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LOS ANGELES — Breaking its silence, Ralph Lauren has confirmed plans to open on Robertson Boulevard here in August.
After speculation that has persisted for a year — and telltale blue logo construction signage erected at the site — the company on Wednesday said it will launch a 10,900-square-foot store on the high-profile retail street.
“We like to save the surprises for close to unveiling,” said Charles Fagan, executive vice president of global retail brand development. “But I think now it’s impossible to hide.”
The space at 135-143 North Robertson will comprise a full-line women’s and men’s store as well as attached Double RL and children’s stores, which will have their own street entrances.
The Robertson opening is in line with the company’s expansion strategy of city-by-city clustering to hit different customers within the same metropolitan area. In the Los Angeles region, Ralph Lauren operates a Rodeo Drive store, three in the Malibu Country Mart (women’s, men’s and Double RL) and one in South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.
The next California location will be on Fillmore Street in San Francisco, where the company has a Ralph Lauren store and a Rugby unit in Union Square.
“With our stable of brands we have the ability to convey a variety of things by mixing labels and speaking to a specific customer in a specific part of the city,” Fagan said.
He pointed out the Rodeo Drive store, with its focus on custom-tailored clothing and the Black and Purple label lines, targets a different consumer than the Robertson location, which will be aimed at a younger customer who likes to mix brands and may not shop at the Rodeo store or even know that much about the brand.
“Our next step in Los Angeles has a different vibe,” Fagan said. “Robertson seems more local as opposed to tourist, and it has the whole spirit of The Ivy [restaurant, a few doors south] and the pedestrian nature.”
The building, the former Hideaway House antiques store, is being remodeled to reflect California’s Spanish Mission architecture with cream stucco exterior and a red tile roof. The interior will feature poured concrete floors, muted plaster walls, reclaimed wood and antique tiles. The store will center around a bright airy courtyard, with a series of rooms opening via double doors.
This story first appeared in the April 24, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The Double RL shop, accessible from within the store, will also have its own rear entrance. The children’s shop — the company’s first dedicated kids’ shop in California — also will have a separate entrance on Robertson.
While the store will carry women’s clothing from all of the Ralph Lauren brands, as well as vintage and one-off pieces, the mix will be more eclectic to reflect “the independent style of the Robertson shopper who wears other labels,” Fagan said. “She’s not a head-to-toe dresser. The store mix will not be unlike our New York Bleecker Street location.”
Of its future big-name neighbors on the same side of the street, Chanel, which is to open in May, and Dolce & Gabbana’s D&G concept, slated for the fall, Fagan said, “You hear things along the way, but we’ve been discussing this for a couple of years.”