The Jewel Of The West Side:
I have big fashion news from the big apple in NYC. Hudson Yards is now open. And what’s more interesting is that you won’t need a compass to set you on the right path to get there. It is fashion north to follow. A luxury destination never seen before in my beloved NYC. If you happen to be a traditionalist, I can assure you that Hudson Yards will not be a destination point for you. In a word, it is a momentous luxury development equipped to fulfill your shopping and dining finest desires. I personally, believe in modernity and the greatness of the future ahead of us. Moreover, if you ask any New Yorker, I am sure as a day is long that they will inform you that this newly designed building development is celebratory and magnificent -in comparison to what stood there before.
Yesterday evening, New York City got a sneak peek of The Shops Restaurants at Hudson Yards with a celebratory bash. Guests including Andy Cohen, Anne Hathaway, Alina Cho, Billy Porter, Diane von Furstenberg, Karlie Kloss and Lin-Manuel Miranda. They received a sneak peek at New York’s most anticipated shopping and dining destination before the official Grand Opening today Friday, March 15th. Guests shopped first-to-New York and next-generation retail concepts from top global fashion brands and got a first-taste of new culinary concepts from world- class chefs and restauranteurs including Thomas Keller, José Andrés, David Chang, Eunjo Park, Michael Lomonaco, Anya Fernald, Costas Spiliadis, DD London, rhubarb and more. The evening was punctuated with live performances by New York locals including DJ Paul Sevigny, Waffle NYC, Syncopated Ladies, Caleb Teicher Company, Industrial Rhythm, Marvillous Beats, Blackout and Brooklyn United. Now then, do you think retail is dead. My response to you is as we say in French, Au contraire mon cher!
Hudson Yards is the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center. The site will include more than 18 million square feet of commercial and residential space, more than 100 shops, a collection of restaurants, approximately 4,000 residences. In fact, the development of Hudson Yards will create more than 23,000 construction jobs- that’s massive. Hudson Yards will also have a substantial economic impact on the New York City economy. Once fully operational, the development will contribute nearly $19 billion annually to New York City’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), accounting for 2.5 percent of the citywide GDP. It will also contribute nearly $500 million annually in City taxes. Companies and buildings at Hudson Yards will bring 55,752 direct jobs to the new West Side neighborhood.
Today, I present to you the $25 billion Hudson Yards development, billed as the biggest, most expensive private real-estate development in American history. When it’s complete, the sprawling new building will include five office towers, 4,000 residential units, 1 million square feet of retail and a hotel space on the west side of New York City, housing tenants including Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus. But malls and stores have closed by the hundr over the last decade.
How will Hudson Yards be different? Hudson Yards is a new neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side being developed by Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group. Hudson Yards will include over 100 shops and restaurants, including New York City’s first Neiman Marcus; the Floor of Discovery, featuring experiential and digitally native retailers; and a collection leading brands in every category from luxury to fast-fashion. It will be home to restaurants and food experiences by Chefs and restaurateurs Thomas Keller, José Andrés, David Chang, Michael Lomonaco and more; dynamic cultural institutions, 4,000 state-of-art modern residences, a new 750-seat public school, a 200-room Equinox® hotel and more than five acres of public plazas, gardens and groves – all offering unparalleled amenities for residents, employees and guests.
The Shops Restaurants at Hudson Yards, situated between 10 and 30 Hudson Yards, will be one of New York City’s premier locations for fashion and dining, setting a new benchmark for shopping in a dynamic, mixed-used setting. The retail center will present to visitors and residents a carefully curated collection of top brands through its 100-plus shops including New York City’s first ever Neiman Marcus, two-story mini anchor presentations by Zara and HM, and a multitude of diverse fashion brands including AG Jeans by Adriano Goldschmied, Aritzia, Athleta, Banana Republic, Coach, Stuart Weitzman and Tory Burch; a beauty collection comprising The Body Shop, Kiehl’s, JoMalone, MAC, Origins, and Sephora; and an extraordinary collection of global luxury watch brands, including Rolex, which will encompass a 6,000-square-foot Watches of Switzerland showroom.
I recently had the privilege of speaking with Brooks Brothers, Daniel Cremiuex, Alfred Dunhill and Mac Weldon about how they believe in the modernity of retail and how it is more robust now than ever before in the nations history!
Brooks Brothers, America’s longest established retailer, today announced the opening of its next retail location at New York’s highly anticipated and newest neighborhood, Hudson Yards. Opening April 2019, the Brooks Brothers location at Hudson Yards will be the brand’s first in America to debut a new global interior design concept, blending archival architectural elements inspired by its historic flagship at 346 Madison Avenue with modern yet timeless design elements throughout. Measuring 2,500 square feet, the sophisticated store design showcases the collection and is accented by rich colors including teal and shades of dark blue contrasted with fixtures in light grey lacquer and deep rosewood paneling. Brass architectural screens highlight the iconic Golden Fleece logo and frame the rooms and windows. Cabinetry and floating display racks are trimmed in brushed brass.
Furniture is light with a nod to mid-century design and a bold sculptural chandelier illuminates the store. Flooring is in ash oak herringbone parquetry paired with mosaic marble flooring creating an ambiance that is luxurious, airy, and inviting. Brooks Brothers at Hudson Yards will feature both the signature collection and Golden Fleece luxury label for men as well its women’s collection which is designed by Zac Posen. There will also be a dedicated area for Made-to-Measure clothing. Established in 1818 on Catherine and Cherry Streets near the ports of New York City, Brooks Brothers has moved with its customers to each important neighborhood— migrating first to Soho then Flatiron before setting up its permanent Madison Avenue flagship near Grand Central Station over 100 years ago. It has since established additional outposts in New York City and around the world. Opening at Hudson Yards, a unique and vibrant community, continues this tradition. “We are excited for the opening of Brooks Brothers at Hudson Yards as the development is one of the most ambitious and exciting retail projects in New York City history, further demonstrating our brands’ commitment to innovation in all aspects,” said Claudio Del Vecchio, Chairman and CEO of Brooks Brothers. If you care to know a little history about America‘s oldest apparel retailer, it was established in 1818, Brooks Brothers was the first American brand to offer ready-to-wear clothing and has continued throughout history with iconic product introductions including: seersucker, madras, argyle, the non-iron shirt and the original button-down collar. Two centuries later, Brooks Brothers is proud to uphold the same traditions and values and to be the destination for ladies and gentlemen from every generation. Since its founding 200 years ago in New York, Brooks Brothers has become a legendary international retailer while maintaining a steadfast commitment to exceptional service, quality, style and value.
I recently has the pleasure of interviewing Claudio Del Vecchio Chairman CEO at Brooks Brothers Group, Inc about the the great history of the brand, the importance of retail in today’s marketplace and the first store in the USA to feature a new global interior design concept.
Claudio Del Vecchio: Brooks Brothers was founded in 1818 in downtown New York at the corner of Catharine and Cherry Street – close to the port. Henry Brooks, our founder was known for his personal style and was often asked by friends where they could get items similar items to those he wore. At that time, he was importing items mostly from England and also began tailoring in New York. He left the business to his four surviving sons and the company name was changed to Brooks Brothers. Innovation has always been part of the company’s DNA.
Brooks Brothers has been responsible for many fashion innovations over the last 200 years– most famously inventing the readymade suit and the original button down polo collar shirt. But also the first to import argyle socks, madras fabric and more recently a pioneering the non-iron shirt.
As NYC expanded, Brooks Brothers kept pace by relocating several times to emerging neighborhoods – from downtown to Soho, to flatiron and finally just over 100 years ago to our historic flagship at Madison Avenue and 44thStreet. In modern times we have been able to open satellite locations throughout the city to serve the ne of our customers. Currently we have 6 stores in Manhattan and Hudson Yards will be our 7th. We are also a global brand with stores all over the world.
CDV: The new store at Hudson Yards will be the first in the USA to feature a new global interior design concept. Rooted in and directly inspired by our New York heritage with a modern aesthetic. It feels both familiar as well as new and exciting. The design is light, vibrant and has an elegant airy atmosphere. The design is both modern and timeless. Our Hudson Yards location will feature a curated selection of Brooks Brothers merchandise. Because of our locations in the city as well as some of the customer focused technology we have recently implemented we’ll be able to efficiently satisfy our customers with all their Brooks Brothers ne.
JD: In your expert opinion, what are men seeking today at retail and how are you addressing those ne?
CDV: All customers, not just men, want reliable and efficient service. Their time is valuable and they want to walk into a store, find what they need and either take it or have it delivered. They also want beautiful, well made clothing that they know will endure.
CDV: Hudson Yards is one of the most exciting new projects to open in New York City in decades. It will quickly become a neighborhood for residents and workers and a destination for tourists. Related has thoughtfully and carefully set out to create something unique each step of the way and this is evident from retail to the restaurants to the cultural programming.
JD: Who is the one famous person you would like to see wearing your brand and why?
CDV: Brooks Brothers has the distinction of being worn by nearly every US president since our founding. We’ve also dressed countless actors, artists and other notables. Last year Rizzoli published a book about our 200th anniversary and the wide variety of personalities is staggering. Politicians, screen legends from yesterday to today, business pioneers… I don’t know another fashion company that can say they’ve dressed everyone from Abraham Lincoln to Lady Gaga. But if you ask the one famous person, I would have to say it’s the one who has a genuine appreciation of Brooks Brothers as an iconic, authentic brand.
CDV: Technology and innovation play an immeasurable role in all aspects of retail development today. Probably the main reason Brooks Brothers has lasted for over 200 years is due to our longstanding relationships with multiple generations of customers. Technology has allowed us the opportunity to better understand our customers and get ahead of their ne. As a retailer who is also a manufacturer, technology has improved our processes behind the scenes too. As we announced back in December, we are one of the first brands to use of end to end Artificial Intelligence to manage the supply chain.What the last few years have taught us is that the customer absolutely wants to shop. It’s how they shop that has changed. Shopping online is very efficient and easy. Brick and mortar is an experience; a chance for the customer to connect with the brand and for the brand to know and build personal relationships with its customer. With a retail format there is also more discovery as you can touch and feel the product.
JD: What is your growth strategy moving forward?
CDV: We are continuing to grow and expand internationally. This year we are celebrating our 40th year since opening in Japan. As retailing pioneers, we were among the first brands to enter the market and we have an established fanbase there. In China, a relatively newer market, our business is growing at a fast pace and I see lots of opportunity there.
I recently has the pleasure of interviewing Andrew Maag CEO Alfred Dunhill about the great history of the brand, the robust retail market and why they decided to open a store at Hudson Yards as Dunhill celebrates its 126th anniversary.
Andrew Maag: This year, dunhill celebrates its 126th anniversary. Alfred Dunhill started the company in 1893, inheriting it from his father, who inherited from his father, and were famous for making harnesses for horses in the 1800s in London. It’s a very similar story to Hermès.
AM: dunhill has been a men’s luxury brand from its beginning. In 1905, Alfred Dunhill opened two shops on Conduit Street to carry men’s luxury outerwear for the new motorists of the time. That was the start of the apparel, so it’s always produced incredible luxuries for men from shoes and leather to menswear and tailoring. To this day, it is the only British luxury menswear brand that exists from its origins and has been continuously operated as such without break. We are actually now more relevant than ever.
AM: SS19 is the second collection we are delivering to the stores since [Creative Director] Mark Weston and I joined, and it feels so right with the mix between great outerwear and parkas to incredibly lightweight suiting separates. Sportswear is rejuvenated with lots of excitement and newness in our Marble and Hallmark capsule collections, followed by an Aquarium collection, all of which are derived from our heritage archives and have been brought to life in a very new and relevant way through prints, applications, and embroideries. An incredible harmony of all our combined efforts.
AM: Today it’s more acceptable for men to be concerned about how they look and what they wear. This is very exciting for us because dunhill offers something that’s relevant and works in your wardrobe, whether it’s dressing down or dressing up from trainers to patent leather shoes. We have what every man ne and more importantly, what he wants!
JD:Why open in Hudson Yards?
AM: New York City is one of the most important cities in America and it’s been important for dunhill for a long time, as well as the West Coast in California. We opened a store on Rodeo Drive in 1951, which was an iconic store, but in New York we had a beautiful archival store in the Rockefeller Centre when that was a relevant place for luxury menswear. The center of gravity has shifted from Madison and 5th Avenue over to this new incredible experience. In Hudson Yards you have an amalgamation of work, retail and restaurant experiences, and it’s all anchored with The High Line which is an incredible gateway to the far West Village, to great museums and beyond.
AM: It’s about the experience. There is still and will always be an importance of retail stores in my mind and in our view of the future. As a luxury consumer, there is something wonderful in selecting items, having an experience around the storytelling, the heritage of what’s happened within the brand, and bringing it all to life in the purchase. Hudson Yards represents the newest look and feel of our stores: very masculine, very strong, but also very bright and inviting.
JD:Who is the one famous person you would like to see wearing your brand and why?
AM: I am thrilled that there is not only one person—but many people—and we actually have a huge community. Just recently, Rami Malek was wearing our clothes at our show and then he won an award. There are men of great distinction and character around the world that represent dunhill, and I love to see them in our clothes because I love that we can be a part of their persona, their accomplishments, and their achievements.
AM:Technology is so important for us in all aspects. From a development point of view, we use 3D printing for some of our trim development and we use technology to rapidly enable us to see, feel, and look at our ideas. This allows us to be more exploratory and go further in a quicker amount of time. We are still dependent on hands; people who cut fabric, who cut, and sew leather, but it’s the development of the structure and engineering that allows us to go even faster.
The digital technology of reaching consumers is a number one priority for us and we reach around the globe to explore new technologies. In China for instance, we recently launched a mini-program on WeChat last November, and more recently we launched a new bag with Mr. Bags and sold 100 bags in 3 minutes – we are going to continue to push forward to reach our consumers. People look online to learn and educate themselves and become aware of what’s going on, so it’s important for us to use that medium to communicate. It will forever be our focus and we are actually looking for new ideas, many of which will start to roll out in the weeks and months to come.
JD:What is your growth strategy moving forward?
AM:Grow, grow, grow! We have a lot of growth potential because we did intentionally close stores and pull back while we refocused and doubled down the effort on our product. Now that we see the success of the products we are launching, from shoes, to suiting separates, to leather goods and beyond, we are exploring what are the new channels, be them digital as mentioned with WeChat, as well as Mr. Porter and other digital platforms, but also physical networks. Here we are celebrating the opening of Hudson Yards but we have also recently opened in China, Jordan in the Middle East and in the last 6 months we have renovated our stores in Ginza, Tokyo, and Dubai. There are lots of opportunities still for us and we are going to be very careful strategically to open great stores in great cities around the world, where our customers want us to be and see a lot of organic growth in the existing stores that we have.
3. Daniel Crémieux:
Born on May 22, 1938 in Marseille, Daniel Cremieux went to London when he was seventeen to study English. There, he discovered the stylish elegance of braces – so British – badges, checked pullovers worn with pride by university students. Upon his return to France, Daniel brought back a seamless Shetland sweater, something quite unknown in France at the time. He flew to New York in late 60’s and fell in love with the preppy menswear traditional brands. He returned to France with the desire to create the best French preppy brand available. Daniel has the fashion business in his blood, quite literally. His father owned clothing stores in the south of France, Daniel followed in his footsteps. In 1976, Daniel Cremieux launched his own brand, with an iconic golfer as its logo (pictured below). With this he intended to establish his brand as dynamic, smart and top of the range. He opened the first shop in Saint-Tropez, on the French Riviera between Nice and Marseille. This famous city in France is the place where actors, singers and artists from all around the world meet. This was the first store, soon to be followed by others in Paris and Aix Provence. Just as he still does, Daniel looked to his roots in this early approach to fashion – blending the sophisticated style of Paris with the relaxed and chic attitude of St. Tropez.
In a city like Paris, where fashion reigns supreme, he strove to be revolutionary rather than trendy by combining classic with unexpected new touches and details. Daniel is still fond of saying: “There is not future without the past.” From the beginning, he honed his passion for detail and quality. Now, his passion has become a trademark feature of the brand while uncompromisable quality remains the most important aspect of Cremieux.
Now, under the full direction of Daniel’s son, Stephane, the Cremieux design influence quickly spread and has become a symbol of superior quality with unparalleled attention to detail. The companies reputation for excellence is renowned worldwide, with distribution in many countries.
For the Coats of Arms of the ancient French Families, a crest showed lineage and heritage. For Cremieux, the crest represents quality and passion for the brand and our history. The 38 in the crest is a marker for Daniel’s birth year. The iconic shades of navy and white stand for Daniel’s favorite color combination of Regimental Ties stripes.
Each season, Daniel and Stephane select the most sophisticated, high-quality materials from all over the world to create their collections. These collections are proudly tailored in the best factories of the world. We only use superior quality materials from the most renowned mills: Monti, Reda, Loro Piana and Vitale Barberis.
Crémieux is a preppy yet contemporary French brand, founded by Daniel Crémieux – he flew to New York in late 60’s and fell in love with the preppy menswear traditional brands. He returned to France with the desire to create the best French preppy brand available. He opened Crémieux in 1976 in Saint-Tropez, on the French Riviera between Nice and Marseille. This was the first store, soon to be followed by others in Paris, Aix Provence, Asia and America. Just as he still does, Daniel looked to his roots in this early approach to fashion – blending the sophisticated style of Paris with the relaxed and chic attitude of St. Tropez. Now, under the full direction of Daniel’s son, Stephane, the Crémieux design influence quickly spread and has become a symbol of superior quality with unparalleled attention to detail. The company’s reputation for excellence is renowned worldwide, with distribution in many countries.
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to about the DNA of Daniel Cremieux?
Stephane Cremieux: The Daniel Crémieux brand was founded by my father, Daniel, in 1976 in Saint-Tropez on the French Rivera, after he studied in London and returned from a trip in New York that was inspiring. Our brand is all about authentic products, quality, fit, shapes, and details.
JD:What makes you unique?
SC: I am always, since day, 1 evolving towards a younger and fresher modern customer and never sleep on my ears. For every single collection I like to start with a white page and write what we are missing, so our team and myself can design and create an updated offering. Our international clients from Saint-Tropez to Palm Beach are affluent and very demanding for high-end quality.
JD: What is your comparative advantage in the market place?
SC: We are remaining authentic but not tired and are looking to surprise at all times. We are like Mercedes since we have super high-end, elevated products in our shops but never forget about today’s clients and sell affordable, although still luxury key items. We are never on sale and protect our clients that way.
JD: Why open in Hudson yards?
JD: What is today’s man seeking in apparel?
SC: Our clients want to look elegant and are clever in the way they dress. It is a bit when you travel, you want to be able to mix what you have in your luggage and be able to travel from a city or a country to another without looking totally disconnected but remaining super sharp. In my stores you can close your eyes and assemble collections naturally together without efforts and I promise you will look special!
JD: What are your day-to-day responsibilities?
SC: I wear 25 capes every day, from design to CEO, to development director. I travel to stores and factories because it is necessary. I particularly love meeting our sales persons on the floor that I call “The Warriors” and I love meeting our clients as I learn a lot from them too.
JD: Where is the apparel made?
SC: We make manufacture all over the world including Italy, Portugal, Romania, Poland, and Asia. All our fabrics and cashmere yarns come from Italy and England, and our knits are made of American Supima cotton.
SC: We wanted to keep the “French boutiques” feel in a small space but with plenty of services. In a time we everyone is only speaking of Customer Experiences, our idea is that Customers are Kings and we will offer Champagne on weekends, made to measure in suit measurement and home delivery.
JD: Who is the one celebrity you would like to see wearing your apparel and why SC: Ryan Reynolds and Edward Baer because they already have a natural way of wearing nice men’s clothes.
JD: How has technology (if any) aided you brand with respect to both product and e-commerce
SC: Our main online challenge is to bring online our every instore experience. Stores experiences have not been replaced yet, I don’t think Amazon and so on know what customer experience is. The “emotion” remains in stores for the moment.
JD: What is your growth strategy for the next 5 years?
SC: We will open more of our own stores or concessions but no wholesale clients. We want to control our assortment, our retail pricing, the ambiance of the store. We know how to do it seriously without taking ourselves too seriously.
4. Mac Weldon:
Digitally native brands are playing an increasingly large role in the transformation of physical retail. JLL’s 2018 Clicks-to-Bricks report estimates e-commerce retailers will open more than 850 brick and mortar stores in the next five years alone. Surely, you’ve noticed this shift: the brands you’ve come to know via ads in your Instagram feed and Google Chrome browser have begun to pop up outside the confines of your iPhone. One by one, they have all jumped on the brick and mortar bandwagon. But why? In some cases, storefronts erect to serve as a Band-Aid to relieve minor ble within a e-comm brand’s business model; one example is consumer sizing misconceptions that result in pricy return rates. In other instances, DTC brands “get physical” in an effort to boost their presence and likelihood of discovery among potential buyers. For others, offline retail simply amplifies customer service. Just like the boom of direct-to-consumer brands, the reasoning behind their entries into physical retail is individualized and complex.
“In many ways, Hudson Yards is the ideal location for our first store. Not only do we get to be part of the most exciting development project in recent history, thousands of our current and potential customers will be passing through Hudson Yards daily. This aligns perfectly with our brand’s mission to create a more convenient customer experience, and is a unique opportunity to activate Mack Weldon in the physical world while we test and learn for future investment.” -Brian Berger, Founder/CEO of Mack Weldon
Mack Weldon made the decision to unveil their first store at Hudson Yards was actually quite simple. Since launching the brand on socks and underwear in 2011, Founder and CEO Brian Berger has taken pride in straying far from anything that resembles a department store. Berger’s anti-retail strategy has served the brand well-on their way to $100 million in top-line sales, Mack Weldon has sold millions of products from their ever-expanding product assortment which now includes socks, underwear, tees, sweats, swim, activewear, and accessories.
As he’s keenly monitored–and been part of–the shifting retail landscape, Berger has allowed Mack Weldon but few close encounters with going offline. Among these “experiments” is selling at all Equinox gyms, as well as partnerships with J.Crew and Nordstrom. In all cases, Mack Weldon tested brick-and-mortar in places “their guy” already frequented. For example: as an Equinox member, Berger regularly saw his product around the gym. In tandem with Equinox’s cult following and impressive membership stats, Berger was most excited about the partnership’s potential to rescue those men who’d come to the gym only to realize they forgot their shorts, socks, or clean underwear–or heaven forbid, all three. It was all about understanding the customer: where they go, what they might need, and how Mack Weldon can be there.
Perhaps most notably, the new and improved west side also promises to be “New York’s next great shopping destination”. In addition to Mack Weldon, you can expect to find nearly 100 specialty stores and unique restaurants at Hudson Yards; that’s not even to mention the 400,000 experience-seeking residents and 26 million visitors who explore the area each year. As Mack Weldon HQ sits less than a single mile from Hudson Yards territory, Berger, a New Yorker himself, knows that big things are on the horizon.
Open to the public on March 15th, Mack Weldon’s 850 square foot store will be located at 20 Hudson yards on the second floor (RU209). The brand’s full product assortment will be offered on-site, and a special courier delivery service is in the works for New York customers.
In a word, Hudson Yards has just transitioned NYC into a retail destination of modernity! I can highly recommend that you pay this magnificent development a visit as you observe NYC entering into a fresh new and exciting platform.