NEW YORK — Flou can make customers sleepy, but that’s no problem for this store.
Ensconced in a refurbished 5,000-square-foot setting in Manhattan’s SoHo district, Flou is dedicated to all of the comfort issues associated with the bedroom, from beds, duvet covers and handknit wool throws to unisex pajamas, loungers and slippers.
It’s serene, contemporary ambience is accented with blond-wood floors and white-painted brick walls. The overall image reflects the Flou name, which means hazy or dreamy in French.
But the first-year sales projection is crystal clear, according to Rick Garosalo, president of Flou New York, who estimated total sales in 2003 will be $2.5 million to $3 million.
Unlike the ornate trappings of a Bernardo Bertolucci movie set or the dizzying chintz-on-chintz statement of home stores like Pierre Deux, Flou is an eclectic mix of sleek, modern furnishings and lifestyle apparel that combine the formality of the Milan-based parent’s architectural philosophy with a wide range of casual apparel that can be worn to sleep, lounge, entertain or as a beach coverup.
Introduced in Italy in 2001, the unisex Vestire collection is available in natural hues including white, off-gray and taupe in 100 percent linen, cotton or hemp. Suggested retail starts at $151 for linen and cotton nightshirts and tunics, $173 for linen and cotton caftans and $206 and $251 for linen and hemp pajamas, respectively. Hemp slippers are $87.
Flou New York opened at 38 Greene Street in late November.
"It’s a little peculiar when people walk into the Flou store," Garosalo said. "They often ask, ‘What do you sell here?’ And I say, ‘Don’t you see 15 beds and an entire collection of pajamas?’"
But once customers realize what the product offerings are, Garosalo said, "many have had phenomenal interest in the sleepwear. It’s still a work in progress, though, because the collection needs more items." Flou Italy will launch an expanded collection in April at the Milan Furniture Fair.
Garosalo, who has owned an up-market home furnishings specialty store called Repertoire in Boston for 17 years and a second unit in SoHo since 2001, has been the U.S. representative for 25-year-old Flou S.p.A. for 12 years. Two more Flou units are planned for Los Angeles and Miami over the next couple of years, and a second unit in New York is being considered for the Upper East Side, he said.Garosalo said he believes there will be an increased demand for specialty lifestyle stores like Flou, especially in New York and other major cities.
"I feel there’s a growing focus on an attractive, harmonious bedroom," he said. "I’ve noticed it’s a very important statement for New Yorkers, maybe because it’s such a stressful environment right now."
Store manager Pavlos Schtakleff said the majority of customers "love" the idea of buying a bed and sleepwear at the same time. But the price tag is not for the tame of heart. Suggested retail for the specialty beds, which feature a lift-up storage system underneath a slated-mattress and removable upholstery that can be matched up with the sleepwear, average around $2,900 to $4,000 and go as high as $5,788. A choice of 300 bed linen sets are $250 to $900.
"It’s worth the price," Schtakleff added. "Flou wants people to enjoy their bedrooms."
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)