Since he opened his first U.S. store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood in 2008, Rick Owens, the Paris-based designer known for his dark, Goth aesthetic, has had no further retail growth in America.
This story first appeared in the December 16, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Now his company is a hive of activity with a new 2,150-square-foot flagship that opened Saturday in Miami’s Design District. “We’re looking in L.A. very actively,” Owens said. “We do have a space we’re working on getting. We’re determined to open in L.A. this year.” Owens is also planning to unveil a store in Milan in February.
In addition to the brick-and-mortar moves, Owens is set to launch his e-commerce site today.
“We haven’t had e-commerce until now,” Owens said. “It was a missed opportunity. We’re not a huge powerhouse. It’s not like we have the power to do everything all at once. That’s what’s taken us so long. We’ve been working on the design of the site for a long time.
“A Web site is for places where we don’t have good representation,” Owens added, referring to department and specialty store distribution. “The site will allow us to reach new and existing customers with delivery available around the world. I suspect e-commerce could eventually become an important business.”
The Design District flagship at 3841 North Second Avenue came about because Owens “found an available space and it just kind of made sense. We liked it there. We don’t have a schedule where we have little flags on a map. It will happen whenever we have the right people and the right place to be.”
The Miami flagship will carry the women’s and men’s runway collections, accessories, the DRKSHDW and Lilies lines as well as Hun furs, plus a selection of Owens’ favorite DVDs, books and objects.
The designer declined to discuss sales volume for the store. Owens’ business is approaching 100 million euros, or about $137 million, in revenues.
The flagship “is kind of industrial with big concrete pillars — we wanted to keep part of it raw,” Owens said. A life-size wax sculpture of Owens hangs from the ceiling. The torso is made from an eel’s tail. “It suits Miami, and not just because of the fish thing,” Owens said. “It’s tarnished silver. It has an elegant Art Deco feel.”
Wax sculptures are a presence in other stores, including the Palais Royale unit in Paris and the Tokyo store.
“It’s about vanity but also capturing a man’s moment in his prime and knowing it’s all downhill from there,” said Owens, who designed the sculptures. “It’s my way of doing the lord of the manor portrait over the mantle.” Owens even designed the sculpture “so it’s pissing. It’s funnier that way.”
The Miami flagship will be his seventh store. Other units are located in London, Hong Kong and Seoul.