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Bottega Veneta Headed for Melrose Place

The luxury brand's new West Hollywood location will be home-focused, but not furniture-only.

Bottega Veneta's future home on Melrose Place.

LOS ANGELES — Bottega Veneta will bring its world even closer to home, literally, unveiling its latest retail concept early next year on Melrose Place here, WWD has learned.

This story first appeared in the October 26, 2012 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The PPR-owned company, which already has gender-specific, furniture-only and leather-goods-focused boutiques among its 180 stores worldwide, will add a home-focused location to the mix with the debut of a 2,700-square-foot store at 8455 Melrose Place.

A former interiors store that sits next to Carolina Herrera and across the street from Chloé and Oscar de la Renta, the freestanding ivy-covered cottage with large windows and a courtyard is one of the oldest structures on the tree-lined street, once a home decor haven and magnet for actors’ production offices and apartments.

“I remember seeing this building in 1979 the first time I came to Los Angeles,” said Tomas Maier, Bottega’s creative director and a frequent visitor to the Golden State. “I have always loved the street because there is something so European about it. To me, it is the perfect place for entering the world of Bottega Veneta through an intimate interior space.”

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California is a key market for the brand, which has stores on Rodeo Drive, in Costa Mesa’s South Coast Plaza and San Francisco’s Union Square, plus a small shop in Carmel.

“The concept is for a large city that can support more than one store, but why does it need to be the same store, multiplied? If I want to go to a luxury leather-goods store, then I’ll drive to Rodeo, but if I want a different experience, I can go to Melrose Place,” said Maier.

The concept will be home-focused, but not furniture-only like the five stores in Asia. “There will be a very strong representation of home but that doesn’t mean that Melrose won’t have a very edited group of bags that work with the whole idea, or that coat or typical Bottega dress as well. We’ve learned over the past 12 years that the customer for a handbag can be the customer for stemware or an upholstered chair or so on,” he said.

Refining a brand to showcase its various facets is an important point of differentiation in a competitive luxury market where cookie-cutter stores have already multiplied around the globe. “In a world that gets smaller and smaller where people travel more and more, the most boring thing is to see another one of the same stores,” said Maier. “It’s a hell of a lot more work to make all these stores more particular and specific, but I think it’s what we have to do if we want to keep and satisfy that client.”

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While Los Angeles will be the first city, Maier envisions bringing the concept to other locations. “In the U.S., New York definitely. I would be very interested to go downtown and bring that world to those clients. We would obviously like this type of store in Europe, so London and Paris come to mind. We would like to take the concept to Japan and China, too,” he said.

Ever the art fan — Maier attended a Bottega-sponsored Museum of Contemporary Art dinner on Tuesday and signed copies of the company’s first coffee-table book about artisans on Wednesday — he noted that the new store would feel less like someone’s apartment and more like a gallery.

“What I want is a desire evoking an interest, but I don’t want to define an interior look. I want the client to get a click, but I don’t want to tell them they have to do it a certain way. For me, it’s all about individualism and making it his or her own,” said Maier.