A MOVE IN QATAR: Hermès has moved to Place Vendôme — the luxury shopping destination in the Qatari capital Doha.
After 13 years at The Pearl, the French luxury house has found a new home on the ground floor of this new shopping destination, which opened last April in the northern Lusail district that is also home to one of the stadiums where matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be held.
At 6,500 square feet, the Place Vendôme unit is more than double the size of its 2,500-square-foot predecessor and has been designed by Parisian architectural practice RDAI, which drew inspiration from the parallels between local landscape and artisanal crafts.
Its facade nods to wind-carved stone formations found in the north of Qatar, while the undulating lines of the ceilings evoke sand dunes in a nearby inland sea. The succession of salons and spaces are delineated by the use of hand-laid inserts inspired by rock carvings found in the northeastern Al-Jassasiya site.
The store also makes ample use of double-height windows that bring natural light into its spaces, while a private exterior garden is host to a life-sized blue horse sculpture by French artisan Assan Smati.
Other artworks dotted throughout the store include items drawn from the Emile Hermès Collection and repurposed works created by the late Tunisian designer Leila Menchari, who designed memorable tableaux for the house’s windows from 1978 to 2013.
On offer will be the house’s 16 métiers: its silk, equestrian products, women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, home goods, watches, jewelry, and beauty. VIP salons are attached to each department and will offer bespoke services.
To mark the opening American artist duo Chiaozza, composed of Adam Frezza and Terri Chiao, was commissioned to create a surrealist painted sculptural jungle for the windows, while exclusive objects include a made-to-measure foosball table and a burgundy-and-white soccer ball.
Including this new location in Qatar, Hermès currently has six stores in the Middle East, with three in the United Arab Emirates, one in Kuwait, and another in Bahrain. Two additional stores, dedicated to its perfume business are located in Saudi Arabia and Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates. — LILY TEMPLETON
The dedicated consumer-facing page debuting Tuesday chronicles the couture house’s green transition, detailing its social and environmental projects and initiatives and engaging in conversation with its clients.
Focused on three pillars — people, planet and product — the new page tackles subjects including artisanship, employee value, inclusive working environment, scholarships and mentorship initiatives, technology-enabled manufacturing, the new conscious concept of luxury and more.
The section dedicated to the luxury brand’s environmental progresses details its evolution toward a business and manufacturing model mindful of carbon footprint and environmental impact.
In tandem with the web page launch, the company has revealed it is forging ties with Karma Metrix, an Italy-based company that is part of the AvantGrade.com search marketing and AI specialist, to extend its eco-commitment to its web and digital operations, assessing its digital sustainability.
The move reflects Valentino’s commitment to strengthen its digital capabilities. The company has recently internalized operations for its U.S. e-commerce site, after doing a similar action in Japan earlier this year, and more geographies are expected to transition throughout 2022. The initiative is viewed as instrumental to furthering the brand’s aim to develop a customer-centric approach.
Marking the launch of the “Creating Shared Value” page, Valentino conscripted Edinburgh-born Ainslie Henderson, founder of the Amphibian Husbandry studio and a former recipient of a BAFTA award, to conceive a stop-motion video campaign that shows a green thread of organic cotton spun in the Netherlands weaving drawings of planet Earth, the brand’s logo and several people on a recycled cotton canvas.
“The stop-motion piece I created in response to Valentino’s three pillars [people, planet and product] is made from hand-sewn frames on tiny pieces of organic, recycled cotton. Through the movement of flowing thread that weaves throughout the images, the piece attempts to communicate that everything is connected, that all our actions have consequences, and that to overcome the huge environmental challenges faced by the textile industry, joined-up thinking is required,” said Henderson.
Among its most recent sustainable-inclined actions, Valentino committed to going fur-free starting from 2022 and alpaca-free starting with the spring 2022 season; introduced a vintage project tapping into the resale market and the circular fashion economy; pledged to work with environmentally friendly viscose suppliers for 70 percent of its production; unveiled the Open for a Change sneaker for men and women made with recycled elements, and joined the Sustainable Aviation Fuel corporate program promoted by Air France and KLM to curb its business trips’ carbon footprint.
Back in 2013 the company joined the Greenpeace Detox Solution Commitment in a mission to eliminate all dangerous chemicals from its supply chain and signed onto Zero Deforestation Commitment projects to help protect life-giving waterways and rainforests. — MARTINO CARRERA
MACY’S WINNER: The Workshop at Macy’s, which returned this year with 25 new entrepreneurs and a five-week program, introduced a Vendor Pitch Competition for participants to present their product, business opportunity and funding proposal. This year’s winner was Black Paper Party, which will receive a $100,000 business grant, a partnership with Macy’s sourcing team, buy now, pay later services from Klarna and marketing support from Spark Foundry, among other prizes.
Additionally, upon completion of the five-week program, every participant will receive a $5,000 business grant.
Black Paper Party is an Arkansas-based, Black women-owned business that makes gifting products and nods to the African diaspora. Cofounded by chief executive officer Madia Willis, the company combines award-winning illustrations of Black people with trend-relevant prints and patterns. The two other founders are J’Aaron Merchant, chief product designer, and Jasmine Hudson.
First runner-up is Absolute Joi, a Washington, D.C., Black and woman-owned inclusive beauty brand created by a doctor, Anne Beal, which has won a $10,000 business grant, sourcing consultation with Macy’s, a marketing consultation with Spark Foundry and one-year buy now, pay later services from Klarna.
Second runner-up is True Moringa, a Massachusetts-based skin care line founded by Emily Cunningham and Kwami Williams. The women and Black-owned company makes oil and skin care products derived from the unused part of the moringa tree. The company also won a $10,000 business grant, a marketing consultation with Spark Foundry and a one-year buy now, pay later services from Klarna.
The 2022 class featured 25 brands across a variety of retail categories including beauty, home, accessories, womenswear and menswear.
In the 11 years since its inception, several alumni of The Workshop at Macy’s successfully launched product lines in select Macy’s stores and on macys.com. The Workshop at Macy’s is the retail industry’s longest running retail development program for underrepresented brands.
The program, designed by a consortium of experts from Macy’s and Babson College is aimed at diverse and women-owned retail businesses. Since 2011, The Workshop at Macy’s has helped support and grow more than 175 small businesses. — LISA LOCKWOOD
THE HAMPTONS RUSH: Maje has found a novel way to introduce its Summer Paradise capsule collection. The French contemporary women’s label is partnering with Surf Lodge in Montauk, New York, on a pop-up that will be open from Wednesday to June 5 at the trendy hotel and party spot.
The shop is intended to offer a taste of the capsule that was imagined on a beach and offers colorful summer pieces that reflect a laid-back mood. There’s also a pool table outside that features similar patterns to those found on the clothing and accessories. The line retails for an average of $275 for the accessories and $325 for the ready-to-wear.
Paul Griffin, chief executive officer of Maje North America, said, “We wanted to partner with a brand that understood our vision and would help us to execute it and they were equally excited to partner as part of their summer pop-up series.”
The shop is only the second pop-up that Maje has ever opened. The first was also in Montauk, at Gurney’s, another Hamptons hot spot, which celebrated the brand’s M bag. But that was back in 2016.
“Now we’re bringing the brand back to Montauk,” he said. “Surf Lodge is an iconic location and there are great synergies between them and our capsule. And the vibe out there is perfect.”
Although Griffin hopes that the shop will result in strong sales, he said the primary reason for partnering with Surf Lodge is to build awareness for the Maje brand and the Summer Paradise collection. “It’s an opportunity to get in front of the unique clientele in the Montauk area. We have no points of distribution there so we’re interested to see how it resonates in this market.”
Maje does operate 18 freestanding stores, 35 in-store shops and five outlets in the U.S. and sells in top retailers including Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom. He said the U.S. represents about 30 percent of the brand’s business and is “a very important market for us.”
“This season, we just launched a rental platform, Maje Forward, and I imagine we will build a resale platform next year as part of our sustainability efforts,” Griffin said.
But for now, the focus is on the Maje x Surf Lodge pop-up.
As part of the plan for the event, Griffin said the company will be hosting a “talent weekend” for 10 influencers and editors from the U.S., and four from Paris who will be staying at the Surf Lodge and invited to an intimate dinner on June 4 to celebrate the capsule.
“Big brand moments like this have a meaningful impact on global brand awareness,” Griffin said.
Maje is part of SMCP, which is also the parent of Sandro, Claudie Pierlot and De Fursac. — JEAN E. PALMIERI