MILAN — Umit Benan has selected Japan as the location for his first boutique.
This story first appeared in the June 12, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The designer told WWD that the store, slated to open at the end of July, will be located in Tokyo.
Benan’s choice to introduce his flagship in Japan reflects the importance of the market for the label, as it accounts for 50 percent of total business.
“I’m [pleased] to open my first store, which will give me the possibility to get directly in touch with the final customers,” said Benan, who also noted that, with the flagship, he will be able to deliver a more realistic image of the brand than that conveyed at his shows. “My shows are always very strong and unconventional, but my average customer is kind of a mature man, very sophisticated, who can afford luxury products.”
The 861-square-foot store spans two floors of a building formerly occupied by a Dr. Martens boutique and is located in Tokyo’s Daikanyama neighborhood.
“I immediately fell in love with the area, it’s relaxed, packed with small stores and coffee shops; it’s a real neighborhood,” said Benan.
According to the designer, the store will feature “a kind of traditional feel with a design twist.”
The boutique will show concrete floor and walls — some of them painted in Benan’s signature navy blue color — with touches of wood, “to make the atmosphere cozier.” A raw, metallic staircase will connect the first floor with the second, which will be decorated with vintage armchairs, a Turkish carpet in shades of blue and a display containing some of Benan’s personal objects, which will be available for purchase. The store will also feature a blue shutter “to make the boutique resemble a garage,” Benan explained.
The flagship will carry the Umit Benan runway collections, along with a series of special editions and capsule collections designed by Benan exclusively for the unit. In addition to the apparel, the venue will also carry bags and sneakers, which will be launched in Paris in June.
After moving his runway show from Milan to Paris in January, Benan also revealed he is setting up a design studio in New York. The company’s production and commercial offices will remain in Milan.