CALVIN SETS PARIS FLAGSHIP
Byline: Eric Wilson
NEW YORK — Calvin Klein Inc. is taking several steps to expand its company-owned retail network, while also developing its recently reacquired European collection business.
The firm has set the opening of its first company-owned store in Europe with a flagship at 53 Avenue Montaigne in Paris on June 20, replacing the franchised Calvin Klein Collection store that closed on the same street in 2000. The Paris store will be Klein’s third nonfranchised store worldwide, joining the New York flagship on Madison Avenue and its oldest location near Dallas, which is coincidentally moving within the Highland Park Village shopping development on June 1 to a space that is twice as large as its existing location.
Calvin Klein Inc. on Wednesday also named Maria Paola Cervi Ciboldi as commercial director for Calvin Klein Europe, reflecting its recent moves to take its men’s and women’s collections in-house. Cervi Ciboldi is Klein’s second hire within the past month from Gucci, where she was assistant to the president for worldwide operations, coming on the heels of the appointment of Francisco Costa as a design director on the women’s collection.
Both the Paris and Dallas retail developments reflect CKI’s efforts to incorporate the breadth of its collection offerings — women’s, men’s, accessories, jeans and home — in one location.
Klein had opened a 6,000-square-foot flagship in Paris in May 1997 on Avenue Montaigne and a men’s store across the street in 1999, both through a license with Alain Adjadj, who operates a number of designer stores in France and the U.K. Adjadj and Klein had disputes over the stores’ performance, ultimately leading to the end of that relationship and the designer’s decision to open his own store a few doors down in a location that was a private apartment.
The 5,800-square-foot space at 53 Avenue Montaigne will be located on two levels of a 19th-century Haussmanian building with three windows at street level. John Pawson, who designed Klein’s Madison Avenue flagship, has also designed the Paris store with pure white walls and Yorkshire sandstone floors, maintaining its original facade and garden to remain in harmony with Avenue Montaigne’s historic streetscape.
The designer said in a statement that the new store “lets us offer for the first time in Europe our complete collections under one roof.” He said: “The store will be our flagship not only for Paris but for all of Europe.”
Meanwhile, in the affluent Dallas suburb of Highland Park, the company is moving from the 44 Highland Park Village location it opened in 1990 to a larger, 4,800-square-foot space at 100 Highland Park Village on June 1. That space, which neighbors a large Prada boutique, was occupied by Ultimo, which closed its Dallas location. The smaller store, which was about about half the size of the new location, concentrated on the women’s collection, but the larger space will also be able to incorporate merchandise from the men’s and home collections in a manner more consistent with Klein’s stores in New York and Paris.
Bringing Cervi Ciboldi on board also is an indication of CKI’s strategy to take control of its wholesale operations in Europe, as she is being assigned responsibilities for direct day-to-day oversight of sales, distribution and customer service for Calvin Klein apparel and accessories throughout Europe and the Mideast. She will also be selectively involved in providing support to Klein’s other businesses and regions around the world, the company said. Cervi Ciboldi reports to Anthony Romano, managing director of Calvin Klein Europe, which is headquartered in Milan.
“Maria Paola is one of the top designer commercial directors in the world today,” Tom Murry, president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein, said in a statement. “Her background and experience are especially important to us as we now have both our men’s and women’s apparel collections in house.”
Prior to her role at Gucci she was commercial director for Giorgio Armani Borgonuovo.
In June, Calvin Klein bought back control of its signature women’s collection from the Mariella Burani Fashion Group, part of a significant corporate restructuring with a focus on improving the image of his signature line. It also broke a joint venture last year for CK sportswear in Europe that was held with Stefanel and, last week, Klein said he would sever ties with his longtime men’s collection licensee, GFT Net, since its parent company Holding di Partecipazioni Industriali is planning to exit the fashion business and focus on publishing.
GFT’s license for the U.S. collection and CK Calvin Klein business will be allowed to expire in June, and the license for the business outside the U.S. — which was to run through 2006 — will be terminated at the end of this year.