NEW YORK — Jimmy Choo is known for its skyscraper heels, but in its new store concept the firm wants clients to be comfortable and even pampered.
On Tuesday, the firm will unveil its renovated and enlarged flagship on Madison Avenue here with a new Forties boudoir look. It is the largest Jimmy Choo store in the world at 3,000 square feet. The store opened in 2003 was originally 1,200 square feet.
The store now has a second story, which was formerly used as a showroom for the brand. The company's showroom has been moved to its headquarters here at 750 Lexington Avenue.
The store is done in a shade of blush, with silk-covered panels flanking display niches to hold shoes and bags, which are merchandised by trend story. The store will also house the firm's new eyewear and fragrance lines when they launch in January 2008 and 2009, respectively. A long, linear crystal chandelier stretches from the second floor to street level and tufted leather club chairs are dispersed throughout the white marble selling floor for a lush look.
"We worked hard on bringing exceptional quality to Madison Avenue to really create a flagship. [It is] one of our highest-grossing stores," said Jimmy Choo president Tamara Mellon. "It dates back to the original concept of a very intimate, feminine space for our customers to shop in. We've really just expanded on that. The bag collections are growing every season."
Handbags now account for 40 percent of Choo's business. Launched in 2003, the firm's bags include the Ramona, a slouchy tote with oversize grommets and a belted closure, and the Mahala, a shoulder bag. The company expects fall's Alex hobo style to be another bestseller.
New Jimmy Choo stores are being designed in the style of Madison Avenue, with room for bags and eyewear. The company has said in the past that it will go into additional categories such as denim down the road, for which the stores will have to be fitted.
The stores will offer exclusive and limited edition product, including a crocodile bag that comes with a matching fur blanket for travel and shoes like a peep-toe pump accented with a zipper up the side and a gray metallic crocodile pump with studs."The new store is going to allow us to merchandise by product category," said Joshua Schulman, who was named chief executive officer of Jimmy Choo in April. "We'll really be able to show the full range of the collections. Here, for the first time, people will be able to see our full breadth of product."
Schulman replaced Robert Bensoussan, who stepped aside to focus on building a portfolio of luxury brands with Choo's owner, TowerBrook Capital Partners LP, an international private equity firm that acquired the company in February in a deal said to be valued at $364.5 million based on the currency rate exchange at that time.
Choo recently completed a similar renovation at its Bond Street flagship in London.
"Our volume is growing very fast," added Schulman, who declined to reveal actual numbers. "With handbags and all of the products that we're launching we're seeing very robust growth."
Choo puts out more collections now, including fall, resort, spring and summer, and based on the success of its first pre-fall shoe collection this year, will add pre-fall handbags to the mix.
"The customer wants…to be the first on the block with new fashion," said Schulman about the multifarious collections.
Jimmy Choo has 22 stores in the U.S. in locations such as South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif., Chicago and Bal Harbor, Fla. There are 40 stores internationally.
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