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DUBAI — The world’s largest selection of shoes under one roof will debut in Dubai next month. With 96,000 square feet of retail space, Level Shoe District, a new concept by Dubai-based Chalhoub Group, will be the largest shoe store in the world, offering women’s and men’s contemporary and fashion footwear.
This story first appeared in the September 21, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
With more than 250 footwear brands, as well as a foot spa, in-house cobbler, private VIP lounges and a Vogue Café and Vogue Espresso bar (operated by Condé Nast Restaurants), Level is a pioneering department store concept that will be exclusively dedicated to shoes. “It’s a place for shoe lovers to come together, where our customers can spend the whole day,” said Rania Masri, general manager of Chalhoub Group Retails Fashion Own Concepts.
Level, located at the Dubai Mall, will be anchored by a Louis Vuitton flagship shoe store, the first of its kind in the world, with eight rooms as well as a bespoke shoe service. In addition to the anchors, the shoe megastore will host more than 40 individual branded shops-in-shop ranging from Prada and Yves Saint Laurent to Dior and Gucci, as well as designer and trend multibrand areas. The “sneaker avenue” will offer limited-edition collections from leading lifestyle brands.
“The thought is that the same customer who might buy a Lanvin shoe will also want the latest Nike collaboration,” said Masri.
Masri noted that there is strong demand for retail outlets that can serve as a platform for the footwear. “Design houses are spending a lot on developing this category. For instance, Gucci now has over 800 styles, but not many places can stock such a large selection.”
Also launching for the first time outside of London will be a Sole Lounge by foot specialist and celebrity favorite Margaret Dabbs. Podiatrists and nail technicians will offer treatments, including oxygen revitalization therapy for the feet.
The Chalhoub Group, one of the largest franchisers of luxury brands in the Middle East, brought in SHED, a London-based interior architecture and design agency whose clients include Vertu and Harrods, to design the concept. One of the hallmark pieces will be a central digital art installation designed by United Visual Artists, the team behind the visual installation at Buckingham Palace during Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee celebrations.