. This is a playing ground and a laboratory. If this is successful we would definitely work on more stores like it.”
The unit, which opens to the public today, offers the Boss Black, Boss Orange, and Hugo labels for women and men, and Boss Selection and Boss Green for men.
Designs from the various labels make an eclectic presentation with a Boss Orange red calf hair miniskirt with patches of distressed leather, $850, displayed near an elegant Boss Black navy organza dress, $850. A quirky Boss Black skirt made from peacock feathers, $4,000, presents a different mood than a Hugo classic black strapless dress, $850.
There’s also a Boss Black double-faced calf skin trenchcoat, $3,495, a black cropped rabbit fur jacket from Hugo, $995, and a Boss Black lambskin coat with fur collar, $2,895. “You could pair a pair of cool jeans from the Orange collection with a great jacket from Hugo,” Lahrs said. “We haven’t played that way before.”
The design of the space is visually arresting, with a diamond-shaped wood canopy that creates a cocoon over the store. Architect Matteo Thun described it as a “supergrid.”
Although the furnishings — tufted black leather chairs, mirrored tables and red velvet curtains — are sumptuous, the architect took care to retain the space’s raw quality. The floor is concrete, brick walls are partly painted and exposed, columns are covered with layers of peeling paint and plaster. “We tried to save the soul of the Meatpacking District,” Thun said.
Light designer A.J. Weissbard created an elaborate illumination system that reacts to the time of day and the weather. It can also be preprogrammed to change colors every five minutes, giving a different look to the merchandise.
Lahrs said the Meatpacking District customer will be different than those at Hugo Boss’ other Manhattan stores at the Shops at Columbus Circle and Greene Street in SoHo. “This consumer has been shopping with Jeffrey New York,” Lahrs said, referring to the multibrand retailer on West 14th Street. “The consumer is very informed.”
While some luxury brands seem close to saturating the country with stores, Hugo Boss is still in a growth mode in the U.S. “The U.S. accounts for close to 20 percent of sales worldwide,” Lahrs said. “We’re going to grow the base.
“There’s still a white spot on upper Madison Avenue,” he said, noting that the company will look for a location on Madison next year. “Let’s see how the very new shopping destination of Wall Street [progresses]. We want to be careful, but we think there’s something to be done there. We think we have more room for stores in New York City. The FlatIron District is also interesting.”
Hugo Boss “won’t cannibalize [ourselves] in New York City,” Lahrs said. “There’s certainly a limit, but we haven’t touched the limit yet. We only have 35 stores in the U.S. If I look at our competitors, there’s room for growth, especially in cities where mall operators have developed a strong position.”
The Columbus Circle store will be renovated, he said.
Lahrs, who lived in Manhattan on 9/11, said, “This economy will take a bit longer, but it shows that the U.S. economy is the key to the world’s [economic well-being]. We are very highly interconnected. We need to find opportunities to develop this market. It doesn’t make sense to say we will stop now.”
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @@Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.
@beyonce chose a custom gown by @falgunishanepeacockindia for mother @mstinalawson 's second annual Wearable Art Gala last night. The gown, which took 10 days to make, was inspired by Nubian warrior queen Amanishakheto. Reporting by @hernameislex . #wwdeye 👑 🐝#beyonce
After dressing @justintimberlake for his Super Bowl halftime performance last month, @stellamccartney has designed the star’s "Man of the Woods" tour wardrobe. Timberlake will be wearing a mix of pieces from McCartney’s fall men's collection as well as custom designs and items from his own closet. #wwdfashion