Valextra is bringing a contact of Milanese sobriety and its “engineered magnificence” to Paris with its first flagship retailer within the French capital, opening right this moment at 267 Rue Saint Honoré.
“It took a while. I needed to search out the suitable location, the suitable cradle for Valextra as a result of we’re fairly a selected model with an extended historical past and an aesthetic that may be very distinctive.” mentioned Xavier Rougeaux, chief govt officer of the Italian leather-based items agency.
The brand new Valextra retailer sits on one of many French capital’s most vibrant and upscale thoroughfares, and boasts such well-known neighbors as Fendi, Christian Louboutin, Loewe, Celine, and Valentino.
“I feel for the French buyer or for the worldwide buyer who may not know us, I feel it’s reassuring to search out us in a location that speaks to the values of our model and expresses a way of luxurious,” Rougeaux commented.
Certainly, the manager expects Paris to rapidly change into one among Valextra’s prime 5 shops on this planet, “if not the highest three.”
Based in 1937 by Italian engineer Giovanni Fontana, the luxurious home at present operates 38 freestanding shops on this planet, with its on-line boutique bringing the entire to 39.
The model is prized for its refined, hand-crafted luggage and leather-based items marked by a signature black-lacquer piping hand-dabbed on lower edges. This characteristic is echoed within the outstanding black body across the giant store-front window of the Paris retailer, whereas the door deal with resembles one among tabs used to open Valextra’s fashionable Tric Trac wrist bag.
The enlargement into Paris comes amid robust enterprise momentum for Valextra. Whereas Rougeaux didn’t present income figures, he mentioned internet gross sales in 2022 jumped 43.6 p.c, supporting a double-digit EBITDA margin.
As of the tip of September, internet gross sales are up 31 p.c versus final yr, he added.
Whereas Valextra has lengthy welcomed French shoppers in its Rome, London and different worldwide boutiques and its on-line retailer, the model has solely been current in France since 2016 by way of shop-in-shops at Le Bon Marché and Galeries Lafayette in Paris. A location inside Printemps was added extra not too long ago.
“The French market is a vital one for Valextra, and it represents greater than 25 p.c of our enterprise in Europe,” he famous.
Rougeaux mentioned it was necessary the structure and decor of the Paris boutique mix signifiers of Valextra’s Milanese roots with its Parisian environment.
Therefore a traditional French facade that’s capped with darkish inexperienced marble from the north of Italy — inexperienced being an iconic colour for the model that recurs inside on partitions, carpeting and shiny service luggage.
The inside template was conceived by Milan-based agency Andrea Tognon Structure, which has signed a number of Valextra boutiques in China, together with in Chengdu, Shenzhen and Hangzhou, and executed in-house.
Rougeaux described its boutiques as venues for storytelling, engagement and glorifying the product. Echoing different Valextra areas, the design relies on clear traces, a restrained colour palette of principally plaster white and darkish inexperienced, with some quirky, up to date furnishings and bespoke artworks for “character” and “pressure.”
Among the many latter is a Plexiglass sculpture incorporating an historic wooden beam and resting on a marble base. Titled “Inclusioni B,” the work by Italian architect and designer Andrea Branzi underlines Valextra’s hyperlinks to Milanese design.
Rougeaux described a singular design strategy in mid-century Italy that was all about “creating one thing lovely, however on the identical time, it must be balanced with a way of performance.
“Valextra designs merchandise… with a magnificence that comes out of perform. And it’s delivered to life by design and texture,” he defined. “Shopping for a Valextra purse is an funding, one thing that you simply go on to the following generations.”
Upon getting into the 650-square-foot retailer, prospects alight on shows of baggage and leather-based items. Previous a central seating hugged by a curved shelving unit, which heightens a residential “salon” environment, is a 3rd zone with circumstances displaying luggage in unique skins, and males’s enterprise circumstances.
Amongst exclusives are Iside luggage custom-made with embroideries by artist Sandrine Torredemer, who works below the nom de plume La Filature, and Iside luggage obtainable in a particular Palmellato leather-based that’s hand-finished with the palms of artisans for a particular textured impact.
Rougeaux, who had been Valextra’s advertising and business director from 2015 to 2016, returned to the agency as CEO in January 2021 after a three-year stint as CEO of Smythson in London. He beforehand held senior positions at luxurious manufacturers together with Loro Piana and Sergio Rossi.
Valextra is planning a slate of occasions later this month to rejoice its retail enterprise in Paris, together with an in-store cocktail and a gala dinner.