CALVIN KLEIN PLANS NEW STORE AS LUXE MODEL FOR FUTURE UNITS
Byline: JANET OZZARD
NEW YORK — “I’ve been looking for years and I hadn’t found a space that I could fall in love with, until now,” said Calvin Klein. “The square footage requirements alone were very large.”
Klein’s new store, on Madison Avenue at 60th Street, is scheduled to open next spring. Klein said he’d been negotiating for the space for over a year, working with Edward S. Gordon, a Manhattan realtor.
The building, originally a bank that was built in 1930, has 20-foot ceilings and double-height windows that “allow wonderful light into the store,” Klein said in an interview this week. “The space is very streamlined and very classical. It’s almost ethereal, but because it’s on the corner, it has presence.”
Klein said he is overseeing the plans for the interior design and decor and is working with John Pawson, a British-born architect who has designed residential and commercial properties.
“We are on the same wavelength in terms of appreciation of purity, minimalism and proportion,” Klein said. “He’s a natural for this.”
Asked if the store will be done in Klein’s characteristic muted palette of black, taupes and grays, the designer said: “No, no taupe. It’s not about color. It’s more about proportion.”
Klein said the store will have much in common with his latest in-store shop at Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship here, which is all white with black lettering. It opened this year.
“The whole philosophy is about modern luxury,” he said. “To me, that is luxury without ostentation and without fuss. Having high ceilings is a luxury; having a lot of natural light is a luxury.”
The store will carry Klein’s women’s and men’s collections, as well as accessories. It will also house the home collection, which is scheduled to debut in fall 1995.
Once completed, the store will set the tone for future retail expansion, Klein said.
The company has nine freestanding stores, five in the U.S. — in Palm Beach, Fla.; Dallas; Cleveland; Costa Mesa, Calif., and Boston — and one each in St. Moritz and Zurich, Switzerland; Singapore, and Barcelona. Klein said the company’s retail base is “definitely expanding, but New York will be the showcase.”
Klein said that the question of whether the store will infringe on neighboring department stores such as Barneys New York or Bloomingdale’s is “a non-issue.”
“I think stores all know by now that when a designer has a flagship in a city, it improves business,” he claimed. “Department stores ultimately benefit from a strong Calvin Klein presence, because they see how it should be done, how it should be merchandised.”
Part of the store design will be separate access to the various departments.
“Men’s is going to have its own store, in a sense, with its own elevator,” Klein said. “That way, men don’t have to go through the women’s store. Home will be separate as well. You should be able to go directly to the home area, if that’s what you want.”
The retail management is already in place, Klein said, headed by Rick Rector, his corporate president of retail.
“Of course, Gabriella Forte has overseen the development of a lot of stores in her career,” Klein added, referring to the incoming president of the company. “She will have her input. I feel we’ve got the whole infrastructure in place.”
Klein wouldn’t make any volume projections for the store, saying, “We are a private company, and we’re not going to make those figures known, but we have pretty high standards, and we set high goals. This store is not going to be just an image piece. It is going to make money.”