Hermès

EXCLUSIVE: Darren Star Is Investing in a French Resale Site

EXCLUSIVE: Darren Star Is Investing in a French Resale Site

Resale and the City?
Darren Star, the American television wiz behind “Emily in Paris” and “Sex and the City,” is among three new investors in French luxury resale site Resee, WWD has learned.

The others are American tech entrepreneur Shari Glazer, founder and chief executive officer of Kalos Labs, and Michael Dayan, a cofounder of French e-commerce pioneer Showroomprive.com, a former owner of Sonia Rykiel and a frequent tech investor.

“I’ve been following the Resee journey for years,” Star told WWD. “I was attracted by the appeal of curated vintage fashion, but most of all by the level of taste and intelligence behind the brand.“

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Figures from the entertainment world have recently become active investors in fashion and beauty firms, applying their wealth, fame, credibility and consumer insights to help brands grow.

According to Resee, the trio of experts from various fields will “support the company’s exponential growth at the heart of the very buoyant secondhand market.”

Financial terms were not disclosed, but it’s believed the investments total in the single-digit millions.

In a statement, Resee cofounders and majority owners Sofia Bernardin and Sabrina Marshall said the new funding round would help accelerate its international expansion, burnish its global sourcing capabilities and help it invest in the necessary tech to optimize its capabilities.

Expansion will next focus on Switzerland, Hong Kong and Singapore. France remains a key market for Resee, and it recently opened at showroom on Avenue Kléber in Paris.

Next week, it plans to open a monthlong pop-up shop at the Carlyle Hotel in New York City. The U.S. was Resee’s largest market in the first half of 2022, accounting for 38 percent of sales.

The company is gunning to reach sales of 25 million euros by 2025.

While smaller than rivals like Vestiaire Collective or The RealReal, Resee boasts an average basket of 1,161 euros.

A Prada look from the Resee site.

Courtesy of Resee

Founded in 2013, it specializes in such covetable fashion items as Hermès handbags, archival Alaïa and runway pieces from Karl Lagerfeld-era Chanel and Phoebe Philo-era Celine. Its roster of notable resellers include actress Catherine Deneuve, jewelry designer Gaia Repossi, fashion designer and painter Vanessa Seward and creative director and consultant Vanessa Traina.

In tandem with its new investors, Resee said it is setting up an advisory board to support the brand’s development. Among new members are Sébastien Fabre, cofounder and former CEO of Vestiaire Collective.

Buoyed by strong global demand for vintage and secondhand high-end goods, the company has been logging revenue growth of about 120 percent each year, and boasts that it has been profitable from the get-go.

The global secondhand apparel market is forecast to grow by 127 percent to $218 billion by 2026, three times faster than the global apparel market overall, according to the “2022 Resale Report” by online resale platform ThredUp.

Hermès Delights Dubai with the Arrival of its Latest Petit H Creations Made Just for the Region

Hermès Delights Dubai with the Arrival of its Latest Petit H Creations Made Just for the Region

Photo: Nacho Alegre
A few years ago, Hermès released a silk scarf titled “Della Cavalleria Favolosa.” It featured fantastical animals – a horse with a merman tail and a half unicorn, half bird among others – and the drawings delighted the imagination. Their improbable pairings making for probable creatures. Walking through the artisan workshop of Hermès petit h just outside Paris, one recalls such animal life. Here, bits and pieces, both large and small, are gathered from all the Hermès 15 métiers to create new objects. And while each delights the eye, they all have a function. There is a bookshelf with an inbuilt vase that rolls in with the wheel of a bicycle. A unique Hermès tote decked out with a fringe of silk spaghettis that beckons to be swung like a circle skirt. Moving deeper through the rows lined with the exceptional pieces from artisans whose savoir-faire has been crowned with the highest honors in France, one arrives at a guitar made with a horse saddle. Each object is a wonder. There is even a falcon stand crafted with terracotta, leather, porcelain, and crystal – destined for Dubai. This month, the Hermès petit h exhibition stops in Dubai, where a “souk” created by Emirati architect and designer Abdalla Almulla displays a bounty of objects, including those made specifically for the region.
Photo: Nacho Alegre
At Hermès, since 2010, with the creation of petit h, no material is discarded, instead being all gathered in one place – the petit h ateliers – to be molded into a new, unique object ranging from silk tape to a wooden cabin and a leather-lined safe. This métier is run by its creative director Godefroy de Virieu, who eagerly encourages an exploration of the shelves laden with hundreds if not thousands of silk scarves, buttons, crystals, and plaids. “Just this fabric in itself is a treasure,” exclaims De Virieu, caressing one. “There are two factors, it’s French law to consider the material, and we are wholly responsible for our stock,” continues De Virieu. “The Hermès model, based on craftsmanship, structurally limits the quantities that are produced. Throughout the production and commercial chain, Hermès ensures that its stocks are kept to a minimum. In the case of surplus objects we always favor recycling – petit h for example.”
Photo: Courtesy of Hermès
All this and more await to capture the eye of an artisan or of a guest artist invited to imagine an objet Hermès that will one day appear at the petit h boutique on Rue de Sèvres, Paris, and imminently, Dubai.
Hermès petit h Dubai from November 8 to 27, 2022, at the Hermès The Dubai Mall store.
Read Next: Hermès Unveils a Limited-Edition Scarf in Qatari Flag Colors, Exclusive to its Place Vendôme Doha Store

Hermès Unveils a Limited-Edition Scarf in Qatari Flag Colors, Exclusive to its Place Vendôme Doha Store

Hermès Unveils a Limited-Edition Scarf in Qatari Flag Colors, Exclusive to its Place Vendôme Doha Store

Photo: Courtesy of Hermès
Hermès has unveiled a limited-edition version of the ‘Chevaux en liberté’ scarf, which is available exclusively at its Place Vendôme store in Doha, Qatar. What makes the silk twilly that much more special is that it represents the fashion house’s commitment to supporting children’s welfare. The Chevaux en liberté scarf will contribute to aiding the Education Above All Foundation (EAA), which marks its 10th anniversary this year and has supported over 12 million children and youth in more than 55 countries to date.
Photo: Courtesy of Hermès
Designed by French artist Jean-Louis Sauvat in the colors of the Qatari flag, the twilly is emblazoned with horses. While the Chevaux en liberté is currently available in a range of hues, it’s the first time it has been rendered in striking maroon and white. The pattern also nods to Hermès’ deep-rooted ties to equestrianism, as it sees horses in momentum, “set out on an enthusiastic race,” and made to resemble a praxinoscope with every sequence of gallop broken down meticulously. At the end of the twilly, a place where the Chevaux en liberté scarf is usually imprinted with ‘Hermès Paris’, reads ‘Hermès for Education Above All’.
Photo: Courtesy of Hermès
The EAA’s educational programs help children grow up to be global leaders and agents of positive, sustainable change, and also fall in line with Hermès’s values. Over the years, the French maison has been actively engaged either directly or through its foundation in initiatives linked to schools and higher education establishments and local projects around the world that help provide children access to education.
Read Next: Inside Hermès’ Largest One Floor Store in the World at Doha’s Place Vendôme

China’s Retail Sales Contract, but Demand for Luxury Is Back

China’s Retail Sales Contract, but Demand for Luxury Is Back

LONDON — China’s strict COVID-19 restrictions, especially with Shanghai under a two-month lockdown, led to a 6.7 percent year-over-year decline in retail sales of consumer goods in May, to 3.35 trillion renminbi, or $496.16 billion, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed on Wednesday.The contraction in May was better than in April, which logged an 11.1 percent dip from the prior year. In the period between January and May, China’s retail sales of consumer goods were 17.17 trillion renminbi, down 1.5 percent from the same period in 2021, when the country enjoyed relatively robust growth while other economies struggled due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
In the past month, the Chinese government has been adjusting its dynamic-zero COVD-19 policy, and announced a broad package of economic support measures to stimulate the economy.

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A Bernstein report published Thursday predicts that the luxury and beauty industry will bounce back quicker than those catering to the mass market in China.
“Early signs indicate that luxury demand is reviving in China, as lockdowns are lifted — with shopping malls in Shanghai reporting sales 80 percent of pre-lockdown levels, albeit with the support of double loyalty points,” the report said.
Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Dior were among the first to recover. Local media reported that long lines formed outside their stores in Shanghai’s luxury shopping mall Plaza 66 on the first day they reopened on May 29, after the city came out of the lockdown.

Shoppers wearing face masks line up to visit a Dior store at a shopping mall in Shanghai.
AP

It’s also been reported in the local media that luxury brands in Shanghai were coming up with creative ways to entice high-spending customers during the lockdown, such as sending fancy takeaway meals and putting rare bags worth more than 100,000 renminbi, or $15,000, on delivery platforms.
Despite the promising signs, Berstein noted that logistics disruption has impacted luxury sales well beyond Shanghai. Online and physical supply in major luxury spending cities like Chengdu, Hangzhou and Shenzhen was impacted as most of the luxury brands’ warehouses are located in Shanghai, which has reopened since June, but a negative test within 72 hours is still required for anyone entering public areas.
“Exiting the lockdowns, demand seems back to an even keel and growth trajectory — equally to what we had seen up to Chinese New Year,” Bernstein said, adding that “for affordable luxury, strong pent-up demand will drive continued growth through the remainder of this year.”
Luca Solca, senior research analyst of global luxury goods at Bernstein, added that “contacts within the luxury goods industry and real estate companies point to a rapid demand rebound in China after exiting lockdowns. What remains to be seen is if this demand level will sustain, despite macro-economic indicators being weak.”
An earlier research report from Barclays warned that luxury brands may face additional headwinds in China as pandemic-related restrictions widen to cities like Beijing. The city for the past week went through rounds of mass testing, as hundreds contracted the COVID-19 virus after partying at Heaven Supermarket, a nightclub in downtown’s Sanlitun area, which has been shut permanently following the outbreak.

A survey from Oliver Wyman released this week, which reflects feedback from more than 30 of the consulting firm’s clients across premium consumer and luxury goods, also revealed that luxury brands have slashed expectations for their China business this year. Forecasted 2022 growth for luxury and premium consumer brands in Mainland China was reduced to a mere 3 percent from the 18 percent Oliver Wyman expected months ago.

A worker wearing a face mask assists a man on the health code scanner at a reopening shopping mall in Shanghai.
AP

As for the beauty sector, Bernstein expects that “long-term demand remains intact,” and that demand recovery will come “as soon as restrictions ease, but the path to when this might occur remains unclear.”
The group also said companies with robust China supply chains like L’Oréal and Proya are gaining share during disruptions, while companies with supply chains disrupted by Shanghai lockdowns, including Estée Lauder and Shiseido, may see slow shipment recovery in the second quarter, despite strong online sell-through.
With regard to the broader apparel and sectors, Bernstein suggests there will be a bounceback as restrictions ease, led by e-commerce, as China distribution centers and last-mile delivery are back on track, while in-store recovery will be slower as people remain nervous about going back to stores until mass testing eases.
Related:
The Secret to Connecting with Chinese Consumers
Lunar New Year Spending Dipped as COVID-19 Concerns Loom in China
Bain Warns China Luxury Growth to Further Decelerate in 2022

Hermès Unveils its Largest One Floor Store in the World at Doha’s Place Vendôme

Hermès Unveils its Largest One Floor Store in the World at Doha’s Place Vendôme

Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
Qatar‘s luxurious shopping destination of Place Vendôme in Doha is now home to Hermès‘ biggest one-floor store in the world. Unveiled today, the sprawling 633 square meter space is abundant with details inspired by the country and its historical landmarks, and materials hand-picked specifically for the store.
Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
The store is set between the desert and the sea, and is flooded with natural light from the double-height windows on the exterior walls, which are complemented by its interiors of marble and stone in cream and white, contrasting with amber and earthy tones. Other rare textures spotted in the store include sculptural waves on the ceiling, made to mirror sand dunes in the nearby inland sea of Khor Al Udaid, while the terrazzo’s hand-laid inserts with marble, mother of pearl, and pearlescent seashells evoke the rock carvings of Al Jassasiya. The store façade itself, with its hand-hewn travertine walls, is reminiscent of the wind-carved limestone rock formations at Ras Abrouq in the Northwest of the country.
Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
Customers will find all 16 métiers of the house, including beauty, homeware, accessories, and more at the store. Designed by Parisian architecture agency RDAI, it features an area dedicated to Hermès‘ much-loved silk pieces, which also serves as the axis of the rest of the store which can be accessed in three directions. Each space, or “universe” as the house dubs it, comes equipped with VIP salons for one-of-a-kind service. To the left, the watch and jewelry métiers are present in two successive intimate salons, and across the equestrian and men’s silk collections are men’s ready-to-wear and accessories. On the right, customers will find a series of rooms going through to the leather goods, and homeware, before arriving at the womenswear universe. Colored in rich amber and honey hues, it features hand-painted embossed wallpaper with palm-frond motifs.
Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
Step outside the store, and customers will be greeted by a private garden that comes alive with lush greenery and flowers selected by Hermès’ in-house perfumer Christine Nagel. Also elevating the store’s uniqueness and grandeur are a number of art pieces that position the new Hermès store as one with the most artworks in the world. Besides the hard-to-miss life-size sculpture of a blue horse by French artist Assan Smati, are artworks from the private collections of the Hermès family, and Wissam Al Mana, managing director of Qatar’s Al Mana Group, which operates Hermès in the Middle East. Among other artwork are earthenware vases by artist Julian Stair, a winged horse by sculptor Christian Renonciat, and repurposed works created by the late Tunisian designer Leïla Menchari for the windows of the 24 Faubourg Saint Honoré store in Paris.
Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
Present alongside Al Mana at the opening of the store today, Florian Craen, Hermès’ executive vice-president—sales and distribution, welcomed journalists and clients with a speech that spoke to the store’s individuality. “It is always very very emotional—much more than you think. We don’t have that many stores in the world—we have 300 stores and each one of them is different, and this one is special in many ways,” he said. “It is one of six in the Middle East and the one and only store we have in Qatar. It has taken eight years of talks, and months and years of construction. So, for us, it is an end of a very long story as well as a new chapter.”
Read Next: Revisit the Rich History of Your Favorite Hermès Bags at a Brand New Exhibition in Qatar

Revisit the Rich History of Your Favorite Hermès Bags at a Brand New Exhibition in Qatar

Revisit the Rich History of Your Favorite Hermès Bags at a Brand New Exhibition in Qatar

This month, the National Museum of Qatar is inviting visitors for a very special exhibit. From May 28-June 11, French fashion house Hermès will be hosting a showcase titled Once Upon a Bag at the iconic space.
Preceded by three successful exhibits by the brand—Harnessing the Roots, which focused on harnesses; Rouges Hermès, which celebrated the brand’s deep connection with shades of red; and In Motion, which spotlighted objects that bring about a desire for outdoor elements—Once Upon a Bag is the fourth chapter of the Hermès Heritage cycle, and will share the rich history behind the fashion house through its bags.

Put together by Bruno Gaudichon, curator of La Piscine museum of art and industry in Roubaix, and scenographer Laurence Fontaine, Once Upon a Bag will help visitors trace the parallels between about 50 models and objects from Hermès’ Conservatoire of Creations and the Émile Hermès collection. The display will begin with a history of the Haut à courroies bag, a creation with equestrian roots which first came to be back in the 20th century. The exhibit will also help fashion connoisseurs understand the special stories behind its many different types of bags, ranging from clutches to ladies’ bags (like the iconic Kelly, along with  Constance, and Simone Hermès), and men’s bags (such as the Sac à dépêches, and Cityback basketball backpack), to travel bags and the sports bag. Visitors will also get to take a closer look at the brand’s intricately detailed clasps in a special room dedicated just to this facet of bag making, and can check out more eclectic creations, such as the ‘Bags of Mischief’ collection from the 1980s, which was designed by the chairman of Hermès from 1978 to 2006, Jean-Louis Dumas.
Inside the Hermès showcase. Photo: Kyung Sub Shin
The aim of Once Upon a Bag is to offer a deep dive into the label’s archives, and to highlight how bags at Hermès have transformed with the times and evolving societies. It was close to 1923 when Hermès came up with the Sac pour l’auto, its very first model to feature a functional zip, and since then, the French design house has put in great efforts to make its carry-ons more innovative, and even lighter. The trend hasn’t ceased today. Enthusiasts of the brand will agree that few manage to reinvent their pieces quite like Hermès does.

The Hermès Once Upon a Bag exhibit will take place from May 28-June 11 at the National Museum of Qatar, and is open to the public free of charge. 

Hermès Touts Craftsmanship Over Metaverse at Shareholders’ Meeting

Hermès Touts Craftsmanship Over Metaverse at Shareholders’ Meeting

PARIS — Digital commerce has become second nature for Hermès International, which boasts that 78 percent of customers at its online store are new to the brand.But how about the metaverse? Not so much.
“I don’t know,” Hermès executive chairman Axel Dumas shrugged when confronted with a question about its metaverse intentions at the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting here Wednesday. “For the time being, we’re interested to see how this world evolves and changes.”
Dumas noted that it “could conceivably” offer Hermès a “great means of communications” in the future — and in its quirky fashion.
“But this is not a priority of ours,” he stressed. “We’re mainly interested to learn and to monitor, rather than rush into the metaverse.”

Hosting its first in-person meeting since 2019, Hermès made no mistake that it is a company rooted in physical objects, human creativity and exceptional craftsmanship, screening countless videos of its artisans caressing, cutting and stitching its coveted leather goods in light, airy workshops set in the picturesque French countryside. “We still devote 15 hours to making each handbag,” Dumas declared proudly.

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The two-hour session opened with a pianist engaged in a duet with exotic birds singing and strutting on a giant screen, electronic gurgles and a flute player adding to the cacophony.
Hermès has every right to chirp, having logged a “record year” in 2021 that saw revenues vault 41.8 percent to 8.982 billion euros — this despite price increases amounting to less than 2 percent, Dumas pointed out.
The executive gave no specific guidance for 2022, while declaring: “We are full of confidence about the future.”
The French luxury house certainly galloped ahead in the first quarter of 2022, recording a 27.1 percent rise in revenues at constant exchange to 2.76 billion euros and touting double-digit growth across all business lines and territories.
Looking ahead, Hermès plans to continue to increase its production capacity, especially in leather goods, and expand its retail network. Major openings planned for this year include New York City, Shanghai, Strasbourg, Barcelona and Doha.
“Our stores are all unique places,” Dumas asserted, explaining that its boutique buyers are fully empowered to tailor product assortments to local tastes and needs.
The French firm ended 2021 with 303 boutiques in the world, having added or expanded locations in cities including Detroit, Tokyo, Macau and Shenzhen.
The gathering served as a recap of how mightily Hermès weathered the pandemic, with executives touting the exceptional flexibility and devotion of its artisans, HR managers and sales associates; its culture of “French excellence,” and the unity of the family shareholders. About 100 or so family members last year decided to block 54 percent of the share capital until at least 2041 under the nonlisted holding company known as H51.
Responding to shareholder questions about its large cash reserves, Dumas said not having any financial constraints or debt is “of paramount importance” to its resilience, allowing it to maintain jobs and wages, while continuing to invest in retail operations and factories.

Hermès operates 52 production sites in France, 19 of them for leather goods. Last month, the company said it would open two more leather goods workshops in France within the next five years, adding 500 more artisans to its payroll. Three other sites are already under construction in France, meaning it will boast 24 workshops for leather goods and saddlery by 2026.
Meanwhile, other Hermès sectors logged faster growth than handbags in 2021. By product sector for the full-year versus 2019, watches rose 76.6 percent and ready-to-wear and accessories 44.3 percent, outpacing leather goods and saddlery at 22.8 percent.
Hermès added about 1,000 jobs in 2021, bringing the worldwide employee count to 17,600, all of whom received a 3,000 euro bonus and 100 euro a month salary bump.
“We are pleased to share with employees, the benefits of our growth,” Dumas said.
SEE ALSO:
Hermès Touts ‘Genuine’ Pricing
Hermès Rides Luxury Wave, Driven by Europe and Americas
LVMH Q1 Revenues Jump Despite War in Ukraine, China Lockdowns

Independent Retailers Detail Dealing With Theft for Better or Worse

Independent Retailers Detail Dealing With Theft for Better or Worse

While a certain amount of theft has always been among retailers’ costs, recent shoplifting and robberies have taken an even greater toll on independent stores.Unlike nationwide retailers that have multiperson loss prevention teams and ample capital to try to thwart thieves, smaller chains or one-unit stores don’t have the same degree of manpower or money to combat the problem. In addition, the theft of tens of thousands of merchandise and the costly preventive measures that are needed in response to such incidents chips away at their bottom lines.
What Comes Around Goes Around’s vice president of retail and client services Julian Guevara said, “I would like to hope it’s temporary but I think it’s more of a cost of doing business. Luxury retailers are constantly being stolen from. I’ve been in luxury retail in New York City for 12 years. This isn’t new. Given the times we’re living in and everything that’s going on socially and economically for so many people, it’s definitely increased. I would hope it goes down but it’s always going to present.”

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Vandalism repairs can result in temporary store closures, as was the case recently for Designer Revival, a consignment shop in New York City. Head of e-commerce Bonnie Jaindl said, “There’s really no such thing as a petty crime for a small business. It hurts our bottom line, especially since we’re trying to recover from the COVID[-19] pandemic and the shutdown.”

Earlier this month Designer Revival was broken into overnight.
Courtesy

A handful of stores in New York City, Seattle, Chicago and Denver spoke with WWD about how they are regrouping, or in one instance closed, due to the ongoing issue of shoplifting and theft. And it’s not just designer products that are being stolen — so are Jordan sneakers and athletic jerseys. Instituting a minimal crime hike fee for all purchases, working with local police detectives and upgrading security systems are some of the methods that stores are using to try to safeguard against the problem.
After five burglaries in the past two years, the sneaker-centric Flee Club in Chicago is planning “a slow relaunch” in another city, said manager Jerry Walker. An overnight robbery earlier this month of Amiri denim, Gallery Dept. and other goods resulted in a loss in the “tens of thousands,” he said.
In response to that, the company has started a #GoFundMe and is nearing its goal of $15,000 for business expenses. The suspects have not been arrested, according to Walker, who attributes the recent crime to the economy. Asked what would improve the situation, he said, “I don’t think it’s going to improve. It’s going to get worse unless people come across money, where they don’t have to take and steal.”
In Manhattan, a group of people stole from Kirna Zabête’s SoHo store on two different Sunday afternoons —attempting to take $40,000 worth of goods on April 3 and $50,000 worth of merchandise on Feb. 6. They entered the store right after its security guard had gone on his break and used wire cutters to take designer handbags, said owner Beth Buccini.
“When they came in the first time, one of my stylists chased after them and they flashed a gun at him. It’s completely brazen in SoHo right now. So there are police officers and undercover cops on every corner,” she said.

In addition to taking on the “exorbitant” cost of an in-store security detail seven days a week, Kirna Zabête has panic buttons to call the local police precinct directly, security cameras and a doorbell that triggers videotaping of visitors, the owner said. Like several other retailers, she said thieves, including those who steal less than $1,000 worth of hoodies, need stiffer consequences.
During the April 3 incident, store employees recognized the robbers from the previous theft two months ago and hit the panic button. While fleeing the store, the accused dropped $40,000 worth of designer merchandise and got into an altercation with the police, resulting in one officer being injured, Buccini said. “It’s obviously very scary and challenging, and the worst I’ve ever seen it. I’ve been in business since 1999 and I have never seen it like this. Nobody has.”
Although Kirna Zabête is talking with area retailers about the problem, improvement is needed for SoHo’s neighborhood watch, she said. The problem has also cropped up in the Hamptons. Recently in the retailer’s East Hampton store, an employee was uneasy about a shopper who was FaceTiming a tour of the store, and the employee “kind of pushed the person out of the store,” Buccini said. “They came back the next day and hit the Balenciaga store and took $90,000 worth of merchandise. But there was a high-speed [police] chase and they caught them.”
Complicating the issue for small business owners is insurance reimbursement for the wholesale price instead of full retail, not to mention insurance premium hikes — 15 percent increases for Kirna Zabête. After the repeat offender thieves were arrested, she asked about the prospect of retrieving any of the stolen merchandise but learned it had already been resold via consignment shops.
”I don’t know what the answer is. But having your team afraid to go to work is no way to live in America in this day and age,” Buccini said.
Despite the challenges caused by theft and the pandemic, the SoHo store’s business is up 30 percent compared to 2021, which was the best year to date, she said. “It’s frustrating that we’re trying to get back, get people back in the stores shopping again and then this is just one more hurdle that we had to deal with,” Buccini said.

Noting how $750,000 worth of merchandise was stolen during June 2020, Buccini recalled thinking at the time that it was a horrible period and an isolated incident. “Since then, it just feels like a regular pattern of people running in, grabbing and taking things. It’s not just high-end stores. It’s every drugstore in New York, too,” she said.
Two weeks ago criminals stole $40,000 worth of vintage handbags from Designer Revival, which is located at 324 East 81st Street in Manhattan. Noting how the stolen goods included handbags from Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès, Jaindl said, “They knew what they were doing. They spent quite some time — almost an hour — jiggering our gates before they broke through. We have alarms. We have video footage of the burglars as they smashed through.”
The New York City Police Department is investigating the recent break-in.
Wearing hoodies, hats and masks, the criminals were not very distinguishable based on the video, which prompted the employees to try to take a closer look at their footwear. After a theft in January, one sales associate instinctively chased the person and grabbed their backpack, which was filled with stolen handbags, but the chief executive officer and others at the store cautioned him to never do that again. “We’re a small store on the Upper East Side. It’s like a family. If someone steals something, it feels so wrong and violating,” Jaindl said.

Designer Revival is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Courtesy

She said the suspects are believed to be organized criminals, who are targeting independent retailers as well as other small operations, like a bakery. The retailer has insurance, but is still waiting for claims from 2020 to be reimbursed. And filing too many claims runs the risk of being dropped by an insurer, she said.
Locking up more merchandise is one way Designer Revival is dealing with the issue. “We’re not going to let this take us down. We’re still feeling optimistic. You just pick up the pieces — literally — and move on,” Jaindl said.
Last fall, What Comes Around Goes Around had $385,000 worth of designer goods stolen from what was initially a Wooster Street pop-up shop and is now a permanent store. Thieves broke through a wall in the basement to access back inventory, which is now stored in locked cages. It is believed that they had been in the building before, according to Guevara. In response, all visitors to the building must now show identification and sign in. With two stores in New York and one in Beverly Hills, the retailer has also beefed up security and added cameras, among other things.

He said, “We’re a luxury retailer in SoHo. All of the luxury retailers have been targeted in the past year or two. I don’t think it’s anything specific with us. People just want high-end bags. In my opinion, it would be because of the retail price. They are all relatively traceable. We were able to trace them quickly when they tried to resell them.”
The nighttime theft rattled and shocked employees, he said. “A big part of it for the employees was, ‘Well, who was it?’ Did I meet them or know them?’ It was a trust-driven thing where they felt very betrayed,” Guevara said, adding that each employee shared their concerns.
WCAGA has ramped up its security system, added security guards seven days a week at all locations and now keeps doors locked at all times to let people in one by one. That also mitigates COVID-19 risks, he added.
Derek Friedman, who owns 12 Sportsfan and Sock Em’ Sock Emporium stores in Colorado and Texas, said the company has been dealing with break-ins, looting including “people coming in armed with machetes and things,” as well as attempted break-ins and more brazen shoplifting, where employees’ objections are ignored.
In February, the retailer instituted a Denver crime spike fee of 1 percent for every transaction in select stores, where thefts and loss have increased. Although the fee only covers a little of the losses, it sends a message, Friedman said, adding the past four months have resulted in $10,000 to $15,000 of lost merchandise in the most impacted stores, which is slightly less than the same period last year.
Holding shoplifters to a similar standard of those engaging in other unlawful activities such as a violent crime or otherwise is needed, Friedman said. While the victims of retail theft are too often mis-characterized as “just a company,” he said the victims actually are the employees and business owners. “In our case, they [the staff] lost bonuses and pay increases. I went almost two years without taking pay. I was just living on retirement [funds]. It was coming to a crescendo as we were trying to recover from COVID[-19].”
Unlike from 2014 to 2019, when there were normal levels of shoplifting and theft, Friedman said there is “a different kind of shoplifting — armed shoplifting or shoplifting that doesn’t even pretend to acknowledge that this is against the law or that they could suffer some consequence.”

Friedman attributes the behavioral change to the threshold of what is a deemed a misdemeanor versus a violation, as well as whether the accused are being held following their arrests. In 2020, Colorado lawmakers eliminated cash bail for minor offenses.
“There aren’t that many criminals or bad-doers in our society. Most of us do what we’re supposed to do, try to live our lives and do what’s right. But if you keep letting this really small segment of our population that are criminals right back out on the streets, they’re just going to do what criminals do,” he said. “The first thing is to hold people accountable, and to enforce the laws. Put the criminals in jail and give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and hopefully come out the other side and find something more productive to do with their lives.”
In February in Seattle, Sneaker City shuttered its Pike Street store after more than 20 years in business. Ongoing incidents of theft and a monthly rent hike to $13,000 from $8,000 for the 1,800-square-foot location factored into that decision, according to Caroline Cho, whose family owns the company. Having faced at least 24 incidents of broken glass windows in the past two years, Cho said she had glass companies on speed dial and that insurance claims weren’t worthwhile because they typically amounted to $50 or $100.
“It’s just too hard to do retail in a city, where if someone steals less than $1,000 worth of merchandise, it doesn’t matter. They’ll get a slap on the wrist. That’s about it,” Cho said.
As an independent store without a loss prevention team, Cho and her employees were “very vigilant” about deterring shoplifters. While only one pair of sneakers was stolen each month, the attempts were multiple times a day. To try to combat that, staffers would only give shoppers one shoe to try on at a time. Knowing that larger companies have trained employees to just let shoplifters go, many thieves think that every business is like that, Cho said. “But I tried to protect my inventory as much as possible.”
When people tried to steal merchandise, Cho would personally confront them. “I would scream and yell.  One of them tried to threaten me. I didn’t take that lightly so I said, ‘Try me,” she said.

Asked if she was concerned for her safety, Cho said, ‘No, I’m concerned for theirs. If they want to come after me, there will be a fight. Most times they do that — it’s just words.”
She also claimed that some retailers or officials will overlook thefts of under $1,000 on the premise that those goods were stolen by the impoverished to pay for money to get food. Or such incidents might result in a fine from the police that the thieves can’t afford to pay. Cho added that there are a lot of mentally unwell people in Seattle in need of professional help.
Asked how other independent stores might deal with theft, Cho advised that the more they engage with customers, the less theft there will be during store hours. “More importantly, find a way to take care of the stress and your mental health from it because it’s very taxing.”
While Seattle officials have been vocal about how the city is being cleaned up and is returning to the way it was, Cho said they are trying. “But this issue is going to take longer to fix than it took to get to this point. Part of the reason they’re doing this is because we need the tourist money that we don’t have for a lot of reasons. At first, it was because of the pandemic but now crime has gotten worse during the pandemic. People who are coming to visit should just stay vigilant when you are here. It’s the not the way it used to be before the pandemic, even though the city says it is.”

Hermès Opens Blue Horse Restaurant for South Coast Plaza Boutique Celebration

Hermès Opens Blue Horse Restaurant for South Coast Plaza Boutique Celebration

Hermès opened its first restaurant concept, The Blue Horse, at South Coast Plaza on Thursday. For one night.To celebrate its new, larger store at the Costa Mesa, Calif., shopping center, the French luxury powerhouse hosted an evening of fun, starting with cocktails at the 7,100-square-foot boutique, then moving to the former Sears Auto Center that had been made over as The Blue Horse.
Hermès USA president and chief executive officer Bob Chavez was relishing his role as April Fools jokester, telling the crowd they were being treated to an exclusive preview of the first Hermès restaurant (oohs and aahs ensued). Then, after they took their seats at dinner tables, he informed them there had been a mistake and they needed to get up and move to another room.

And voila! The other room was an open kitchen of interactive delights, Hermès style, with chefs in house-printed toques serving up all kinds of gustatory whimsy, from smoked salmon rice pudding to lobster salad with flash-frozen rose petals that guests crushed themselves from stems dipped into a cylinders of liquid nitrogen.

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Between each course, the chefs de cuisine orchestrated a musical interlude, turning pots, pans and ice water glasses into instruments in a scene tailor made for Instagram.
There were about 100 guests, mostly locals (nearly every one with an Hermès bag in hand) and some from Los Angeles, including beauty entrepreneur Marianna Hewitt of Summer Fridays and her beau Adam Goldston, cofounder of the footwear brand A.P.L. South Coast Plaza scion Anton Segerstrom and his wife Jennifer took selfies with Chavez.
The executive had a starring role in the grand finale, a Big Easy-meets-Big O (Orange County) Second Line parade that had him processing with percussionists, brass players and chefs carrying Hermès orange boxes with Birkins, H sandals and lipstick that — surprise! — turned out to be doppelgänger cakes.
“We’ve had people Googling The Blue Horse, and there’s nothing there,” Chavez smiled, noting the frenzy that the invitation to the soiree started.
In all seriousness though, the business of luxury brand restaurants is burgeoning, from Ralph’s Club in New York, to Monsieur Dior in Paris, to the new Petrossian at Tiffany at South Coast Plaza itself.
Was this a bit of beta testing for Hermès? “You never know,” Chavez laughed.
Opened March 4, the newly located Hermès boutique has wood paneled walls and coastal-themed artwork that makes visiting feel like stepping onto a yacht. Hermès went from having 4,000 square feet of selling space to 7,100 square feet, and had its best month of sales yet since opening, Chavez said.
The horseshoe-shaped open floor plan was designed to showcase the growing world of Hermès, seamlessly flowing from one department to the next. Women’s footwear, including clogs and sandals, flows into menswear, fine jewelry and watches. There’s a leather salon with a dedicated area for after sales and repairs, a silk room, home area with a bridle leather brown sofa, globe, sterling silver water bottle and other luxe novelties. An equestrian collection caters to the riding community, and the beauty department has the full range of fragrance, Hermès Orange Boite and other shades of nail color and lipstick, or a deluxe set that includes one of each color.

The Hermès surf board, skateboard, rash guards, scarf print swimwear, short shorts and tracksuits and “Faubourg rainbow” T-shirts look right on point for the SoCal locale. And there’s a coffee bar with built in phone chargers for the Silicon Beach south set. Artwork by Filipe Jardim, Suzel Caspard and Marion Dubier Clark enhances the space’s connection to maritime motifs.
“Our business has grown phenomenally here and because it was our 25th anniversary at South Coast Plaza, it was the perfect time to do this,” Chavez said during an interview in one of the store’s sleekly appointed VIP rooms. “If you’d seen our back of house before, it was tiny and we were maxed out on our capacity to do business. Now we’re able to offer a more extensive, deeper selection, and we had our best month ever here in March since we opened.”
South Coast is now in the top five best-performing stores in the U.S., he said, behind New York, Beverly Hills and the two Hawaii stores. Leather goods is still the biggest volume category, but the fastest growing is fine jewelry, followed by men’s and women’s apparel. “We’ve more than doubled our sales in those three categories in the first month,” he said, suggesting customers are responding to the new environs.
Whereas pre-pandemic, South Coast’s Plaza’s clientele was largely tourists, Chavez said it is now 90 percent local.
The executive is on a western tour, educating store staffs about future plans, including boutiques opening April 20 in Austin, Texas, in November in Naples, Fla., and renovations in New York and Chicago following next year.
Womenswear designer Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski, who has been with the house for seven years, “has come to understand the DNA of Hermès and is now interpreting it in a modern way, and clients are reacting phenomenally,” Chavez said. Indeed, the designer’s fall 2022 collection was more “Emily in Paris” than Left Bank madam, and the crowd at the party tended to follow.
“A lot of people are wearing the ready-to-wear who would not have been customers before,” Chavez added.
Hermès has big plans for next year in the L.A. area, where it will open its second store in the old Sears anchor space at Westfield Topanga mall in May or June 2023.

“They tore it down and are creating a valet parking circle, so we’ll have only an outdoor entrance. And since we announced, Dior and Fendi have announced they are also moving in on the first floor,” Chavez said.

Hermès RTW Fall 2022

Hermès RTW Fall 2022

Prim, proper, rich but understated, with a wardrobe full of tailoring and investment pieces — the bourgeois look has been a cornerstone of French fashion for decades, perhaps nowhere more so than at Hermès.
But Nadège Vanhee-Cybulski has emerged as a torchbearer for a new Parisienne, one who might wear a classic blazer or fitted skirt but in a modern way — and flash some leg while doing it. “It’s about a woman being assertive in their femininity, and owning her body,” the designer said.
After last season’s runway excursion to Le Bourget airport, Hermès landed back at the Garde Républicaine for its fall runway show, paring back the theatrics and letting the clothes shine.

They deserved the spotlight.
Vanhee-Cybulski has brought a new relevancy to the brand’s ready-to-wear, showing the kind of pieces women will want to reach for every day (if they can afford it), that strike a balance between sensuality and practicality.

For fall, she worked in a black-and-white and earthy palette that was a refreshing break from the season’s traffic-stopping brights. The designer tapped the body-con side of equestrian, namely the breeches and jodhpurs, as inspiration for sleek catsuits, curve-tracing tops with hardware details, leggings, and HotPants worn with thigh-high tights and over-the-knee boots, for a look that was more “Emily in Paris” than Rive Gauche madam.

Leather pieces had a chic modernity, like the fitted black striped blazer and miniskirt that opened the show, and a pleated leather skirt with sheer knit insets that made it look weightless in stride. Other skirts had folded leather waistbands with hardware details, making them resemble the fronts of the house’s famed handbags, and perhaps could spark a similar frenzy.
The outerwear was also lush. A black shearling pullover with leather storm flap might be the most luxe version of a Patagonia fleece to date, while an olive car coat with leather piping and bridle details — over a miniskirt, natch — was executed with razor-like precision.

There was plenty in the way of covetable new accessories, too — belts with a cursive H buckle, the new 22 bag with a tough-looking zipper, and a reworked mini Kelly with hardware askew “as if it were dancing,” said Vanhee-Cybulski.
“It’s a fusion of tradition and modernity. We have to know where we come from and who we are, but it’s also good to have the unexpected, and to be confident,” said the designer, sounding a note of positivity in these tough times. “We’re going to make it.”

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