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LONDON — Boucheron, the upscale jewelry company, has unveiled two stores with its new retail design concept in London and San Francisco, and plans to open units in at least 10 more markets in the next three years.
This story first appeared in the November 18, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“We have a global objective for this company. We want to be the fourth-largest jewelry brand, in terms of sales, in the world — after Cartier, Tiffany and Bulgari,” Massimo Macchi, chief executive officer of Boucheron, said in a phone interview. “We are currently focusing on developing the brand on a global basis via a pillar strategy of flagships in key markets, including France, the U.K., Italy and Japan.”
He said executives feel the brand has the potential for 60 to 70 locations. By the end of this year, Boucheron will have also opened shops in Milan, Moscow, Ginza, Japan; Capri, Italy; Saint-Tropez, France; Seoul and Honolulu. Next year, it plans to open units in New York — on Fifth Avenue, between 55th and 56th Streets — Rome, Beverly Hills; Saint Moritz, Switzerland and Bal Harbour, Fla. With the new stores opening now and existing locations, there will be 20 units by the end of the year.
The rollout is part of a plan by Gucci Group, Boucheron’s owner since 2000, to build the $70 million company into a global jewelry and watch powerhouse. To that end, Boucheron has designed its new-generation flagship on Bond Street to be a blend of the romantic and mysterious.
Solitaire diamonds are set in cases filled with black Magpie feathers and a diamond-studded snake bracelet with a pop-out tongue that glistens from inside a glass case. Ruby and black gold rings, with the sort of secret compartments that ancient Roman nobles loved, sparkle under glass.
“Jewelry is about love, sex and power,” said Solange Azagury-Patridge, the London-based jewelry designer who has created the new generation of Boucheron baubles. “And we wanted the store design to reflect that. Everything is precious, sensual and luxurious.”
The 1,618-square-foot store was designed by Gucci Group architect Bill Sofield and spans two floors. The ground floor holds the main collection, while downstairs there are watches, diamond rings and novelty pieces.
Walls are covered with gold-on-white, handpainted wallpaper, onyx and bronze wall sconces and bronze glass light fixtures. Display counters are made from bronze and aubergine leather, while sofas and banquettes are fashioned from leather and dark velvet.
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Boucheron recently celebrated the opening of its 1,878-square-foot jewelry and watch boutique on Post Street. The store was formerly a Louis Vuitton unit. Now, jewelry is displayed on dove gray velvet shelves in freestanding Art Deco-style bronze and nickel vitrines with aubergine lacquer detailing.
“We’re using concepts from the company’s 150-year heritage, but bringing it into the 21st century,” said Macchi. “Boucheron has always been associated with opulence and exoticism, and we wanted the design to make our customers feel cocooned, private, secure.”
The exterior of the San Francisco Boucheron boutique has a limestone wall, Labrador granite keystones with a honed finish, and accents of antique gold-leafing. The interlocking entry gates are crafted in bronze and satin-finish nickel. Bronze-framed display windows with beveled glass are illuminated with fiber-optic lighting.
The interior is divided into four spaces, successively more private and intimate. There is also a private salon and adjacent private viewing room. Macchi said each unit’s design would follow the blueprint established in San Francisco.