NEW YORK — Glove is in the air at the Carlyle.
This story first appeared in the May 7, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
French leather goods brand Perrin Paris 1893, which has its origins in luxury leather gloves, quietly opened a boutique at the Carlyle Hotel last month. The 500-square-foot unit — at 987 Madison Avenue and 76th Street — is the second store in the U.S. for the brand after Beverly Hills, though it’s not the first time Perrin Paris 1893 has hit Manhattan.
“We had a store in New York on Fourth Avenue in the 1920s,” explained Michel Perrin, chief executive officer of the family-owned business. “New York is kind of a ‘déjà vu’ in the sense that we are coming back.”
The New York opening also serves as another step in the company’s retail expansion strategy. “The question then was, ‘Where do you have a store in the U.S. to really establish the brand and create the perception of being a luxury product?’,” Perrin said. Working with Paris architect Chahan Minassian, Perrin and his wife, Sally, the brand’s creative director, aimed to create an interior that is reminiscent of “the era in the 1940s, when a woman would go to a very special boutique to pick out her gloves,” Sally Perrin noted.
Inside, customers will find a selection of gloves, which range from $285 to $895, though there is also a large selection of other accessories. They include the Riva Ball bag, which reinterprets a traditional French basket; the Jet Set Travel Clutch organizer, and a selection of handmade sunglasses from France made with the same leathers used for the brand’s purses and clutches.
“I believe the history of the company should be respected, but never relied upon,” Sally Perrin said of her design philosophy. “We always want to keep in mind that the history is about gloves. We began with them, then expanded to handbags and now travel and sunglasses, all handmade in France.”
Industry sources say the Perrins have held meetings with a number of private equity firms about possibly taking a minority stake to help the brand expand. Asked about a possible investor, Michael Perrin replied, “We are potentially interested in doing a joint venture with an Asian partner to establish our brand in the Far East.”
The future vision includes more stores. “Today, we have three stores, and we expect to generate $1 million in revenue for each one,” Michel Perrin said. “We are looking to open a store in Hong Kong by the end of the year. I also looked at Florida as a possibility with Bal Harbour and Miami, and Dallas is also an interesting market. At the end of the day, it’s finding the right location.”