Marc by Marc Jacobs is expanding on all fronts, clipping along as fast as its sales of bangle bracelets, clutch wallets and other items.
There's a new 4,700-square-foot emporium in Savannah, Ga., and a petite 400-square-foot seasonal store in Provincetown, Mass., the summer community at the tip of Cape Cod. Both pay homage to their local markets with custom merchandise and assortments, a trend that savvy brands are adopting to give each door a connection to its locale, even as the parent builds a substantial chain. Marc by Marc Jacobs operates 82 stores around the world and plans to open about a half-dozen more, from Moscow to Chicago, by November.
Savannah has charmed Marc Jacobs International president Robert Duffy, who recently purchased a house in the city, which is known for its quirky ambience, moss-covered oaks and distinctive architecture.
"People don't realize how sophisticated Savannah is now," Duffy said. "Twenty years ago, New Englanders and New Yorkers complained that they couldn't shop there. Now, the tourists are amazing, with affluent Europeans and South Americans, and retail is becoming more sophisticated, too."
The unit, equal in size to Marc by Marc Jacobs' largest store, in Los Angeles, opened April 9 in a restored building on Broughton Street in the downtown historic district. In addition to the complete line of Marc by Marc Jacobs men's and women's apparel, shoes and accessories, the store carried a onetime launch offering of T-shirts, tote bags and beach towels with "Savannah'' printed on them.
Early sales have been strong and on several days have beaten all other Marc by Marc stores, Duffy said.
"Shoppers, both locals and tourists, have been existing customers who are familiar with the line, and have bought it in New York or elsewhere," Duffy said.
The store, designed by architect Stephan Jaklitsch, has an industrial feeling, with high ceilings and a navy blue poured concrete floor. Merchandise is displayed on oversize picnic tables and shelves. Prices range from $150 to $200 for separates and blouses to $350 to $600 for dresses, and average $200 for shoes.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"