LOS ANGELES — Perrin Paris 1893 is harkening back to Fifties-era retailing in the look and feel of its new Beverly Hills flagship.
This story first appeared in the November 23, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The 1,200-square-foot store is the 116-year-old French glovemaker’s first retail outpost since it relaunched five years ago as a multicategory leather accessories brand.
Michel Perrin, chairman and chief executive officer of the company his great-grandfather began, said he hopes Perrin Paris 1893’s shop, which opened last month at 346 North Beverly Drive, can cater to a fresh demand for investment merchandise that’s deemed luxury by virtue of its fine materials and craftsmanship.
“It is not a label per se; it is a brand, and there is a big difference,” said Perrin of Perrin Paris 1893, a family-owned business that previously had a store in San Francisco damaged by that city’s devastating 1906 earthquake. “A lot of women who are shopping at Hermès, Bottega Veneta, Gucci or Prada, they want to get back to the basics. They are used to quality and sophistication, but they don’t want to spend $6,000 anymore on a bag. So I think there is a very captive market for us in this town.”
Bags range from $299 for the best-selling Martha style, a collaboration between Martha Stewart and Perrin Paris 1893, to $5,465, and gloves from $165 for the Spider pair worn by Drew Barrymore at the premiere of the film “Whip It” to $650. Perrin Paris 1893 partnered with French brand Histoire de Voir on sunglasses, with leather-covered temples that are $298, and with Paris-based Karin Ohana on jewelry that runs from $250 to $1,200.
Like the leather goods, the Perrin Paris 1893 store, designed with interior designer Chahan Minassian, is more minimalist chic than opulent. An array of textures, from Nubuck leather wall paneling and Tiger maple furniture to linen draping in beige and tan tones, provide the retail backdrop. Additional elements include a vintage Murano glass chandelier and a glove display sculpted by Laguna Beach, Calif.-based artist Gerard Basil Stripling inspired by Alberto Giacometti pieces.
Sally Perrin, creative director of Perrin Paris 1893 and Michel’s wife, said Beverly Drive was chosen instead of Rodeo Drive for the store because it’s “where people actually shop versus take pictures.” She compared it to a Fifties boutique in which she said “women would really take the time and come in to shop and be fitted for a beautiful pair of gloves and, of course, a bag to match.”
“We want it to be a leisurely, comfortable experience,” she said.
Michel Perrin expects the store to generate at least $1 million in first-year retail sales and said Perrin Paris 1893 could add a store a year over the next five years. Reminiscent of the Fifties, perhaps the last decade when women committed their glove sizes to memory, shoppers will be able to get their glove measurements taken at the Perrin Paris 1893 location in Beverly Hills and likely each subsequent store. The brand is sold in roughly 20 doors, including Bergdorf Goodman, Fred Segal and Harvey Nichols.