BERLIN — As a company, A.P.C. likes to keep things small. But not too small, at least in Berlin, where the French contemporary label just opened a second store.
Located on Fasanenstrasse in the old west side of town, the 1,100-square-foot shop for men and women has again been designed by A.P.C.’s architect of choice, Laurent Deroo. Owner and founder Jean Touitou, however, finally got his way, and the new door incorporates the use of travertine, besides the usual signature expanses of wood. “My staff always said travertine is too reminiscent of fascist Italian architecture, but for me it’s very Mies van der Rohe. And so we’re using it,” Touitou commented.
In 2006, A.P.C. helped pioneer the now-trendy designer shop-dotted Mulackstrasse in the Hackescher Markt/Mitte area of former East Berlin. “I love to start where there’s nothing, and we were successful enough there to feel we could use another store [in Berlin]. It’s a huge city and dynamic. I feel like Berlin could be the next Los Angeles,” he declared.
As for Fasanenstrasse, which once boasted Chanel, Gucci and Cartier boutiques, the tree-lined side street off the Kurfürstendamm fell into a sleeping beauty slumber after German reunification. A.P.C. is one of the first to be kissing it awake again, with Acne also rumored to be interested in taking up west side residence there.
“I was attracted by the name [which translates into Pheasants Street], the fact that Literaturhaus [a villa from 1890] is next door, the old Chanel store was across the street, and that there are all these good-looking boarding houses around,” said Touitou. “In fact, we had a leak in the store because a pension guest fell asleep in the bathtub, like a junkie in the Chelsea Hotel. I thought, here we go again.”
As for A.P.C.’s double Berlin presence, it doesn’t point to a major push into the German market, where the brand currently has 15 wholesale customers and the two company-operated stores in Berlin. “For Germany, A.P.C. is sort of a Berlin thing. We’re not a brand that can be successful everywhere. We need cities of 100,000-plus,” Touitou suggested.
“We’re an unimportant brand in Germany,” he went on. Given A.P.C.’s strategy of controlled growth, it’s a smaller player in general. “Our [total] turnover is only in the two digits [of millions]. All the moguls have three digits and will soon be in the trillions, but it’s not the point for us to be a huge brand,” Touitou stressed. Retail sales were placed at around $80 million. “We go at our own pace,” he continued, “opening three to four stores a year.”
Touitou is close to signing on Melrose Place in Los Angeles and just moved into larger quarters on Redchurch Street in London, and March will see the opening of A.P.C. on Bond Street. “In Manhattan, not London,” he quickly interjected. “We couldn’t afford Bond Street London.” For a moment, it looked like the label couldn’t afford to stay on Dover Street either.
“The rent had been tripled. That’s British capitalism for you, but I happened to cook lunch for Adrian Joffe of Comme des Garçons, and we made an arrangement so I don’t have to leave Mayfair. Thanks to Adrian, we’ll remain on Dover Street at the Dover Street Market. And not just in London, but also in Tokyo and New York,” he told WWD.
A.P.C. will do some special projects for CdG’s Dover Street Markets, Touitou explained, and deliver a new range every three months. “I respect their work tremendously, and I’m happy to have reached a maturity where we can speak at a round table, man to man.” Not to mention jointly digging into Touitou’s self-made pesto.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast