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NEW YORK — Louis Vuitton, step forward.
This story first appeared in the July 6, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The luxury leather goods brand is scheduled to unveil a shoe salon at Saks Fifth Avenue in late September. For Vuitton, the salon marks the first of its kind, which, once open, will become a key feature at 10022-Shoe, Saks’ eighth-floor shoe department that is currently being renovated and expanded.
Valerie Chapoulaud-Floquet, president and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton North America, called Saks the best location to show the range of Vuitton’s shoes, from casual to evening. “Saks Fifth Avenue’s eighth floor has a unrivalled reputation for the most fashionable assortments, from the best designers and, equally, for its exceptional quality of service,” she said.
Vuitton will directly operate the salon in a setup comparable to its handbag and leather goods space on Saks’ main floor, and ready-to-wear on three.
“The entry of Louis Vuitton shoes to our expanded 10022-Shoe salon will be wonderful addition to our world class shoe offer,” said Ron Frasch, president and chief merchant of Saks Fifth Avenue. “We are proud to be the first luxury retailer in the world offering the Louis Vuitton show brand in our New York flagship store.”
Vuitton didn’t disclose the square footage of the salon, which will be located on the Fifth Avenue side of the store. The shoe salon was designed to remain open to the floor while maintaining a distinct Vuitton feel, from blond wood, hand-applied plaster and textured lacquers to cream-colored leather shelves. The area will also feature a central niche that resembles the Vuitton shoe workshop in Fiesso, Italy. Architect Peter Marino selected the carpets, display tables and seats for the space.
For the unveiling, Vuitton will offer a shoe exclusive to Saks: a glittery, embroidered version of a pre-fall pump replete with a signature LV lock on its pointed toes.
Over the past five years, shoes have become a key growth category at Vuitton. In the U.S., there are currently 67 Louis Vuitton stores offering a footwear assortment. “It’s very strong, and growing,” Chapoulaud-Floquet said.
Saks’ five-year old 10022-Shoe ranks as the store’s most productive area next to the main floor. The retailer is currently revamping the floor, growing the footprint to 32,150 square feet, with 16,650 for selling and 15,500 for storage, from a total of 22,000 square feet previously. The new floor will bring together all footwear tiers, from designer to Wear, its bridge level, contemporary, day and evening. The floor will also feature several labels new to Saks’ shoe assortment, including Alejandro Ingelmo, Carven, Freda Salvador, Jason Wu, Altuzarra, Pierre Hardy, Proenza Schouler, Rachel Comey, Tabitha Simmons, and Vince. The floor already has a strong designer assortment that includes Jimmy Choo, Nicholas Kirkwood, Prada, Giuseppe Zanotti, Alexander McQueen, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Chloé and Tod’s.
For Vuitton, the Saks shoe salon is just the beginning. “There are plans to open Louis Vuitton shoe salons in other premier shoe departments at luxury retailers throughout the world,” Chapoulaud-Floquet said. “We are excited that Saks Fifth Avenue in New York is the first.”