Balenciaga and Celine’s creative directors Demna Gvasalia and Hedi Slimane, respectively, are eager to leave their imprimatur on their brands’ retail environments with house codes filtered through their own lenses.
Balenciaga confirmed that it will open a store at 610-620 Madison Avenue in spring 2019. The 7,300-square-foot store includes the space that until relatively recently housed a pop-up shop for Mansur Gavriel, and two adjacent spaces.
If Gvasalia’s design for the store Balenciaga opened at 840 Madison Avenue in June 2017 is representative, the upcoming unit further south on Madison Avenue will feature some form of his new industrial-inspired retail prototype, which was first seen at the brand’s Paris flagship.
Two stores on Mercer Street in SoHo still bear the green marble-filled design concept of Gvasalia’s predecessor at Balenciaga, Alexander Wang.
Celine will unveil a store at 650 Madison Avenue, the French fashion house confirmed.
Sources said Balenciaga was moved to rent 610-620 Madison Avenue after learning that Celine was coming to the thoroughfare. Celine has reportedly also signed a one-year lease at 102 Greene Street. The company declined to comment.
The new retail moves are a boon for Madison Avenue, which has been struggling with declining rents and high vacancies since the 2008 recession. According to research by Cushman & Wakefield, Madison Avenue availability rose to 27.8 percent at the end of the second quarter, a 4.3 percent increase over the 2017 quarter. Meanwhile, the average asking rent was $1,300, a 9.2 percent decline.
Matthew Bauer, president of the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District, said, “It’s great to see international luxury brands investing in Madison Avenue. It shows the importance of brick-and-mortar locations and the value of proximity to other luxury retailers on the street. It’s a rising tide that’s raising all the boats on Madison Avenue.“
Balenciaga and Celine operate stores at 840 Madison Avenue and 870 Madison Avenue, respectively. It couldn’t be learned whether they’ll continue in those spaces when their new stores open.
Those aren’t the only brands moving to the famed shopping strip. Reformation will open a 3,000-square-foot store at 1055 Madison Avenue at the corner of 80th Street. Cushman & Wakefield represented the landlord and Maxwelle NY represented the tenant.
The upper blocks of Madison Avenue have been seeing more action lately, with Johnny Was, Ruti and Joe Bananas opening in close proximity.
In addition, Marni opened a new flagship at 822 Madison Avenue between 68th and 69th streets.