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IN THE BAG: Christian Louboutin will on Friday unveil its first concession dedicated to handbags and small leather goods, in London’s Harvey Nichols.
The space, located on the ground floor of the Knightsbridge store, is, according to Alexis Mourot, group chief operating officer and general manager of Christian Louboutin, a reflection of how the handbag and leather goods business is growing for Louboutin. “In terms of percentage it’s currently relatively small, about 5 percent of the business, but it has the potential to be much higher, so it’s important for us to invest in the category,” said Mourot. Eventually, Mourot said he plans for the category to represent 15 percent of the business, noting that in 2013 sales of Louboutin’s handbags and leather goods “doubled” compared to the previous year.
Among the label’s best-selling bags are the Pigalle, a slim rectangular clutch, the Panettone, a collection of handbags and wallets embellished with leather spikes and Sweet Charity, a leather shoulder bag with gold chain straps. Prices for the handbag collection range from about $621 for a wallet to about $3,695 for larger leather bags.
Mourot said the decision to open Louboutin’s first handbag concession in Harvey Nichols followed on from the house opening its first shoe concession in the store in 2007, and the fact that Harvey Nichols was the first U.K. store to carry Christian Louboutin when it launched there in 1995. The design of the new space is a “completely new concept,” Mourot said, and Louboutin worked with architect Will Russell of the architecture firm Pentagram to create a “luxurious and feminine” feel for the 108-square-foot space. The concession has been done out with a travertine tiled pale silver floor, polished brass and reeded maple fittings and shelves lined with white leather, to showcase the label’s handbag collections. And in a nod to Louboutin’s famed red soles, the underneath of each shelf is painted a deep red. Louboutin’s collection of Sweet Charity bags, meanwhile, are displayed on plinths on the concession’s ceramic back wall.
Following the opening of the Harvey Nichols space, Louboutin will open a pop-up handbag boutique nearby to the label’s Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau store in Paris in February, while Mourot said the label is also looking to take the concept to “key markets,” such as the U.S. and Asia, in the future.