Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Chan Luu, who has evolved into a multicategory brand over the last two decades, has opened a new concept store in Santa Monica Place.
The 925-square-foot boutique, Luu’s first in the U.S. since closing her Robertson Boulevard location nine years ago, represents a new retail focus for her brand, which she sold part of in 2014 to a Japanese investment group. Today, Luu provides the design vision for all products, from jewelry to apparel and home accessories, and runs all U.S. operations, while her partners in Japan run Asian operations, which include eight stores in Japan. The latest one opened in Ginza last week.
“For me, I wasn’t so interested in having stores,” said Luu, whose lines wholesale in several thousand doors across the U.S. and are also available via her Web site. “But my investors, who are very excited about retail, insisted.”
So Luu took her love of modern architecture and design (she owns modern homes in Pacific Palisades and Hawaii) and created a new concept shop that incorporated organic elements like light wood fixtures and a rope design with modern poured concrete floors.
“I like that this mall isn’t really like a ‘mall.’ It’s more eclectic and high-end; it has a small, cozy almost boutique feel,” she said of the Macerich-owned property, which counts fashion-focused Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s stores and Barneys New York as clients along with Tiffany, Burberry and Louis Vuitton.
In addition to her branded merchandise, which ranges from $20 to $2,500 retail, Luu added pieces from her personal collection, such as modern ceramics and carved ivory artifacts. Like her old Robertson store, which she says she closed “because I didn’t like the direction the street was going,” Luu tests out new designs from her four jewelry collections as well as her accessories. “I’m excited to get to do that again,” she said.
Next, she hopes to open a location at Los Angeles International Airport’s Tom Bradley International terminal and perhaps a New York store.
“Times are changing so much with all the fast fashion. I feel having a face in the market is very important for helping me grow the e-commerce business. People need to see the vision more.”