NEW YORK — With a new store and showroom at 785 Madison Avenue here, Fogal is showcasing how its world has evolved beyond the luxury legwear it’s known for.
The interior’s upholstered leather walls, metal ceiling filigree pattern of connected “F” letters and, most importantly, the front and center display of clothes is indicative of how the Zurich-based brand is looking to grow over the next five years. At the 2,100-square-foot space, of which 1,250 square feet are used for selling, there is an extensive legwear assortment but also ample space for ready-to-wear, including a capsule collection, designed in collaboration with Clare Tough, that features looks such as a knitted smoking jacket with a silk lapel and matching silk trousers, and a sweater with silk cuff details.
“We wanted to create an elegant environment, which is understated and still speaks to cultivated luxury,” said Fogal chief executive officer Christine Blumör, at the boutique on Monday morning. “We also needed more space for our ready-to-wear.”
She said rtw currently accounts for 30 to 35 percent of the company’s overall business, with plans for it to eventually make up for half of the Swiss house’s sales.
The new Madison Avenue store, which quietly opened two weeks ago, will be celebrated tonight with a party co-hosted by Blumör and New York socialite Lauren Remington Platt, and music by DJ Harley Viera-Newton. As part of the event, Fogal made an undisclosed contribution to Hartley House, the social services venue in Hell’s Kitchen founded by Remington Platt’s great-great grandfather, Marcellus Hartley, in 1897.
The house has been pursuing an expansion strategy since Gaydoul Group bought the brand for an undisclosed sum in 2009. Since then, it opened or redesigned seven stores in Lausanne, Switzerland; Hong Kong, Paris, Bern, Zurich, Toronto and now New York, and added e-commerce along the way. Next year, a 700-square-foot boutique will open at 155 Spring Street in SoHo, along with additional shops in Vancouver, Munich, Frankfurt and Macau. Blümor is also looking at Miami, Southern California, Houston and Atlanta for openings after that.
By 2015, the company projects to have 100 freestanding stores worldwide, half of which are expected to be directly owned and operated, with additional plans to step up its wholesale worldwide from 155 doors to about 200 by the end of next year. Another part of Blumör’s plan is to build the firm’s wholesale business with more shop-in-shops rather than just traditional hosiery or innerwear departments. “It’s important to present the concept in its entirety,” she said. “In most countries we are still known for legwear.”