Italian luxury fashion label Fendi has relocated its New York flagship from Fifth Avenue to Madison Avenue. The reimagined space pays homage to the craftsmanship at the heart of the brand, and also continues its flirtation with a slightly more playful brand positioning.
Designed by US architect Peter Marino (also responsible for sister brand Louis Vuitton's legion of stores), the new 4,100 sq ft, two-floor store is more than 2,000 sq ft smaller than the previous location. The downsizing has led to the loss of the menswear collection, but created a more intimate space for the women's ready-to-wear collection, accessories and furs. To redress the balance, a dedicated men's store has been slated for 2016.
The store design plays on the brand's signature expertise in leather and furs. A wall by the staircase leading up to the second floor of furs displays a series of swatches similar to those used by the brand's artisans to test their fur designs (for more on the value of revealing production processes, see Show & Tell Retail and Exploiting Insider Access). The store also references Fendi's home city of Rome via an arch-and-column Travertine storefront, and newly designed yellow shopping bags with a textured feel, reflecting the patina of walls commonly found in the city.
Traditional craftsmanship, albeit from considerably further afield, continues in-store via the use of Indonesian wood for the floor, and hand-applied plastered and lacquered walls.
The main floor features an installation of the brand's iconic 'baguette' handbag, plus notably irreverent, playful VM touches. These include window mannequins being sent adrift by parachutes, or small goods caged inside gilt birdcages – nuanced touches for closer-to-entry-level product, designed to engage younger future consumers. For more on this strategy, see Haute Humour: Visual Influence and Luxury Online for Millennials.