NEW YORK — Prada Eyewear has found a new home here.

This story first appeared in the April 29, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Sunglass Hut in Rockefeller Center has been remade temporarily as the first Prada Eyewear Concept Store. The shop, which opened Tuesday and runs through May 5, features special Prada displays, windows, flooring and signage that came directly from the firm’s Milan headquarters. The Concept Store will showcase Prada exclusively, including styles designed specifically for the store.

Sunglass Hut and Prada’s eyewear license are both owned and operated by Luxottica Group, the $7.65 billion licensing firm also based in Milan.

“We created this collaboration to give our customers a special shopping experience and to have fun,” said Jack Krause, general manager at Sunglass Hut. “The goal is to share what the Prada heritage means while allowing Sunglass Hut to be a curator for the brand and help show who they are and where they’re from. In today’s market, you have to create special shopping experiences for consumers.”

The Prada Eyewear Concept Store showcases the same black tiling, wall mountings and details found in Prada’s first store in Milan’s Galleria neighborhood. Historical elements seen on the eyewear include triangles that read “Milan 1913,” signifying the firm’s beginning.

“It’s the little details that directly relate to the founding of our brand,” said Matteo Sessa Vitali, licensing director at Prada. “We wanted to make it feel like a store within a store, like people are shopping at Prada.”

Since purchasing Sunglass Hut in 2001, Luxottica has been evolving the store concept from kiosk-type outlets found in airports to specialty, design-driven boutiques. All 1,905 Sunglass Huts around the world are incorporating a new logo and store design concept.

“The long-term strategy for Sunglass Hut is to be a curator of cool and an authority of hip eyewear,” Krause said. “This is one more step in our evolution as a brand. With Prada, we get to teach consumers about eyewear through the context of Prada, and it’s important for both brands to create these experiences right now.”

Krause said the two firms will continue to collaborate, but that New York is the only location operating the special concept store. He declined comment on whether Sunglass Hut will continue to play host to additional brands carried at the store.

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