NEW YORK — Alice + Olivia is moving south and west.
This story first appeared in the April 9, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The brand, known for its ladylike styles in colorful shades and floral prints, has outgrown its 12,000-square-foot offices on West 40th Street here. Next month, it will relocate south to 27,000-square-foot offices at 450 West 14th Street in the Meatpacking District, as well as open a 2,000-square-foot store in the space formerly occupied by Stella McCartney a few doors away, at 431 West 14th Street. The brand, which is designed by Stacey Bendet, operates seven stores in the U.S., including a recently unveiled 2,400-square-foot unit at 2259 Fillmore Street in San Francisco.
“It was important for us to have a presence,” Bendet said of moving Alice + Olivia’s headquarters to the Meatpacking District. “I like 14th Street. There’s a great energy downtown. Our brand has so much exposure. We can really make the street come alive again. While there are [retail] spaces available, the traffic’s amazing.”
Alice + Olivia’s stores are designed to blend with their surroundings. The San Francisco unit has a sexy Seventies vibe with gold and brass accents. Bendet said it was designed to reflect the city “at its most iconic moment.” The store doubled its plan in the first week, she said. “I went to a music festival in San Francisco last year and loved Fillmore Street,” Bendet said. “A friend, Nevena Borissova, opened a Curve boutique there. She saw this space and said I had to see it.”
With $130 million worth of products shipping to wholesale accounts in 2012, Bendet said the brand is ready for expansion. In Los Angeles, where Alice + Olivia operates two stores, on Robertson Boulevard and in Malibu, Bendet is looking for additional space. Florida is also a priority. “Our plan is to open stores in Boston, Miami and all the major cities,” Bendet said. “The company has been really profitable for a long time. My partner for the last nine years has been Andrew Rosen. This is a really fun time. We’re up about 20 percent. We think there’s a lot of growth.”
Alice + Olivia’s international business is up 60 percent at Lane Crawford, Harvey Nichols and stores in the Middle East, Bendet said. The brand is eyeing Hong Kong, London and Paris for freestanding units.
A large Alice + Olivia shop-in-shop opened at Bloomingdale’s here, and the brand is unveiling a 1,200-square-foot shop at Harrods in London.
Bendet wants to build Alice + Olivia’s shoe business and is introducing a gown collection in September at Neiman Marcus, Harrods and Net-a-porter, among others. “We might do something in the home area because our clothing is a lifestyle brand about the modern-day cool girl,” Bendet said.