Free People, in December, will open a two-level, 6,000-square-foot store at 79 Fifth Avenue in New York's Flatiron District. It will be its first store in Manhattan.
The brand, which is part of Urban Outfitters Inc., was launched in 1984 as a division that made clothes for Urban stores. Free People started selling its clothing to other retailers in 1990 and now has 1,500 specialty store accounts. Nordstrom has often cited Free People as one of its top brands.
Free People, in 2002, opened its first store — mainly as an advertising vehicle — at Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. The unit's success convinced the company to open additional stores, and there are now 11 stores in the chain. The company has said that it eventually hopes to open 100 stores.
Free People, which appeals to women in their 20s, takes an eclectic approach to fashion, layering different textures and colors for an offbeat bohemian look. While most of the apparel is private label, stores sell jeans by True Religion, at $288, and Goldsign, $198. The clothing has a handmade quality. Examples of current Free People looks include Fair Isle baby-doll sweaters, $78; sweater coats with ruffle sleeves, $168, and paisley print dresses, $138. Prices for shoes and jewelry can exceed $300. Like Urban Outfitters' Anthropologie brand, Free People sells some furniture, such unusual pieces as a vintage steamer trunk for $2,700 and a French reproduction chair covered in bright pink and blue quilts from Rajasthan, India.
The division's performance has been strong. Free People had a comp-store sales increase of 8 percent in the first quarter ended April 30, and wholesale business jumped 12 percent. For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 31, comp-store sales advanced 4 percent and wholesale sales jumped 29 percent.
Residents, office workers and shoppers in the Flatiron District seem to favor young, trendy apparel. H&M, Club Monaco, Coach and Jo Malone have stores in the neighborhood, as does Anthropologie. Kate Spade, Miss Sixty and G-Star are all coming soon. Restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park, Craft Bar, Gramercy Tavern, Mesa Grill and BLT Prime also drive traffic.
Free People is looking for additional stores in Manhattan, said Robert K. Futterman, who represented the tenant and is chief executive officer of the real estate company bearing his name. "They're looking on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, downtown and the boroughs, and they just opened a store in Greenwich, Conn.," he said. "They really fit into the Flatiron neighborhood. There's some youthfulness to the Flatiron District. The neighborhood is on fire." Asking rents are $250 to $350 per square foot, he said.The design of Free People stores is as offbeat as the merchandise. Some have a loft apartment feel, others have a greenhouse style and some have a modern sensibility. Handmade fixtures and carefully selected music contribute to the atmosphere.
@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
“I’m Russian and I love to use all these little tricks that I got from my grandma or my mom. We didn’t have a lot of money for creams or anything like that so we would use a garden as a beauty treatment regime. We’d put cucumber in the fridge and do a cucumber mask,” says model @irinashayk on one of her beauty hacks. WWD asked celebs what their go-to self-care rituals are. See what Naomie Harris, Freida Pinto and more said on WWD.com. #wwdeye #wwdbeauty (📷: @zefashioninsider)
Exclusive: @viktorandrolf are teaming up with @Zalando on a collection made from leftover clothing. The lineup, which lands at the retailer February 1, includes 17 pieces adorned with sliced up and repurposed overstock from the retailer’s private label collection. Pictured here is a look from the collection –– see more on WWD.com. #wwdfashion #wwdnews
@duewestnyc is the newest bar joining the collection of intimate neighborhood-focused spaces in the West Village. The cocktail menu, which includes bitters and syrups made in-house, offers a “Build Your Own Old-Fashioned” – like the one pictured here – where guests can choose from a list of spirits and unexpected sugars and bitters. #wwdeye
Spotted at last night’s National Board of Review gala in NYC: Angelina Jolie. Jolie – along with Meryl Streep, @lupitanyongo and more – continued the all-black dress code from Sunday’s Golden Globes. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)