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MILAN — The year 2014 should be a watershed one for Dsquared2.
This story first appeared in the January 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The brand is mapping out its retail development in the U.S. with the opening of the first two flagships in the region. The venues are expected to bow in New York and Los Angeles in the second half of the year and to be modeled after a new blueprint.
“It’s exciting for us to open our flagships in the U.S., and monumental for the brand,” said Dean Caten.
“These are the cities that will add depth to the Dsquared2 retail story. It’s the start of a whole new chapter,” added his twin brother Dan, the other half of the designing duo behind the brand.
The label’s first store in the U.S. will open in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, on Spring Street, and cover 7,236 square feet. The second unit will open on Rodeo Drive and cover 5,184 square feet. Chief executive officer Gianfranco Maccarrone said the company is in discussions to open boutiques in Miami, Aspen and Las Vegas, as well. “These are five fundamental stores to describe who we are,” said Maccarrone, sitting in his office at the Dsquared2 headquarters in a Thirties-era building in Milan, which also houses the Ceresio 7 bar and restaurant designed by the Catens.
Maccarrone said the U.S. is the company’s main market online, developed over the past three years and accounting for 23 percent of total online sales. “Our ambition is for the U.S. to account offline as much as online — at least for about 20 percent of business globally,” said Maccarrone. Europe is today the brand’s main market, representing 60 percent of revenues.
Maccarrone said that in the U.S. there is a “very high perception of the brand, considered as cool,” embraced by a cross-section of diverse high-profile talents from sports to music, ranging from Justin Timberlake, Michael Bublé, Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez to Dwyane Wade and soccer ace and coach Josep Guardiola.
Globally, the company is planning 14 openings in 2014, including three stores in China, units in Panama; Moscow; Baku, Azerbaijan; Mykonos, and in Sardinia’s Porto Cervo.
Dsquared2 is owned by the Catens and is self-financed. The company closed 2013 with sales of 195 million euros, or $257.4 million, up 15 percent compared with 2012.
While expecting growth opportunities through its own stores, Dsquared2 has no intention to neglect its wholesale business, which accounts for 70 percent of sales. “It’s very important for us, it creates a real relation with the market and provides a soundboard,” said the executive, noting that shops-in-shop are being developed with Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and Los Angeles this year. Globally, the label is available at 400 multibrand stores.
Dsquared2 is produced by Staff International under a license, which was renewed in July 2010 until 2027, and modified from an original master license. Production and distribution of shoes, bags and accessories is now controlled in-house, as well as communication and retail development. Ready-to-wear accounts for 75 percent of sales. Men’s wear accounts for 55 percent of total revenues, with women’s contributing to the remaining 45 percent.
The company has been working on further developing its accessories category, now totaling 400,000 pieces per year, promoting its Vancouver bag, for example. Case in point, accessories are prominently featured in the brand’s new ad campaign for spring, bowing next month and photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott on location in Los Angeles. The images show model Luma Grothe against a lush natural waterfall setting, accessorized with brightly hued bags, tropical-themed jumbo jewelry and cat-eye sunglasses.