NEW YORK — Christiane Celle’s Calypso empire continues to grow. Celle plans in 2004 to add three units to her 12-store chain. The first will be a 2,200-square-foot store in the Meatpacking District, opening in March at 652 Hudson Street. Also in March, a 1,200-square-foot boutique will open at the Americana Manhasset in Manhasset, N.Y. A 1,200-square-foot Calypso unit will bow in September at the Bal Harbour Shops in Bal Harbour, Fla.
This story first appeared in the November 14, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Celle opened her first store in 1992 on the French Caribbean island of St. Barthelemy with an eclectic mix of beachwear, sarongs, fragrances and accessories. She subsequently sold the store and, in 1995, exported her relaxed notion of fashion to Newtown Lane in East Hampton, N.Y.
While the chain, which does a total of $25 million annually, is associated with warm weather — peasant skirts and embroidered silk scarves — the product offering has grown to include fall apparel, like six-ply cashmere sweaters and wool skirts. Celle designs most of the store collections with the help of Joelle Klein.
Since the first East Hampton store opened, a second has sprung up on Main Street and another opened on Jobs Lane in Southampton.
Celle colonized Broome Street in SoHo, with a Calypso children’s store at No. 426, a women’s store at 424 and a men’s store at 405. She opened an outpost on Madison Avenue and 74th Street in 1999. A jewelry store opened on 225 Mott Street in 2002, joining a women’s boutique at 280 Mott that bowed in 1996. Her other stores are in West Hollywood, Chicago and Boston.
The Meatpacking unit will be geared to a younger customer with an edgier sense of style, Celle said. Only about 20 percent of the merchandise will be Celle’s own Calypso designs. The balance will come from such designers as Thereza Santos, whom Celle describes as a “Brazilian Azzedine Alaïa,” and Juliet Dunn, who worked for Ossie Clark. There also will be fashion from Debbie Little, Caftan Buda and Zandra Rhodes; shoes by Emma Hope, and handbags by Susannah Hunter.
While Celle believes there’s room for still more Calypsos, she has her limits.
“Once I have 30 stores, I think I will have enough,” she said.