NEW YORK — Dolce & Gabbana’s seven-year itch clearly rendered its SoHo outpost makeover ready, as the store just received a major overhaul seven years to the month after it first opened.
The store, at 434 West Broadway, has been renovated to reflect the new prototype for D&G stores — the first of which bowed earlier this spring in London with the Milan store set to be renovated late this year. The SoHo unit’s need for a redesign was bolstered when the company scooped up an adjacent retail space of 2,000 square feet last year.
The space now boasts 9,000 square feet of stainless steel, translucent mirrors, see-through shelves and jumbo logos in vibrant green. “The look for the space is one of a box,” said Gabriella Forte, Dolce & Gabbana’s U.S. president. “There is all this play of transparency and reflective materials that make what is hanging or what is laying on top of shelves appear multifold. It creates a fun-house-mirror effect.”
This bolder, almost psychedelic turn comes at a time when the company is looking to build D&G’s business as well as its image.
While D&G has a global business of $490 million, Forte conceded the brand has yet to fully mature in the U.S. market. However, the company aims to change that in the future. “In the next two years, what we would like to do is really put our anchors solidly in the ground,” said Forte. “We are going to develop D&G and refine the message of the brand to fully communicate what the world of D&G is.”
The new focus on D&G follows strong growth at the core brand. “Dolce & Gabbana’s success has solidified in the last three or four years,” said Forte. “The business has continued to build on its hallmark fame and it has refined each one of its classifications — dresses, suitings, evening and accessories. Business has developed even further with the full-fledged introduction of men’s wear.”
Forte attributes the company’s increased sales to the popularity of its designs, its fit and the price structure, along with strong production schedules and timely deliveries.
Despite SoHo’s troubled retail clime, Forte is still optimistic about the store’s business there. “We’ve been there for a while now and it has always produced very well. Our line has evolved,” explained Forte. “Before, it was lots of jeans, T-shirts and all of that, but now there is this new chic bad-girl look, so we can sort of cover the whole gamut.”
And if sales its opening weekend are any indication, the company’s $6 million forecast for first-year store sales is on target.
“Business was very good over the weekend,” said Forte. “We did close to $100,000.”
Bestsellers included belts, crocheted sweaters, handbags, distressed black leather coats with fur collars, tweed skirts, pants, jackets, hoodies with rhinestones, floral blouses and chiffon and lace dresses.
Retail prices for the D&G line range from $445 to $695 for blazers; $215 to $495 for tops; $245 to $395 for jeans; $215 to $600 for handbags, and $390 to $645 for women’s shoes.
There are currently eight D&G boutiques in the U.S. The company plans to refurbish some of its other D&G boutiques, as well as to open others, although Forte declined to provide details.