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PARIS — Fred, the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton-owned jewelry house, is out to modernize the category’s shopping experience.
The brand will unveil its new store concept at its 10,760-square-foot Place Vendôme flagship here Tuesday, marking the latest stride in an ongoing brand rejuvenation strategy implemented by the firm’s recently appointed chief executive, Natalie Bader. The former Chanel and Sephora executive joined the house at the end of 2006.
The store’s new look, conceived by the French architecture firm Stories Strategy and Brand Design Consultancy Agency, focuses on transparency, clean lines, airy zones and modern merchandising concepts designed to encourage a cooler environment for buying jewelry.
“It’s a new lease on life [for the brand],” said Bader. “We want to [introduce] an open attitude to buying jewelry, where people don’t feel too intimidated to enter the store.”
High tables, for example, permit fittings and purchases to take place while standing up. Encouraging try-on sessions, makeup counter-inspired mirrored display cabinets stand at the store’s entrance, stocked with Fred’s most accessible lines such as its best-selling dog tag-like pendants, which were reintroduced this spring.
Vibrant cocktail rings and the brand’s more precious jewelry lines reside in airy glass boxes protruding from slanted wall partitions, while a display at the store’s heart showcases engagement rings, one of the brand’s focus growth categories.
Working a neutral palette of black, anthracite and cream, materials include lacquered metal, smoked oak and leather. A striking light installation at the store’s entrance hints to Fred’s renewed art endeavors, namely its new “baby gallery” space on the upper floor, measuring around 540 square feet. The space pays homage to Fred’s long-standing links with the art world, the brand’s founder Fred Samuel having first collaborated on a pendant with Jean Cocteau in 1962.
September will see the unveiling of Glory, a limited edition jewelry line by the store’s first guest artist, the industrial designer Christian Ghion. The project is one of many collaborations to come, with photographer and graphic designer Jean-Paul Goude rumored to be next in line.
“The idea is to use people who have never worked with jewelry, as it brings a new vision to the product,” said Bader, adding that an open-minded, creative approach is vital to stimulating the jewelry market, which she sees as lagging 15 years behind the accessories market in terms of innovation.
This story first appeared in the April 14, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“For now, fine jewelry is often perceived as inaccessible, but in the coming years, [I believe] women will be buying more branded jewelry,” she said.
Citing 20 percent growth for 2007 in France, the brand’s number-one market, development is currently focused on the domestic market, Asia and the Middle East, Bader said, with around five points of sale to be opened in those regions this year. The brand owns one boutique in the U.S., in Las Vegas.