NEW YORK — Beauty is about to get a taste of the Arabian Nights.
One of the most ambitious and lavish experiments in beauty retailing is on the drawing board in Kuwait. Sheik Majed Al-Sabah caught the stunned attention ofthe fashion world in April by opening a dazzling designer showcase, called Villa Moda, on the waterfront in Kuwait City. Now he is planning to unveil an equally sumptuous spa and beauty retail emporium.
The spa, which will be located on an upper floor of the fashion complex, is due to open in mid-November.
The spa will contain 1,230 square feet of floor space and the company projects first year sales of $12 million. Prince Al-Sabah estimates that construction costs of the spa will amount to $700,000.
During a telephone interview Wednesday, Al-Sabah said that from the beginning, even before the fashion emporium was opened, he had set his sights on opening a beauty floor and spa destination that would be seen as unique, not just for the Mideast but also for Milan, Paris and New York. He certainly did not want another "boring concept," like those seen in Western department stores.
Since Al-Sabah’s expertise is in fashion, he turned the task of developing and running the beauty floor over to a pair of consultants, Emma Gladdish and James Leeke, operating under the Strawberry and Cream banner. Al-Sabah also will open a separate men’s area elsewhere in the store.
Villa Moda’s approach is heavy on services — ranging from botox injections to laser hair removal — buttressed with a highly selective assortment of products for sale. Al-Sabah said he is in discussions with a doctor, who would be on staff to administer the injections. Manicures and pedicures will be administered while the client is seated on a low sofafor maximum comfort. There also will be a juice bar, all part of a relaxed, clublike atmosphere.
The spa will be staffed with three skin care specialists and four makeup artists. Al-Sabah said the makeup artists will be rotated regularly to provide customers with the latest in cosmetics looks.
The objective was to provide a gamut of services, all under one roof, while instilling a boudoir ambience conducive to lounging and relaxation. Al-Sabah pointed out that 65 percent of the target audience consist of women who do not have jobs outside the home. Shopping is a main preoccupation, which is one of the reasons why Kuwait is riddled with malls. Al-Sabah described his spa as sort of a beauty club for "spoiled rich girls."He also pointed out that it is a highly social society. "Every weekend, there are six to eight weddings," he said, estimating that the amount of services and makeup required by each bride, plus beauty products to take on the honeymoon, adds up to $5,000 to $10,000 per head. "It’s money in the bank," chuckled the flamboyant Al-Sabah.
Not only does he intend to provide skin care treatments not found elsewhere, but he also wants the retail assortment to appear as unique as possible.For instance, when it came to MAC Cosmetics, Al-Sabah did not want the regular line that is distributed elsewhere in the Mideast. Instead, he began discussions to obtain MAC’s professional line. There are only 12 MAC Pro Shops in the entire world. Apparently, executives at the division of Estée Lauder are in discussions with Al-Sabah. Their interest seems driven by the fact that professionals from the Bombay and Egyptian film industry shop in Kuwait City.
He also is in discussion with Laura Mercier, Nars, Linda Cantello, Vincent Longo and By Terry. Al-Sabah, who sees most of the spa’s volume generated by beauty services and makeup, also has ideas about retailing skin care products. He plans to have a suitably niche assortment, including Dr. Hauschka, Ole Henricksen, Eve Lom, Z Bigatti and Prada.
The fragrance assortment is being envisioned as equally exotic. Al-Sabah is talking about retailing scents from Santa Maria Novella plus the most classic items from the collections of Christian Dior, Patou and Caron. As an added service, women will be allowed to mix fragrance. Al-Sabah acknowledged that scent is a passion in the Mideast, where women consume well over three times as much fragrance as in the West. Al-Sabah noted that women burn a fragrant wood, called oud, on a bed of charcoal. It is so sought after that it costs $500 to $1,000 per gram.
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)