TOKYO — Bottega Veneta has opened its largest store in the world here in a characteristically discreet manner, opting for a quiet, chestnut tree-lined street off Ginza's main drag.
The five-floor, 9,700-square-foot Bottega Veneta complex houses three levels of retail space and the brand's full product range of apparel, leather goods, fine jewelry and home furnishings. The company's Japanese offices and showroom occupy the upper floors of the building.
Bottega Veneta will fete the store Friday. Creative director Tomas Maier will host a cocktail party at the store, which opened last month, followed by a small dinner party at a nearby gallery. Liz Goldwyn and models Du Juan, Ai Tominaga and Anne Watanabe are some of the celebrities slated to attend the event. "Being in Tokyo is always a treat," Maier told WWD ahead of the festivities.
Bottega Veneta is just the latest edition to the bustling shopping neighborhood. Last year, Gucci unveiled its towering retail and office complex here, while Hermès expanded its 10-story flagship to add retail space and a cafe. Construction workers are rushing to finish new megastores for Giorgio Armani and Bulgari. Armani's flagship will include the designer's first spa, a joint collaboration with longtime beauty partner L'Oréal, as well as an Italian restaurant and a rooftop bar.
Despite the building blitz here, most European luxury groups are having a rough time in Japan, a sluggish market dogged by a weak euro. Both LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton and PPR, owner of Gucci Group, recently admitted that their two star brands — Louis Vuitton and Gucci — were facing tougher times in the key Japanese market. Vuitton is expected to have flat sales there this year, while Jean-François Palus, PPR's chief financial officer, said, "Japan is a tough environment" for Gucci at the moment.
But Gucci Group's Bottega Veneta is a notable exception, thanks to its niche positioning. Bottega Veneta's first-quarter sales spiked 57 percent in Japan, its biggest single market. Worldwide, the brand's first-quarter revenue rose 45 percent to 84.8 million euros, or $115.3 million at current exchange, boosted by 18 store openings.
Bottega Veneta chief executive Patrizio Di Marco said the brand's no-logo strategy and emphasis on individuality has appealed to Japanese customers who are growing tired of mass-produced goods and ubiquitous products.
Hermès is launching a Laundromat pop-up shop in NYC - dubbed Hermèsmatic - where customers can bring their old scarves to be dip-dyed by an expert. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews (📷: @donstahl)