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South Coast Plaza today counts more than 250 stores and restaurants spread across 128 acres. While retailers have come and gone, the common thread linking the center over the past 50 years has been and remains luxury and exclusivity.

This story first appeared in the March 22, 2017 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

March 15, 1967
• The 70-store South Coast Plaza opens, with May Co. and Sears serving as anchors.

• The center’s first expansion houses a new wing with Bullock’s and adds 60 stores.

• Luxury comes to South Coast Plaza with Courrèges.

• Halston and Mark Cross join South Coast Plaza as the center debuts a Concierge Program.

• I. Magnin arrives.

• Nordstrom expands for the first time outside the Pacific Northwest with a door at South Coast Plaza.

• The South Coast Repertory, built on land donated by the Segerstrom family, opens across from the center.

• Saks Fifth Avenue opens.

• Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche arrives.

• Another center expansion adds 60 stores.
• Nordstrom expands to 235,000 square feet.
• The Orange County Performing Arts Center — later renamed the Segerstrom Center for the Arts — built on land donated by the Segerstroms, opens across from South Coast Plaza.

• Tiffany & Co. brings its first Orange County location to South Coast.

• South Coast participates in a tourism outreach program in collaboration with California and Japan.
• Two million Coca-Cola cans distributed throughout the state bear the South Coast Plaza logo.

• Hermès opens its only Orange County location.

• Crate & Barrel Home opens.
• The country’s first Macy’s Home Furniture Store opens.
• The Bridge of Gardens and Garden Terrace, designed by landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson, connects the center’s two wings.

• South Coast Plaza marks 35 with annual sales exceeding $1 billion.

• Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall opens at the Orange County Performing Arts Center and hosts the North American premiere of Richard Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen” (“The Ring Cycle”) by the Kirov Opera.
• A $35 million renovation brings new travertine flooring, teak seating and two glass elevators to the center.

• Bloomingdale’s bows a 300,000-square-foot Southern California flagship.

• A new luxury level, called The Penthouse, opens with Christian Louboutin, Oscar de la Renta, Marché Moderne and Canali.

• Balenciaga, Rolex, Harry Winston and Piaget arrive.

• Louis Vuitton’s private VIP atelier opens.

• Cartier’s expansion to nearly 6,000 square feet makes the South Coast door its second-largest U.S. boutique.

• Diane von Furstenberg opens.

• The first West Coast flagship for Roger Vivier opens.

• Vacheron Constantin, IWC Schaffhausen and Jaeger-LeCoultre join South Coast.

• The center notches $1.5 billion in annual sales.

• Brioni opens its first Orange County location.

• The first West Coast boutique for Berluti bows.

• Diptyque’s Southern California store opens.


• Famed dumpling house Din Tai Fung arrives.

• Uniqlo, Sandro and Maje join South Coast Plaza.

• New Orange County flagships bow for Williams-Sonoma and Williams-Sonoma Home.


• Chanel expands and reopens with a boutique designed by Peter Marino.

• Charlotte Olympia, Céline and Moncler bow exclusive Orange County locations.

• A. Lange & Söhne and Massimo Dutti open their first West Coast stores.

• Ralph Lauren remodels.

• Dolce & Gabbana opens.


• & Other Stories and The Webster tap South Coast for their first West Coast stores.

• Water Grill expands to Orange County.

• Weekend Max Mara opens its first North America store.

• Les Parfums Louis Vuitton debuts as the company’s first fragrance pop-up in the U.S.

• Vaca, by “Top Chef” finalist Amar Santana, debuts.


• Dior Homme opens.

• Stella McCartney, Gianvito Rossi and Aquazzura prepare for openings.

• Gucci reopens with a new look.


SOUTH COAST PLAZA’S SECRET SAUCE: The shopping center makes it seem all too easy as the broader retail industry struggles under shifting tides.

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