Sandro is bringing a touch of Paris to 117 Prince Street, where it will open a U.S. flagship on Sept. 13.
The store’s sales area is 2,683 square feet, making the location one of the largest global flagships for the brand.
“It’s going to be a window for our family,” said Evelyne Chetrite, founder and artistic director of Sandro, through a translator. “We consider ourselves to be a family. The store will feature all our values and taste. It’s really important to be in New York. The Chetrite family is really attached to this city, and we’re really putting a lot of effort into making it a showcase.”
A co-ed store, 60 percent of the offerings will be Sandro’s women’s apparel, and 40 percent men’s wear.
Evelyne and her son, Ilan Chetrite, founder and artistic director of Sandro Homme, are very interested in modern art and hand-picked an artist to create a large collage of pieces of crepe de chine, taffeta and silk satin that focuses on color, texture and shapes. The custom piece is by Brazilian artist Julia Brandão and will be prominently featured at the entrance of the store. Inside will stand a central column wrapped with a ceramic tile design imagined in collaboration with Marianne Smink, who is known for her contemporary creations with a vintage twist.
There will also be a capsule collection exclusive to the New York flagship that will include a selection of ceramics from Atelier Buffile, which is a favorite of Evelyne, as well as T-shirts that will feature a similar motif.
It was important for Evelyne that her fashion could mix with artists and other modes of expression.
“The real competition today is with digital,” said Evelyne. ”The question is how to make the in-store experience valuable and different and worth it, because it’s an effort for the customers to go to the stores. We spent a lot of time, effort and money in training our staff. Each and every one of them represents the company directly. The selection is the first step, and the training is step two,” she said.
“We wanted to bring a little bit of France to SoHo,” said Ilan Chetrite. In addition to having a local artist design murals on the wall with color, they brought furnishings from French designers. “It’s a typical Sandro store frame, but inside there’s vintage furniture, ceramics and things we’ve brought from southern France,” he said. There will also be new furniture. “It’s all about the energy inside, and I hope the customer will like it,” he said.
Low furniture made of stone, stucco and travertine will be peppered throughout the space, punctuated by clothing racks. In the women’s accessories section, an off-white sofa offers clients a place to relax.
Sandro is part of the SMCP Group, of which the China-based Shandong Ruyi Group holds a majority stake. Besides Sandro, SMCP’s brands include Maje and Claudie Pierlot. SMCP is also in exclusive negotiations to acquire men’s wear label De Fursac.
Other Sandro stores in New York are at 415 Bleecker Street (men’s and women’s), 986 Madison Avenue (men’s and women’s), and 181 Columbus Avenue (women’s only).
As of Aug. 1, there are 17 freestanding Sandro stores in the U.S., as well as four freestanding stores in Canada. Among the new store openings planned for this year are Fashion Valley in San Diego, at the end of this month, and NorthPark in Dallas and The Grove in Los Angeles, scheduled for fall openings. In addition, the company’s South Coast Plaza store will be relocated and expanded later in the fall.
Sandro’s key markets are U.S., France, Europe and Asia, said Evelyne Chetrite. The company declined to reveal anticipated first-year sales at the Prince Street location.
Evelyne Chetrite described the Sandro Woman customer as “feminine, she works, she’s very chic and elegant and has good taste. She wants to be seen and be liked. She’s never ever vulgar. She’s modern,” she said.
Ilan Chetrite said the Sandro Man customer is hard to describe. “It’s always been very difficult to put our customer in frames. There is the urban, casual tailoring. I don’t believe in the categorization anymore. A brand could offer tailored pieces and casual jackets. Our customer doesn’t want boundaries.” But he said the collection is priced in “affordable luxury.”
“The American market has always been really important to Sandro, and specifically the city of New York is really important to my heart. It’s a beautiful city and it’s the capital of art and fashion in America.,” she said. She plans numerous collaborations, not necessarily with fashion designers but with other artists. She said she wants to make the store feel alive and will regularly change the collections and collaborations. “It’s not going to be frozen in time,” she said.
She noted that the Prince Street store may serve as a prototype for future stores. “It’s the new vision of what we’d like to create elsewhere.”
“Maybe we’ll reproduce it, but let’s be honest, this one is the gem,” she said. “We’ll see how that goes and maybe multiply.”