When Soho 119 opens on August 1st in the well-heeled Leawood suburb of Kansas City (one of the wealthiest counties in the US), offering shoppers a glass of merlot to savor as they peruse labels like Peter Som for Bill Blass, Donna Karan, Yeohlee, Moschino Cheap & Chic, M Missoni, D&G, Calvin Klein, Carlos Miele, Giuseppe Zanotti, Jenni Kayne, Gryphon and Bensoni - the question of whether something can play in Peoria may finally be irrelevant.
"We've done our due diligence, and our focus groups, and know there's a population that feels forced to travel to find the right fashion," John Wilson, president and CEO of Three Wildcats (and formerly with Vestimenta, Ferragamo, Nordstrom) told WWD in a recent article about their new, "experiential" 12,000 foot luxury concept store located in the ritzy One Nineteen
shopping lifestyle center. Aimed at the 25+ set, on-point trendy fashions and chic classics (with Ralph Lauren Black Label, Jaz by Joseph Abboud, Malo, Just Cavalli, Rag & Bone, Fred Perry and Hugo Boss for the men) will share selling space with shoes, accessories, a high-end spa specializing in cutting-edge grape-derived treatments & products, and a wine & mozzarella bar. The space itself will be artsy and gallery like, combining the industrial look of clean white walls and matte steel details with luxurious materials such as mahogany tables, modern wood floors, screens, chandeliers, and even asymmetrical windows - centrally divided into the men's and women's sections by a 90 foot "avenue" of polished concrete. “Style conscious consumers are looking for an elevated shopping experience. Soho 119 is a chic alternative to traditional department store shopping. In addition to offering impeccable fashion, we are providing experiential elements via the vinotherapy spa and café wine & mozzarella bar, which speak to the shoppers’ lifestyle.”
Despite its Gotham-centric name which was inspired by the ritzy NYC nabe where fashion and art intersect, it's more of a suggestion."There's a certain part of New York you can take to the Midwest, things people like about New York, but there are also local shopping habits. It's a balancing act. We are not trying to impose a New York fashion sensibility," points out Chief Creative Officer, Carmella Spinelli (formerly the associate chair of fashion design at Parsons The New School for Design). "It's not so much of a price point as an aesthetic and a look." Instead of the typical merchandising by category - blazers separately, shoes in their own area, a wall of denim - they're creating a "blended" presentation. "There will be day-to-night on one rack — literally...Today, dressing well extends to more than sartorial awareness; it encompasses all elements of life. We want to dress women in all of their lifestyle needs, with an international point of view, a New York sophistication, a sense of fun, sexiness and modernity. That means not getting stuck in trend. It's more about style and lifestyle."
- Lesley Scott
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