The Latest openings from Piaget, Moncler, Façonnable, MM6 & Bentley, in Abu Dhabi, Los Angeles, Miami, Chile, New York City & Milan.
The past twelve months in the luxury retail space, there has been much ado about London. The promise of the 2012 Olympic Games – estimated to draw up to 6 million tourists to the UK capital – saw luxury hotel and retail brands scramble to finalise concept stores and penthouse suites on schedule, in a bid to capitalise on what was widely expected to be a massive economic opportunity.
Though there are as many conflicting reports as there were competing athletes, the general consensus is that retail footfall was down in central London, as locals and tourists purposely avoided the area on the advice of its very own transport authority and Mayor, Boris Johnson.
Businessweek described the city as suffering from a “displacement effect,” as many locals chose to work from home and Middle Eastern tourists – typically big spenders over summer – avoided the city after warnings from transport authorities of travel congestion during the games.
“The regular local London customer has clearly fled the city,” explained Ed Burstell, managing director of Liberty, to WWD. “The tourist traffic has been sporadic. We are trading just slightly up to last year, and luckily we benefit from our location between Regent and Carnaby streets. But from what I see and hear, it’s a bloodbath around town.”
If a study released by a duo of New York University professors is to be believed, what London lost, New York gained, as tourist flocked to its hotels, museums and theatres. “Over the past two weeks, New York beat London in tourists-per-day by a score of 538,000 to 429,000,” explained Mitchell Moss and Carson Qing. “New York’s hotel occupancy was higher too, at 93 percent compared to London’s 80 percent”.
The only clear winner to emerge from London’s retail woes is seemingly Westfield Stratford City, located immediately adjacent to the Olympic Park. The mall became so busy during the games that the London Organising Committee closed the centre to non-ticket-holding members of the public on Fridays and Saturdays.
And though retailers are bemoaning the short-term effect the Olympics have had on sales, official sponsor Visa, has estimated the games will stimulate the British economy to the tune of £5.1bn, between now and 2015.
Literary publisher Assouline has launched its first ever Assouline Lounge in Seoul, Korea. The 350sqm space combines a café, bookstore and art gallery, with crimson walls detailed with calligraphy, a floor-to-ceiling Mondrian Book Wall and wooden tables topped with intricate library-related gift items such as horn magnifying glasses, carved leaf quill pens and crocodile letter openers.
Bellucci Napoli, New York City
Bellucci Napoli has unveiled a three-floor ‘palazzo’ on East 57th street, New York City. The bespoke tailor will offer custom services, fittings and suit creation all under one roof, as well as a VIP service area to host collection presentations, wine tastings and events. In the downstairs fitting room, clients can see shirts being made before their eyes by an artisan.
Bentley have chosen Milan as home to its 39th European dealership. The newest showroom spans 250sqm and includes a workshop and dealership lounge, from which customers can watch as their vehicles are being worked on. The new dealership is located at Via Ettore Ponti, Milan, central to the city’s business and cultural areas.
Swatch Group’s Breguet has also inaugurated its newest boutique in Milan, launching a major flagship store on the famed Via Montenapoleone. The 120sqm boutique spans two floors and features a full range of its luxury watches and high-end jewellery pieces. The second floor comprises an exhibition area, to showcase a virtual presentation of Brequet’s iconic timepieces.
Façonnable has launched two new boutiques in Santiago, Chile, within the Costanera Centre, a $300 million development consisting of four towering skyscrapers. The French brand joins Armani and Hugo boss in a new six-floor shopping mega-centre, with a 160sqm boutique alongside a smaller 31sqm space elsewhere in the mall.
Hublot has launched its second Shanghai location, on the prestigious Nanjing West Road. The boutique features a façade of black stone, leather furnishings, glass and metal fixtures and high-tech details. The opening is Hublot’s fourth boutique in China, joining four additional points of sale. The brand plans to have “15 outlets in China within a short time frame in order to take the Hublot presence to a new level.”
MM6, New York City
MM6 Maison Martin Margiela has opened its first freestanding store in today in New York’s West Village, in partnership with the Staff USA division of Staff International SpA. The 45sqm space will showcase the label’s signature “story of three” designs – pieces with high-function clasps that give separates up to three different ways to be worn.
Moncler, Los Angeles, Miami
Italian luxury fashion brand Moncler has recently inaugurated two new stores in the United States, in Los Angeles and Miami. Both stores have been designed by the architects Gilles & Boissier to integrate Moncler’s iconic “mountain” style with contemporary, metropolitan ideas. The L.A. boutique covers 110sqm and will house Moncler Gamme Rouge, Gamme Bleu, S and Grenoble collections.
Piaget, Abu Dhabi
Piaget is the latest luxury brand to open at the Avenue in Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi. The 156sqm space is the third new boutique worldwide to open with Piaget’s latest architectural concept, created by Christine Querlioz from Paris’ renowned Atelier Sasha. Contrasting materials in gloss and matte have been accented with theatrical lighting on exceptional pieces, whilst black and gold dressings reference the opulence of the Viennese Secession period.
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