HUGO BOSS FLAGSHIP OPENS THIS WEEK
Byline: Stan Gellers / Annmarie Dodd
NEW YORK — Hugo Boss’s four-level, 22,000-square-foot flagship will open for business Tuesday with its schedule already heavily booked. Beyond the special mayoral ribbon cutting scheduled for Thursday — Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is a longtime fan of the brand — are another several weeks’ worth of parties and events.
Hugo Boss will host at least two major events and a series of small dinners over the next eight weeks to show off its store, which fuses lifestyle merchandising with European design and high-tech toys.
“We are working on the theory that just because you are serious, does not mean you have to be boring,” said Marty Staff, president of Hugo Boss USA. “With 325 distribution points in the United States, the brand is special here. This store is not about price, it is about Hugo Boss being special.”
The store’s first-year volume is projected at $650 per square foot, or $14 million.
Hugo Boss USA is coming off a record year with U.S. sales increasing 35 percent to $122 million from $77 million just two years ago. The financial plan for this year is $154 million; those numbers will include the Boss Women business, relaunched this spring. A 2,700-square-foot portion of the back store’s first floor will be devoted to Boss and Hugo women’s wear.
The new location has many of the signature touches of architect Helmut Pummer, who has done the Boss stores worldwide for the last 20 years. Those include soaring ceilings, brushed metal and beige marble, state-of-the art theatrical lighting and sound and natural-feeling minimalist furniture and fixtures. The total cost of the store is approaching $100 million, said Staff. The music cost $15 per square foot and the laser lighting cost $100 per square foot.
And to attract attention to the 60-foot display windows that look out on Fifth Avenue, Staff got celebrities Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburne, Will Smith, Julianna Margulies and L.L. Cool J to help design window installations for the opening. A mural created by artist Jeff Koons hangs on a 50-foot-wall over a staircase; the mural will later be cut up and sold at the store, with proceeds going to charity. Work from architect Frank Gehry will be featured in September.
There are high-tech elements throughout the store, including a 150-inch video wall on the main floor, an “internet bar” with two computers for customers and a VIP lounge with a state-of-the-art entertainment system from Bang & Olufsen.