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Michael Kors is London-bound.
This story first appeared in the January 20, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Kors is opening a Collection flagship in April at 153 New Bond Street, in the city’s historic Time & Life Building. The unit will be Kors’ second Collection store in Europe, after Milan, and will sell a full selection of the designer collection, including women’s ready-to-wear, accessories, such as handbags and shoes, and fragrances.
“I am a born-and-bred New Yorker, and when we first opened on Madison Avenue, it was certainly very exciting,” Kors recalled. “But if you really had to say, regardless of the economy, ‘what is the most international city in the world?’ It’s London, from every aspect. We are really looking at this store as our window to the world.
“London is the only place where you are contending with all of Europe, America, Asia and the entire Middle East, all shopping at the same time,” he added.
The 3,000-square-foot space — 2,500 will be used for selling — was previously occupied by Ballantyne Cashmere. Kors’ in-house retail development team designed the interior, which will resemble other Collection units with elements such as white Italian marble slabs and brown inset carpets, a stainless steel bead curtain, Macassar wood fixtures and a signature MK chandelier light fixture. Several interior elements will be unique to the London store, including pieces of vintage furniture, from marble table lamps to a clear acrylic floor lamp, a Mies van der Rohe cream leather daybed, a Ward Bennett marble coffee table and a Milo Baughman sofa.
The merchandise mix “will be similar to New York and Los Angeles,” Kors said, adding that there will possibly be a stronger presentation of knits.
In addition to Madison Avenue and Milan, the company has Collection stores on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Fla., the Americana mall in Manhasset, N.Y., and in Seoul. Kors plans to open his next store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago later this year.
John Idol, chief executive officer of Michael Kors Inc., said the company plans to open 25 stores in Europe in the next three years.
“The store on Bond Street is the next step in what will be an extensive global retail expansion,” he added.
Having a store in London gives the designer another excuse to travel to the city frequently, not that he needed one.
“I am a theater freak, so if I can see something before anyone else, nothing pleases me more,” Kors said. “We always see whatever is new in the West End. I also think there are great restaurants in London, and it’s also a fabulous city for vintage shopping. I think the English have had so many quirky things in their closets that that’s what makes it fun. You see some insane Antony Price dress Jerry Hall once wore. It’s not very Michael Kors, but it’s amusing.”