EMPORIO GOES TO SOHO

Byline: Janet Ozzard

NEW YORK — Giorgio Armani has staked another claim in SoHo, with the Thursday opening of a 3,000-square-foot Emporio Armani at 410 West Broadway on the corner of Spring Street in SoHo.
It’s the third Emporio in Manhattan, and the 10th in the U.S. At 3,000 square feet, it’s almost 10,000 square feet smaller than the five-year-old Madison Avenue Emporio, and although it contains a full run of the women’s and men’s apparel and accessories, including watches, eyewear and fragrance, the merchandise has been picked with a distinctly downtown eye.
The collection’s fashion side is being played up, so that items like a men’s purple leather jacket or a sleeveless tank top with subtle glitter are shown adjacent to the bread-and-butter pieces, like suits priced around $798. On the women’s side of the store are orange chiffon separates and leather jeans, but there are also knit tops and suits, priced around $698. Emporio’s denim collection is priced from $68 to $398 with jeans coming in anywhere from $118 to $278.
The store was designed by Armani in collaboration with Manhattan architecture firm Janson Goldstein LLP, which is also working on the Armani Casa store being opened this fall on Greene Street as well as some other Emporio stores. Janson Goldstein has also worked on stores for Donna Karan and designed the acclaimed Los Angeles apparel store KBond.
“Mr. Armani wanted something very new, fresh and unique,” said Marc Janson, a partner in the architecture firm. “Our first question was, how can we be modern without being like all the other modern stores?” That meant staying away from the cliches of minimalism, like excessive amounts of limestone, wenge wood or glass fixtures. Instead, the team developed a gray palette that mixed high and low materials; walls of sandblasted concrete block contrast with sleek granite on the floors, pillars are encased in sandblasted translucent acrylic and fixtures are made from smooth “satin” finished stainless steel and rougher cast plaster tables. Keeping the characteristics of the neighborhood was key, said Janson.
Although Armani can pull in the big names when he wants to — Eric Clapton, the Fugees, etc. — the company went for a soft opening supported by plenty of local ads in weekly news magazines, on taxi tops and posted throughout the city.
Meanwhile, the uptown Emporio is getting a facelift. To make the store more intimate, two of the five floors have been closed and the interior is going to be tweaked. Janson Goldstein is working on that project as well.

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