These stores think global, act local, creating singular retail environments for chic labels ranging from Woolrich to Walter Van Beirendonck.
This story first appeared in the March 21, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Given its longevity—it opened in 1930—this multibrand boutique may sound like an Italian retail relic, but nothing about it is dated. Located a Florentine stone’s throw from the Santa Maria cathedral, LuisaViaRoma also operates an online business that ships worldwide and sells men’s wear and accessories straight off the runway. The 1,640-square-foot store offers an array of designer labels—customer favorites include Rick Owens, Lanvin and Dolce & Gabbana—and giant touch-screen displays allow clients to browse the collections and select items to be taken to their dressing rooms. Spread out over three floors, the space is brightly illuminated, thanks to its glass ceiling and the white decor, and also houses a restaurant with a terrace. Via Roma, 19/21r; luisaviaroma.com
Don’t expect neon or flash—or, ironically, Spanish labels. “We’re pioneers in international luxury brands with the focus on quiet silhouettes and accessible prices,” says Luis Miguel López Gallardo, a founding partner and commercial director at 20-year-old Gallery. The retailer’s portfolio includes Lanvin, Neil Barrett, Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, Salvatore Piccolo and Nudie Jeans. Prices run the gamut from $68 for Lacoste jute-bottomed espadrilles to $3,515 for a Bottega Veneta suit. Designed by local heavyweight Tomás Alía, the store’s two levels stretch across 4,090 square feet, sliced by a stainless steel and Plexiglas staircase. Grape and pistachio are key colors, while white lacquered-wood display cases provide a clean backdrop for leather goods, footwear, jewelry, Diptyque candles and fragrances. Jorge Juan 38; gallerymadrid.com
With its smartly edited mix of upcoming and established designers, L’Eclaireur is Paris’ retail destination of choice for fashion customers looking to stray somewhat off the beaten track. Its men’s wear outpost is no exception: Located in a former warehouse in the heart of the Marais district, the store features a selection of clothes and accessories by labels including Rick Owens, Isaac Sellam, Ann Demeulemeester, Walter Van Beirendonck and Carol Christian Poell. L’Eclaireur is one of a handful of stores worldwide to carry reclusive Canadian designer Paul Harnden, a favorite of the now notorious but nonetheless talented John Galliano. Other finds include printed scarves by Pierre Louis Mascia, alligator leather wallets from Accessoires de Bonne Compagnie and Raparo shoes. 12 Rue Malher; leclaireur.com
Bungalow, Stuttgart, Germany
In this well-tailored town, Bungalow has earned a special position by offering its young, business-minded clientele contemporary clothes with dash. The store, owned by men’s retail veteran Uwe Maier, is located in a former warehouse and spiced with a changing array of vintage furniture for sale. But the main draw throughout the two-floor, 4,300-square-foot space is Bungalow’s carefully composed fashion assortment. There’s modern tailoring from the likes of Boglioli, Borrelli Luxury Vintage, Dolce & Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Prada, Moncler Gamme Bleu, Martin Margiela and Bottega Veneta. Also on hand: Alexander Olch furnishings, Santoni footwear and sportswear from Acne, Dead Meat, Kitsuné and Common Projects. Stiftstrasse 1a; bungalow-stuttgart.de
The Library, London
Opened in 1994 by clothing business veterans Peter Sidell and Aaron Firth, The Library quickly became a hit among adventurous dressers looking to work niche or emerging labels into their wardrobes. The South Kensington store—whose clients include P. Diddy, Usher, George Michael and band members from the Kings of Leon—displays art, travel and literary books for buying as well as browsing. Its current fashion offerings include collections by the Milan-based designer Carol Christian Poell, Christian Peau, Clare Tough and the Japanese labels Julius and Devoa. Spanning two floors, the store has a relaxed feel, with jeans hanging along one wall and the Arctic Monkeys piped through the sound system. In a playful nod to the shop’s name and inspiration, price tags resemble index cards from a library’s catalogue. 268 Brompton Road; thelibrary1994.com