NEW YORK — A little distance can go a long way — just ask J. Mendel’s Gilles Mendel. On Wednesday, he opened a new flagship here at 787 Madison Avenue, moving from 723 Madison Avenue.
“It’s a small geographic move but a pretty big one for the company,” Mendel said, in a sitting area on the main floor of the two-story space. “We come from a store that I built 18 years ago on Madison Avenue, which was really my little jewel box, the beginning of J. Mendel in the USA. It’s where I started to do my ready-to-wear in a very small way. We didn’t even have conceived fitting rooms. I was selling evening gowns and women would undress in the mezzanine.”
Thankfully there is no need for that in the new space. There are three fitting rooms. At 2,745 square feet, the new boutique is more than twice the size of the previous one, and offers Mendel the opportunity to show off the evolution of the brand, which has its origins in fine furs.
“We have the complete brand offering,” he said. “We went from fur to rtw, which we had in the old store, but now we’re offering accessories, including handbags, and have a special space for bridal.”
Working with David Mann of MR Architecture, the space has a residential feel from the series of smaller rooms dedicated to rtw, eveningwear, furs and bridal to the grand staircase and the mosaic floor that greet shoppers. There is also a graphic handbag wall.
Mann also designed Mendel’s leased spaces at Bergdorf Goodman, Harrods and Hirshleifers.
Marc Durie, president and chief executive officer, declined to disclose projections for the store. “Since we invested in this new concept, we obviously have plans to expand,” Durie said. “We are looking into different opportunities on an international basis, but it’s still very much in its initial stage.”
The company expects sales to increase by 30 percent from the previous unit. According to company executives, J. Mendel’s annual sales volume is $35 million, with fur still accounting for just over 50 percent of the business. “We are aiming to show a progress and a change in the balance of the business,” Mendel said.
To mark the opening, Mendel is offering an exclusive Madison Moonlight Persian lamb minaudière bag. There are just 18 of the $3,200 bags — 18 being a nod to the number of years he spent in the first space.
There'll be no rest for those headed to Europe for men's, as Paris just closed the gap with Milan. According to a provisional calendar released by the Chambre Syndicale, Paris Men's Week will now open a day earlier on January 16. See new highlights on the official lineup on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
BREAKING: Jonathan Saunders is leaving @DVF. The designer has resigned from his position as chief creative officer of Diane von Furstenberg, the company said in a statement on Friday. At the time of his hire, von Furstenberg said Saunders’ arrival symbolized and facilitated her stepping back from the day-to-day duties that occupy the work of a full-time creative director. The British designer joined DVF in May 2016 and was in charge of all product categories. #wwdnews
For @versace_official’s spring ad campaign, the brand emphasized the archival prints from the spring tribute collection dedicated to the late Gianni Versace. Closing out the show were five of Gianni’s favorite models: Cindy, Naomi, Carla, Helena, and Claudia. Bowing on December 18, the new campaign is yet another tribute to supermodel-dom as the images by Steven Meisel are fronted by @iamnaomicampbell, @cturlington, @gisele and more. #wwdfashion
Four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening has been waiting 20 years to play Gloria Graham in "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool," which will be released on December 29. The movie about Graham – a Hollywood star known for her controversial relationship with a younger Englishman named Peter Turner – is based off a memoir Turned wrote. "She felt vulnerable to him, because she loved him, she really did love him. And anyone that we really truly are in love with, we re vulnerable to in a very deep way," said Bening. Read our full interview with the modern icon of an actress on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @ninebagatelles; Styled by @cristinaehrlich)
The crisp white button down: a staple that can be dressed up or down and accessorized throughout the decades. Here, on a Art Basel-goer in 2017 on the left and on the iconic Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” in 1953 on the right. #tbt #wwdfashion (📷: Andrew Morales)
Known for her work with @victoriassecret, 25-year-old model @georgiafowler is raising her profile in Hollywood. Fowler stars in @vincecamuto’s holiday campaign, which launched in partnership with “Pitch Perfect 3.” “Almost every shoot with Vince Camuto, I’ve had to face a fear…It was definitely a challenge. I’m so grateful for it, though. I’ve always wanted to be a pop star, so that was the perfect chance,” Fowler said. Head to WWD.com to read about Fowler’s experience modeling, including at the #VSFashionShow, and her relationship with Nick Jonas. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
EXCLUSIVE: Huda Kattan just became the first beauty influencer to land a major beauty deal. Kattan's business, @hudabeauty, has received a minority investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners. The brand, which industry sources say is on track to do $200 million in retail sales for 2017, will receive support on product, retail and geographic expansion through the deal. Get all the details on the deal and read @_a_collins' interview with Kattan on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdbeauty #wwdnews
Peruvian model @juanaburga_official – who is known for walking the runways of @rodarte, @viviennewestwood and @torybuch – is making the move to the big screen with drama “Los Últimos.” The film premiered in Argentina in November and arrives in the U.S. and Europe in 2018. On making the switch from modeling to acting, Burga told WWD: “It’s a completely different thing – a lot of people think it’s similar or try to connect things, especially like getting used to the camera or being looked at all the time or playing these different characrers, but film is a completely different story.” #wwdeye (📷: @jgreenery)
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)