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.”
“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