PARIS — Coach is setting up shop in the City of Light.
To coincide with its 75th anniversary celebrations, which begin in September, the American accessories and fashion brand this fall will open its first flagship in Paris, at 372-374 Rue Saint-Honoré.
“The opening of our first flagship store in Paris is a pivotal moment for our development across Europe and demonstrative of our increased relevance in the fashion arena,” said Coach Europe president Nigel Darwin.
Coach has been putting an increased focus on its European business in recent years, with France, the U.K., Italy and Germany its priority markets in the short term, Darwin told WWD.
“Europe is one of the big growth areas of the business as we look forward over the coming years,” he said.
“We see a very significant opportunity in the medium term,” continued Darwin, adding that the brand’s European business has already grown “from what was a couple of years ago a very small base to what is now something that has some substance.”
The Paris store, which Darwin believes will complement its six existing retail accounts in the French capital, will showcase the brand’s new flagship “modern luxury” concept, designed by its creative director Stuart Vevers and Studio Sofield designer and president William Sofield. It will sit on a hot retail strip home to concept store Colette and a range of designer labels from Balenciaga to Missoni, with a Tory Burch flagship coming soon.
The concept is part of Coach’s strategy to transform the label, which has struggled in recent years, into a high-end lifestyle brand.
Some 20 existing locations worldwide have already been revamped in line with the new concept, with a total of 150 renovations in the cards before the end of its 2015 fiscal year in June.
In Europe, the label’s New Bond Street store in London had a makeover last year, as did its concession at Harrods.
“We’ve been really delighted with the customer response,” Darwin commented. “It’s been absolutely transforming the experience.”
The 6,500-square-foot Paris store, on two floors, will focus on the brand’s heritage and craftsmanship, and will offer men’s and women’s products, including ready-to-wear, footwear, eyewear, jewelry, watches and fragrances.
A blackened steel-and-mahogany staircase will be its focal point, while hand-tufted carpets and vintage and bespoke furniture will also feature in the design, intended to be evocative of New York City.