MILAN — Bottega Veneta is gearing up to open its first men’s boutique in the U.S. in May. Located off Madison Avenue on 67th Street in New York City, it marks the increased relevance of the brand’s men’s wear division, which now accounts for about 30 percent of Bottega Veneta’s sales.
This story first appeared in the January 19, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Men’s is a fast-growing business for us, and the opening of this store makes a statement,” said creative director Tomas Maier at the brand’s sprawling Milan headquarters, where he showed his men’s fall collection on Sunday.
The store will introduce a new blueprint, which will reflect Maier’s vision of a man and his needs while shopping. “We don’t want to make men walk through women’s bags — it’s a little awkward for them.” With the new concept, with “different materials and colors,” which Maier is still keeping under wraps, the designer said he will focus on “what a man would like to find” in a store — a shoe wall organized by function, for example. “A man-friendly” environment was top of mind for Maier, who added that men “are more confident to wear accessories now. It’s a way to express an individual point of view. It can also be a ribbon, a detail, a leather strap, because they are craving something individual.”
Over the past 10 years, the designer has been expanding the brand’s product offer, and the New York men’s store will also carry furniture and interior design items as well.
Maier said Bottega Veneta has seen strong growth globally, but noted that 2011 was “an incredible year” for the brand in the U.S., where customers are “more focused on quality.” There are currently 24 stores in the U.S. Last year, the company refurbished its San Francisco, Chicago and Bal Harbour, Fla., venues, expanding square footage.
The company said men’s bags continue to perform very well and that the men’s shoe category is also growing very rapidly.
Men’s is also gaining traction in emerging markets, and the company opened its first men’s store in the world in Shenyang, China, in the L’Avenue shopping center, in May 2011.
Last year, Bottega Veneta launched its first men’s cruise collection.