FOOT FETISH: French accessories and footwear brand Arche, which operates seven stores in the U.S., is opening a new shop today at 123 Wooster Street in New York’s SoHo, between Prince and Spring Streets.
The store, which has 900 square feet of selling space, is the first to feature the company’s new strategy, which aims at bringing in a younger customer. Designed by retail architects Kramer Design Group, it features pieces displayed by color on six color-illuminated rectangular fiberglass platforms. The white oak floors fold into benches against the walls, which feature some philosophical musings, such as: “From our sole to your sole” and “The simple things in life are often the best.”
Accessories — handbags and legwear — currently account for 15 percent of the mix, but plans are to increase that business to 40 percent, according to Martine Verbrugghen, vice president for the U.S. operations.
“This is a new baby,” she said. “[The concept] is where we have to be at this time because it’s modern and innovative.”
NEW SEIKO PRESIDENT: Toyoji Todaka was appointed president and chief executive officer of Seiko Corp. of America.
Todaka held a variety of positions at Seiko in marketing and sales, and most recently was responsible for licensed watch sales in Asia and Europe.
Seiko recently spun off its watch business to the newly formed Seiko Watch Corp., as part of its five-year decentralization strategy to increase overall profitability by treating each business separately with individual strategies.
Tsutomu Mitome, who previously was president of the Mahwah, N.J.-based company, is now president of the Tokyo-based Seiko Watch Corp.
NEW AT AIGNER: The Aigner Group has named Wendy Hessen vice president of licensing and marketing.
Hessen joins the company’s brand development committee, which handles long-term strategic initiatives. She reports to Michael Cangemi, president and chief operating officer, who said the appointment was in line with the firm’s plan to expand its licensing business.
Prior to her appointment, Hessen was accessories news editor at WWD.
THE WINNERS ARE: On Tuesday night, jewelry executives will gather at the Rainbow Room for the second annual Circle of Distinction dinner, which is organized by the American Gem Society and recognizes jewelry executives for their accomplishments and contributions.
Richard T. Liddicoat, the chairman of the Gemological Institute of America, will receive the AGS Lifetime Achievement Award. AGS Triple Zero Awards — signaling the highest grade a diamond can receive — are being given to: Helen Fortunoff, president of Fortunoff Fine Jewelry; Laurie Hudson, executive director of the Platinum Guild International; diamond cutter Gabi Tolkowsky; Kikuichiro Ishii, Mikimoto’s (America) president and chief executive officer; and Koichi Takahashi, Mikimoto’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
WATCH OUT: Italian eyewear manufacturer Safilo Group is opening its new sunwear showroom at 404 Fifth Avenue in New York on Aug. 7.
The 11,000-square-foot space features high ceilings, curved walls, a structure that displays product vignettes and a transparency illuminator to showcase visuals. The Livingston, N.J.-based architectural firm Rotwein & Blake handled the second floor space, with the aid of interior designer Jennifer Post.