The Oakley flagship in Milan.

Oakley, owned by eyewear giant Luxottica Group, has unveiled its first Italian flagship, located in Milan. Situated in Piazzale Cadorna, next to Luxottica Group’s headquarters, the store stands out in the Milanese square thanks to its modern design and wide-screen column at the entrance.

“This is a flagship conceived to let [the customers] savor the brand, to make [them do a] total immersion in an Oakley world of selected products,” said Massimo Vian, Luxottica’s chief executive officer for product and operations.

“We are now experiencing a relaunching phase, after having invested in the last years, in particular the last two years,” commented Vian. “The fact that there’s this flagship, and not another brand’s, next to Luxottica’s headquarter, speaks volumes,” he added.

In addition to Oakley, Luxottica owns Ray-Ban and Persol, among others, and produces eyewear for brands including Burberry, Giorgio Armani, Prada, Versace under license.

The store offers a selection not only of Oakley’s signature sunglasses, ski and snowboard goggles but also of its apparel, backpack and shoe collections.

“[Oakley is on] a path of great investments and revitalization, there’s a product widening, but these [products] are intended to support the eyewear sales, the brand equity in the eyewear world, without missing other opportunities,” noted Vian, underscoring how it’s not in the company’s intentions to be distracted from Oakley’s core business. “Oakley [represents] a sporty lifestyle, so it has to be supported by other products, as well,” he concluded.

Among these, Vian highlighted the brand’s first ski helmet, conceived to complement Oakley’s goggles. “In addition to fitting features and a quick release element, one of the most peculiar things is a seal [on the front] which is interchangeable with the goggles,” Vian explained. “So the idea is to sell a kit, based on the goggles you buy, you can change the seal, too,” he added, stressing how the helmet’s aerodynamics are studied to bring the air out and help the anti-fog functions of the goggles.

Retailing at 210 euros, or $235 at current exchange, the item is available at the store in black or white, but will be produced in a wider range of colors as well. “It’s an experiment and commercial success that makes us think to keep going in the helmets world,” explained Vian.

He also presented Radar Pace, the innovative eyewear style with a real-time voice-activated coaching system, developed by Oakley and Intel.

Digital communication is spotlighted in the flagship: a screen wall dominates the interior, broadcasting images of athletes and the brand’s milestone moments, along with the design and technological features of the products.

According to Vian, the digital potential of the store will be further exploited in the future. “The next step is to test here some digital, interactive windows, or better, sales assistants,” he revealed, adding that the idea is to replicate the same product customization approach available on oakley.com.

Other interior elements include a geometric black platform, which stands out at the center of the flagship to enclose the cashier and showcase limited-edition products, like a racing bike designed for Oakley by Italian cycling company Pinarello. External wall claddings in Viroc, a material that combines pine wood and cement, complete the store’s design.

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