NEW YORK — Looks like there’s no slowing down of retail real estate activity on Madison Avenue (and its adjacent streets) as several top brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Chopard expand and renovate flagships while smaller specialty shops settle into well-noticed niches.
Over the past month, WWD reported that Dolce & Gabbana will be closing its 8,000-square-foot flagship at 825 Madison Avenue on Jan. 19 for a six-month expansion and renovation. When the site reopens this summer, it will be as two stores, one for men and the other for women. There will be 13,000 square feet of selling space.
The designer brand said it will be opening a temporary women’s store at 1055 Madison Avenue, near 80th Street. A temporary men’s store, at 755 Madison Avenue, near 65th Street, has been open since October.
Meanwhile, Chopard is revamping its retail presence with the addition of a 3,000-square-foot flagship at 709 Madison Avenue. It will be designed by International Hall of Fame designer Thierry W. Despont. “We love our existing boutique [at 725 Madison Avenue]. It’s a beautiful little jewelry box,” at 900 square feet, Marc Hruschka, Chopard’s U.S. president and chief executive officer, told WWD. “But we’ve been outgrowing that space for some time. We really wanted to establish a retail flagship in New York City….We really like Madison Avenue, we’ve had a lot of success there.”
On the Upper East Side, two new stores recently opened that focus on offering finely tuned merchandise with a “singular vision.” Roberta Roller Rabbit, at 1019 Lexington Avenue, is devoted to apparel and linens made from Indian block print fabrics designed by the store’s owner, Roberta Freymann. At House of Mai at 27 East 67th Street near Madison Avenue, Suzan Azuma sells nothing but cashmere – sweaters, scarves and blankets – in a compact 700-square-foot store.
Both women are actively involved in designing, sourcing and manufacturing their products. Freymann does research at libraries and museums before creating the delicate floral and animal patterns for her block prints.
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