LONDON — Now men have their own Dolce & Gabbana temple here.
The Italian designer duo opened their first stand-alone men’s wear store in London in late August and will fête the boutique during London Fashion Week here Tuesday. The opening underscores the group’s global retail expansion plans.
The 2,200-square-foot space, housed in a handsome stone building on the corner of Sloane and Basil streets in Knightsbridge, has walls lined with clear and smoky glass mirrors, endlessly reflecting the store’s chrome and lacquered-wood fittings.
The unit, which cost 2.7 million euros, or $3.8 million at current exchange rate, is the ninth stand-alone men’s store and joins 29 monobrand points of sale for men worldwide. Two additional directly operated stores will bow in Kuwait City and Bahrain next year. Dolce & Gabbana’s men’s wear accounts for 46 percent of the company’s sales.
“Both from a business and cultural point of view, London is one of the most important cities in the world,” said a Dolce & Gabbana spokeswoman, adding that the U.K. is forecast to generate 5 percent of revenues this year, up 11 percent from 2007. “It is the place where all trends start.” Dolce & Gabbana estimates 2008 consolidated revenue to increase 21 percent to 1.266 billion euros, or $1.786 billion.
The new London unit, which stands just across the road from Harvey Nichols and near Joseph, Gucci and Louis Vuitton, offers Dolce & Gabbana’s entire men’s wear collection. The first floor carries casual pieces, such as shelves full of jeans and aviator sunglasses, while the basement level carries formalwear and footwear.
The lower level has a few tucked-away corners that stand off the main space, such as a footwear area with black velvet carpets and velvet seats, where customers can try on the shiny leather brogues and loafers lined up on mirrored shelves. A spotlit suit area showcases a wall of crisp, folded shirts, while the label’s silk and gray wool suits hang from chrome rails. In addition, the store offers a personal shopping service.
The label has used plenty of natural materials in the store’s decor, such slate gray basaltine stone floors, made from the molten rock found in Mediterranean Italy, and shiny cabinets made from panels of lacquered and black varnished wood.
Meanwhile, sheets of silver chains hang in the store’s windows in lieu of curtains. To soften the masculine feel, there are also a few ornate design touches—a black ink glass chandelier hangs over the store’s entrance and black varnished Rococo armchairs are dotted about the space.