NEW YORK — Vince has arrived uptown.
This story first appeared in the August 3, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The contemporary brand will open its third Manhattan store today at 980 Madison Avenue, which serves as the company’s New York flagship. The shop, which marks the 20th unit in the Vince lineup, opens with the fall collection featuring luxury basics such as cashmere sweaters, leather leggings, suede tunics and shearling jackets.
Vince’s two other Manhattan locations are at 833 Washington Street in the Meatpacking District and 16 Prince Street in NoLIta, both of which opened in 2009.
“This store can appeal to both a local and tourist client,” said Beth Cohn, senior vice president for retail and e-commerce at Vince. The shop, which is on the northwest corner of 76th Street, is directly across the street from the Carlyle Hotel and is near such stores as Rebecca Taylor, Morgan Le Fay and Vera Wang.
The 1,940-square-foot Madison Avenue store was designed by Marmol Radziner, a Los Angeles-based firm that has designed all the Vince stores. The shop reflects the brand’s clean, refined aesthetic. An 11-foot ceiling and several large windows fill the space with sunlight. The store has light gray plastered walls, bleached African mahogany wall panels and white oak flooring. Lining the walls are custom antique, bronze hangbar fixtures. A large, tufted leather lounge with built-in wood tables is positioned in the center of the store, adding a sense of dimension to the space. There are four oversize dressing rooms at the back of the store, and a cash wrap in a separate room. The new design will be rolled out to the brand’s existing stores this fall. The boutique plans to host private shopping nights and one-on-one personal styling appointments.
Vince was founded in 2002 by Rea Laccone, chief executive officer, and Christopher LaPolice, president, who continue to run the business. It was acquired by Kellwood Co. in 2006. The brand launched a men’s collection in 2007 and a denim line in 2010.
Vince, which generates global retail sales of $250 million, opened its first store on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles in 2008 and has subsequently added locations in Malibu, Chicago, Dallas, Boston, San Francisco, White Plains, N.Y., and Manhattan. It will open a unit at The Grove in Los Angeles around Thanksgiving.
“We’ll be evaluating our full retail strategy over the next three to five years. We’re absolutely looking for additional locations in key metropolitan cities,” said Cohn. She noted the company has no freestanding stores overseas yet and will be seeking international locations as well. She declined to project first-year sales at the Madison Avenue boutique.
At present, Vince is carried in 40 countries at retailers such as Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols, Harrods, Isetan, Holt Renfrew, Browns and Net-a-porter. “Our overseas business continues to grow as the European and Asian customer becomes more familiar with the Vince brand,” said Cohn.
The Madison Avenue location is the first of its 20 units (two of which are outlets) to be exclusively devoted to women’s apparel. All the other units feature women’s and men’s apparel. “We wanted to represent the full breadth of the women’s collection and for our customer to experience all the categories,” said Cohn. The shop offers outerwear, leather, sweaters, knit tops, T-shirts, tanks and denim. The collection ranges from $48 for a cotton tank to $2,000 for a shearling jacket, with the average sweater price at $300.
Some key fashion looks for the season are riding pants for $235, an oversize cowl-neck sweater for $320, a double-faced wool jacket for $675, a suede tunic for $695, a leather shift for $885, a fox-fur vest for $1,675 and a hooded shearling jacket for $1,975. “Color is very exciting for us,” added Cohn, pointing out the new citrine tops and the hot pink silk blouses.
In Manhattan, Vince sells at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York, as well as specialty stores such as Intermix, Blue & Cream and Edit.