At a time when many retailers have been forced to close their doors, Lafayette 148 is accelerating its retail growth with plans to open boutiques at two of the country’s most prestigious shopping centers — Miami’s Bal Harbour Shops and New Jersey’s The Mall at Short Hills.
The two new stores represent the ninth and 10th locations for Lafayette 148 in the U.S., bringing the total number of full-line stores in its portfolio to 24 globally, with more planned in 2021.
Lafayette 148 has consistently said that growing its direct-to-consumer business is a key strategy for the company.
“The fact of the matter is that Bal Harbour has the highest dollar-per-square foot of any shopping center in the world — and Short Hills is the leading luxury destination to the greater New York market,” said Deirdre Quinn, cofounder and chief executive officer of Lafayette 148. “Our stores are such an important expression of our brand. As entrepreneurs, we’ve always had our eye on these key locations, and we saw an opportunity to establish our presence and put ourselves in a strong position for the future.”
The 2,730-square-foot boutique at Bal Harbour Shops, situated on the upper level, is Lafayette 148’s second location in the South Florida area. The other store is located at Brickell City Centre in Miami. The Bal Harbour shop opens Nov. 20.
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“We’re committed to building our retail presence in Florida, and this boutique helps us establish a strong, omnichannel experience where we have a dedicated e-commerce customer base,” said Paul Lechlinski, Lafayette 148’s vice president, e-commerce and retail boutiques. “This gives us the opportunity to personalize her shopping experience in a way that’s unique to the brick-and-mortar environment.”
The Bal Harbour location also gives the brand visibility with clients from Latin America, which is part of the company’s larger strategy to expand its international presence, said Lechlinksi. The offering will be curated to appeal to both local and international clients, with an eye toward luxury and exclusivity, including selective designs from Lafayette 148’s seasonal collections. The Bal Harbour shop will also be the exclusive Florida destination for the brand’s new shoe collection.
Overseen by Barbara Gast, Lafayette 148’s chief creative officer, the shop is part of the brand’s next-generation store design. The company introduced its re-branding this fall, including an evolved logo, new L Beam mark and updated brand palette, and these elements are incorporated throughout the store. The shop is designed as a bright, open space reflecting a New York SoHo loft with natural textures, architectural elements, custom millwork and accents that include a mix of woods, sleek metals, Italian leather and marble and stone finished set pieces. The furniture pieces include a Richard Artschwager mahogany console from the Fifties, De Padova sofa, Cassina 296 Kanu armchair and Piero Lissoni mirror.
Opening in December, the 1,792-square-foot boutique in The Mall at Short Hills will also reflect the label’s evolved branding and store design. It will feature an understated aesthetic, warm, woven textures and furnishings from European and contemporary designers. The shop, which is situated on the first floor, will open with the brand’s holiday 2020 collection.
Both Lafayette 148 stores will feature personalized service and extensive safety and cleaning protocols. “Safety is the new luxury at Lafayette 148 and we’re doing everything possible to keep our customers and teams safe during this un-ordinary time,” said Quinn. “This includes an appointment-preferred policy as well as amenities such as home delivery and virtual appointments with boutique stylists.
Lafayette 148 said that more stores are on deck for 2021. “There’s so much change in the industry right now, it’s important for us to be where our customer is, whether it be department stores, specialty stores, our own L148 boutiques, and even at home via the web and catalogue. We’re nurturing all of our channels, from wholesale to digital, our new AtelierDirect service and L148 boutiques, so we can meet her needs wherever she is,” said Quinn.
Lafayette 148 distributes online at lafayette148nyc.com, Tmall, WeChat and in 24 freestanding boutiques in the U.S. and China, as well as in specialty stores and luxury department stores around the world.
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