MIAMI — Louis Vuitton is getting into gear for the long haul in South Florida.
Preceding its permanent Miami proper store due in 2014, the brand opened a temporary location Friday at 170 N.E. 40th Street in the Design District, formerly occupied by the Tomas Maier boutique. It chose to work with an existing layout rather than follow a prototype, according to Valerie Chapoulaud-Floquet, president and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton North America.
“The look will be unique among our doors,” said Chapoulaud-Floquet, who jazzed up the property’s plain white exterior with a vibrant mural by Los Angeles-based artist Retna. “It made sense given the context of being in an arts district.”
It’s the first time Louis Vuitton has commissioned artwork for a facade versus traditional placement throughout interiors. Retna, whose paintings are already displayed on warehouse walls in nearby Wynwood, based his latest local work on a scarf he designed for the house using his signature letters. The mural’s “Miami Vice” palette of hot pink, teal and azure blue pays homage to the tropical city he calls his second home.
“This piece is much more colorful, layered and painterly than my usual flat, graphic style in a single color,” he said, almost in disbelief that a graffiti writer who came up in Los Angeles’ gang culture could be working with a luxury brand like Louis Vuitton. “It shows how people are more accepting of this niche of art that wasn’t highly regarded a short while ago.”
Chapoulaud-Floquet said the house originally reached out to Retna to mentor inner-city children as part of its charity commitment to the Overtown Youth Center in Miami. In addition to the facade and scarf carried at the Design District store, he created three works for the second-level’s gray-and-white VIP salon filled with natural light.
The entrance’s original, sectioned-off area was transformed into the Travel Room decorated with brass accents, Parisian antiques and teak furniture. The same materials are used in the women’s department, whereas men’s wear is enveloped by dark mahogany walls. A full assortment of accessories, eyewear, shoes, costume jewelry and textiles is represented. Sales will determine whether capsule collections for ready-to-wear are expanded.
“We didn’t want to overload the space, and no one knows the Design District’s potential. It’s still in its discovery stage,” said Chapoulaud-Floquet, who omitted fine jewelry and watches for the launch as well. “I don’t think they will capture this neighborhood’s trendy, young clientele as much as shoes and ready-to-wear.”
The brand’s Miami demographics have evolved since opening its first U.S. store outside New York in 1981. Along with a strong local base, Brazilians have become more prominent among a generally increased Latin American clientele. Chapoulaud-Floquet said Russian and Chinese tourists don’t frequent Miami as much as other major U.S. cities, though she expects the latter to arrive eventually. Though similar items sell consistently worldwide, she has high hopes for Miami, which already ranks in the top five U.S. markets.
“For decades, it’s been a pioneer city for us and still has a lot more potential to grow,” she said.
In February, the permanent store opens at Aventura Mall following its temporary location launched last year. The considerably larger retail experience features two floors linked with an internal staircase and a prominent exterior facade.
Chapoulaud-Floquet said there aren’t immediate plans for more stores beyond the Design District and Aventura.
“As the market grows stronger, though, we’ll look at other opportunities,” she said.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion