DUBAI — Isabel Marant is in Dubai. That was the message splashed across the invitations for the fete in the United Arab Emirates to celebrate the opening of the first stand-alone boutique in the region.
”This is a first step. We believe that the market will expand, said chief executive officer Anouck Duranteau-Loeper. “The customer is ready for our brand on a bigger scale. Until very recently we were thought of as the best-kept secret. I think we still are a bit of a secret, but not so narrow now.”
The plans for expansion in the Middle East are ambitious. Duranteau-Loeper said they will add one more store in Dubai and are scouting locations in Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Riyadh.
“Our own retail is the best way to really give the full experience of the maison and create a relationship to understand the brand. Isabel is about a certain style of mixing your pieces together. With our own retail we can have a broader offering and a direct relationship with the customer to do that. For our staff to create that relationship is most important,” she said.
The ‘70s-inspired look of the Dubai boutique has contrasts to create what the company describes as “happy tensions and subtle imperfection,” which give clients a feeling of “intimate luxury — a luxury that is personal.” Sculptures and objects of design displayed in the store are reminiscent of Marant’s travels, like a suitcase spilled open to share its treasure.
Dubai is a good fit for the eclectic brand. “I love the energy here in Dubai,” said Duranteau-Loeper. “The customer here reminds me of the customers in New York. There are a lot of different cultures and stories, a sophistication, but also very cool.”
There are now 68 stores globally for Isabel Marant. Twelve are in China, another key market for the company, alongside the U.S.
“The brand is getting more and more known and that has to do with the footfall in stores. I personally believe that if you invest in a city, you need to have a few stores, especially in a big city because it makes the brand bigger,” the CEO said.
The company’s growth has been fueled by Montefiorie Investment, which took a 51 percent stake in Isabel Marant in 2015.