WATHNE OPENS 2ND U.S. UNIT IN LOS ANGELES
Byline: Sarah Goldsmith
LOS ANGELES — Wathne, the upscale retailer and catalog with a sporty image, opened its second U.S. store, a 2,500-square-foot shop on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, on Sept. 26.
Wathne’s first U.S. boutique, on West 57th Street in New York, opened in 1993. Wathne recently opened in Tokyo’s Ginza and has two additional locations in Japan.
The company, privately owned by the Icelandic-born Wathne family, is run by three sisters: Thorunn, Berge and Soffia.
They declined to discuss volume projections for the store.
Soffia Wathne, an owner of the company, described the store as “distinguished, but fun.”
Wathne apparel is based on the sisters’ passion for outdoor life and is known for high quality.
“We get all our fabrics from Italy and France and our tweeds from Scotland and England,” said Joel Lasher, a Wathne designer.
The store, at 8710 Sunset Boulevard, is next to A/X Armani Exchange and near several outdoor cafes. It was designed by Stephen Siegel and the Wathne sisters to look like a European ski lodge. There is a hand-carved limestone fireplace and antlers on chandeliers. The store has pristine white walls, limestone floors, chairs covered in zebra skin, fruitwood cases and a small garden area.
Last Tuesday, the Wathnes hosted a cocktail party to mark the opening of the store. Guests ogled the store’s showcase wall of fly fishing paraphernalia before moving on to Le Dome, a restaurant on Sunset Boulevard, for hors d’oeuvres.
Asked how the preppy and conservative treed jackets will play in hip L.A., Ron Senkirk, Wathne’s president, said Wathne’s customer is international and has an appreciation for luxury merchandise.
Prices in the store range from $98 for hand-stitched leather gloves to $2,500 for a lambskin coat trimmed with sheared beaver.
Popular items include long-sleeved cashmere sweaters for $990 and silk scarves for $125.
According to Senkirk, the company settled on the Sunset Plaza location, which draws a mix of tourists and locals, when they couldn’t find the space they wanted on Rodeo Drive.
“We felt that this area was really growing,” said Senkirk, “We feel California is going to be a wonderful market for us.
Senkirk said Wathne is planning to open stores in San Francisco, Chicago, Aspen and Las Vegas.