Kit Jo Horgan zoned in on the uptown end of the Australian beauty market with her hit chain of Mecca Cosmetica emporiums. Now she is tackling the downtown end with the new concept Kit.
Designed as Mecca Cosmetica’s hip little sister in collaboration with Robyn Coe-Hutshing, the founder of The Studio at Fred Segal, Kit’s highly accessible price points range from 3.95 Australian dollars, or $3.10 at current exchange, for a Natural Products Skincare Tablet up to just 120 Australian dollars, or $94, for a pH Advantage Effective OEC Serum.
The concept was launched as a single stand-alone store in the trendy Sydney suburb of Paddington in May 2005. But although it took nine years to open 16 Mecca Cosmeticas, in just 18 months, Kit is already a six-strong chain. A second stand-alone opened in Chapel Street Melbourne, along with four concept Kit stores within Myer department stores in three states (Mecca Cosmetica has two similar concepts within Myer’s upscale rival, David Jones).
In skin and body care, Kit’s brands include Mario Badescu, Korres, Hei Poa, Cowshed, L’Annine, Pré de Provence and Davies Gate. Color lines include Scott Barnes, Pop, Delux and Jemma Kidd Makeup School, along with Fresh Scents and Stacked Style fragrances, Archipelago Milk soy candles, Mudlark soaps and Mystic Lips lip balms.
Already embracing a range of lip glosses, Kit’s rapidly developing house brand got its first international airing this Christmas, when the new Kit Fragranced Series arrived at Fred Segal. The range’s three fragrances were created by Kit creative director Coe-Hutshing and ingredients include Australian native Kakadu plum, lilly pilly and quandong. There’s a Body Wash, Body Lotion and Body Oil (all 250 ml., ranging from 20 Australian dollars, or $15, to 35 Australian dollars, or $27.
The shop interiors were designed by the same firm behind Mecca Cosmetica, which is Melbourne’s Meacham, Nockles & McQualter. By contrast to Mecca’s futuristic stainless steel and white interiors, however, the Kit stores are deliberately designed down, with an art-studio, jumble-sale vibe: bare concrete walls and ceilings, wooden floorboards, an eclectic, mismatched mix of stainless steel and wooden cabinetry and merchandising units, and quirky lamp shades fashioned from plastic kitchen colanders.
“This is unisex and item-driven, so you can build your own kit,” says Horgan. “Mecca is more cosmeceutical care, blockbuster color, with high levels of service. Kit is like a self-service candy shop or a cult beauty deli.” —Patty Huntington
Universe Tim Swart and Mirko Mangum, two employees of New York skate apparel brand Zoo York, launched Univ, an action sports specialty store in Encinitas, Calif., in October with the goal of connecting the dots between action and lifestyle apparel. The 850-square-foot shop, located roughly 30 miles north of San Diego and just one block from the beach, is the first in what could be a handful of global locations.
Mangum, who is vice president of sales for Zoo York, and Swart, a freelance marketing consultant for the brand, already have signed distribution deals for their existing line of jeans and graphic T-shirts and hoodies—also dubbed Univ—with manufacturing companies in Germany and Australia. Deals with companies in Japan and Australia are in the works. “We have a vintage California aesthetic,” says Swart. “We’ll use the store as a launching pad to broadcast that further….We’ll probably have an international store before we have another domestic one.”
In the meantime, the partners will double the size of the shop in February, expanding their women’s offerings to encompass a full half of the store.
“Right now, women’s [apparel] is half of our business in sales, but only takes up about a sixth of the store,” says Swart. Best-selling women’s brands include the store’s private label, Stüssy; Soda, and 80%20 footwear.
Despite plans for worldwide domination, the shop is loyal to its small-town roots. Miss Wax, the shop’s best-selling accessories brand, is handcrafted by “a local girl who works at a nearby cafe,” says Swart. “There’s this small-town creativity here, and it’s fun to be a part of it and harness it.”
The store’s decor is classic California seaside—with an edge. Wood floors and display pieces are charmingly rough-hewn, lending the shop an easy, unpretentious vibe. “In the Fifties and Sixties, a lot of California places were either midcentury or ski lodge [in design],” says Swart. “This store looks like your grandma’s attic…if your grandma happened to be a Hell’s Angel.” —Emili Vesilind
Acervobenjamin São Paulo’s hottest new fashion venue is acervoBenjamin, or “Benjamin’s Stockroom,” a multibrand store with forward apparel from dozens of new local designers. Just over a year old, the 3,767-square-foot store, in the chic Jardins shopping district, opened with a wide variety of less-conventional apparel at affordable prices. As such, it’s a big draw for the 20- to 35-year-old set.
“Other São Paulo boutiques don’t have our array of forward designers, which, along with our prices, is why we mainly cater to young women wanting a more cutting-edge look,” says owner Patricia Ruas.
The store’s glass façade makes its interior seem transparent and inviting. Its white-painted wood floor and gray walls are intentionally minimal so that clothes provide color and decoration. They are displayed on counters, racks, mannequins and hangers suspended from nylon cords, dangling at different lengths from the ceiling. Looks on hangers and mannequins are rotated weekly, to change the decor and guarantee all 46 designers equal visibility.
For the moment, acervoBenjamin features just one established designer, Lorenzo Merlino, and four who had runway shows during São Paulo Fashion Week: Merlino, Neon, Jefferson Kulig and Karlla Girotto. The others are newcomers.
The highest-ticket items are from Neon, a maker of vibrant silk kaftans ($500), dresses ($925) and skirts ($800). Its current collection features stylized peacock or cityscape prints. One forward Merlino piece is a voluminous, orange knit blouse ($125) with metal-chain shoulder straps and backstitching that creates a vertical-striped look.
Other items in the store include a sleeveless, high-neck Fifties-style black serge dress with white side snaps ($100) by Nina Becker; a voluminous, navy-blue viscose dungaree dress ($160) by Juliana Jabour, and a blue-and-white-striped nautical-themed polyester strapless dress ($90) by Adriana Degreas.
The store’s only imports are $300 APC jeans from France and $1,000 Botkier handbags from the U.S. First-year sales for the store were at just less than $500,000, say market sources, and are expected to pick up. —Mike Kepp
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye
“It’s passion that helps get anybody to a certain point and it’s what’s propelled me,” said Kith founder @ronniefieg, one of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables who are changing the face of retail, fashion and beauty. Fieg, who opened a Manhattan flagship on October 7, began his career at age 13 as a stock boy and salesman for footwear chain David Z. “I think staying true to [my] beliefs, hard work and passion have gotten me to where [Kith] is today.” See the rest of the 40 at WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
25-year-old @samweaving is about to break out this fall, starring in Netflix’s horror film “The Babysitter,” fittingly out today on Friday the 13th. That’s not the only place you’ll be seeing her, though — Weaving’s got a role Showtime’s “SMILF” and another alongside Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Though she’s got a full plate at the moment, there’s one role she’s got her eye on: Marilyn Monroe. “I’m a little too young at the moment, but it’s on my bucket list,” the actress told WWD (📷: @dandoperalski) #wwdeye
BFF's Poppy Jamie and Suki Waterhouse celebrated the launch of their bag line Pop x Suki at Nordstrom last night. "The line is really about our friendship, and how we are so different but complement each other," said Waterhouse. 👯 (📷: Katie Jones) #wwdeye
After designing the new @louisvuitton and @bulgariofficial flagships and a @chanelofficial boutique opening in Japan, @petermarinoarchitect has another project on his plate: The Lobster Club. Located in the Seagram Building, it’s the famed architect’s first restaurant project in New York, serving up modern Japanese brasserie-style cuisine. Bronze hues, bespoke material detailing, blush and chartreuse tones and a heavy emphasis on Picasso can be seen throughout. Mark your calendars for Nov. 1 for the much-anticipated opening. (📷: @clint_spaulding) #wwdeye