Monday, September 5, 2011

Michael Kors gets a (swanky) new address

Michael Kors has plenty to celebrate these days. In addition to recently tying the knot with longtime partner - and creative director for Kors' brand - Lance LePere in a private ceremony, the Project Runway judge just signed a 10-year lease on a new, covetable address to add to his handful of Manhattan store outposts: 610 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10020. That puts him next door to the Armani Exchange flagship store - 5th Avenue and 20th Street, between 49th and Channel Gardens - to be precise.

The newly acquired store in Rockefeller Center officially opened its doors September 3, making it Kors's largest flagship store to date. The space has 15-foot ceilings and is roughly 7,000 square feet - 4,500 square feet on the ground floor and a little less than 3,000 square feet underground for office space and storage - which is more than enough room for the designer to lay out an impressive array of his products. In fact, the store is so massive it has an entire room set aside just for his jewelry and popular line of watches. Kors has been quoted as referring to this room affectionately as, "my Harry Winston".

The jewelry room in Kors' new Fifth Avenue flagship store

The store mirrors the aesthetic of many of his locations - bright lighting, white marble floors with zebra skin hide and dark wood accents - and will carry ready to wear from the Michael Michael Kors line, accessories and Kors Michael Kors collections.

A look at just a few of the accessories carried in the new Michael Kors Fifth Avenue flagship store

“The opening of my lifestyle flagship boutique at Rockefeller Center is an extremely humbling and exciting reality,” Kors said in a statement. “As both a designer and a native New Yorker, what could be more incredible than a store in the heart of the city at Rockefeller Center?”

Robin Abrams of The Lansco Corp agrees. "Rockefeller Center is one of the most heavily trafficked tourist locations with a broad customer base," Abrams said. She believes the owners of the Rock Center, Tishman Speyer Properties, would not rent to the designer if he wasn't on par with the neighboring retailers. "Kors will benefit both from the merchants south of them and the luxury corridor north of them, which has very few vacancies and is one of the few corridors that has increased in terms of rental prices."

According to the Real Estate Board of New York's fall 2010 rental report, Kors could be paying anywhere from $2,100 to $2,500 per foot.

"We’d always come ice-skating here, me very badly and grabbing the railing," the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award told WWD. "I celebrated my 30th birthday at the Rainbow Room with a fake surprise party that I wasn't surprised by." Kors planned to celebrate the flagship store opening by shutting down 49th Street for Fashion’s Night Out with a special performance by the Rockettes.

The store's location used to be Kenneth Cole's flagship store, which closed its doors earlier this year. Sadly, this makes the eighth full-priced location for Cole to close.

Just last year Kors opened a store on Bleecker Street, which used to be occupied by Olive & Bette's. In addition to all the buzz surrounding his newly opened New York locations, Kors is also rumored to be considering a space on Los Angeles' Robertson Boulevard as well as the Peninsula Hong Kong. By the end of spring 2011, the Michael Kors brand will operate approximately 175 freestanding stores worldwide.

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