As Altuzarra, the American luxury brand in which Kering has a stake, prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2019, the label is putting a growth strategy into place. Last month, Altuzarra soft-launched e-commerce, while a pop-up store is planned for February in New York. The store will open at 956 Madison Avenue in the space that formerly housed Tomas Maier, another brand owned by Kering before it revealed plans to shutter the business by the end of 2018 in tandem with Maier exiting his role at Bottega Veneta. E-commerce and the pop-up store are Altuzarra’s first foray into its own retail. With it will come a new handbag, the Play bag, to be sold exclusively through the brand’s own channels.
Joseph Altuzarra launched his collection in 2008, around the same time the stock market crashed, yet found editorial and retail support almost instantly. The son of a French father and Chinese-American mother, Altuzarra’s childhood in Paris has informed his collection’s aesthetic as much as his adulthood in New York has. His clothes bear a mix of French sophistication and American sportswear that has earned industry accolades and attention from the luxury conglomerates. Kering acquired a minority interest in the Altuzarra brand in 2013, providing resources for infrastructure and expertise in luxury ready-to-wear and accessories development, while the company remained independent and controlled by Joseph Altuzarra and his family.
Unlike many of his designer peers who launched their businesses around the same time and established their own retail networks and e-commerce long ago, Altuzarra has taken a slow, careful approach to his retail imprint. It might prove prudent. Earlier this year, Kering divested from several of its smaller brands, including Christopher Kane and Stella McCartney, to focus on its stable of luxury monoliths, such as Gucci, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent.
While Altuzarra has been cautious in terms of retail expansion, the brand was among the American designers who were emboldened to leave New York Fashion Week in 2017 to show in Paris, and remains one of the few to continue showing there.