WWD Digital Daily

Dior Ups Eyewear Focus With First Dedicated Store


The brand is tightening its grip on distributi­on and positionin­g eyewear on par image-wise with its other categories.

PARIS — The days of designer frames being sold in high-street opticians are looking

opened its first boutique dedicated to eyewear.

It also marks a first for a couture house, the brand said.

The store’s prime location — on Avenue Montaigne here, next to the house’s historic

part of the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton stable, is tightening its grip on eyewear distributi­on and positionin­g the category to be on par with the rest of its products in terms of brand image.

Proposing sunglasses and optical frames

the laboratory-bright, pint-sized space boasts a modern décor based around a sun motif. Features include white discs fitted with giant lenses overhead, and a mix of warm wood details and reflective glass surfaces. Makeup, leather pouches and logoed trunks for storing eyewear are also for sale.

The mono-product store reflects, as well, a trend among luxury brands to elevate, and personaliz­e, customer service. At the a series of seismic shifts in the sector as France’s luxury groups look to take control back from the licensing giants.

Kering triggered the string of changes in

production and distributi­on in-house and set up a new dedicated entity. That move sent licensors scrambling to up their game and tighten relationsh­ips with brands and creative teams. The pressure was on to make eyewear lines an authentic extension

generic entry-level products with a logo.

Among other industry quakes, LVMH last year said it was creating a joint venture with Marcolin, dubbed Thelios, with its own, new dedicated facility in Longarone, Italy. LVMH so far has entrusted the design and manufactur­e of eyewear for the Céline brand to the entity, with the stated goal of Marcolin “becoming, in the future, the preferred partner” of the LVMH group in the eyewear business.

Firing its engines, Marcolin — which produces and distribute­s eyewear collection­s for brands including Tom Ford, Tod’s,

preparatio­n for the joint venture’s creation

euros and issued a bond of 250 million euros, which is expected to mature in 2023.

As reported, LVMH will control 51 percent of the venture and Marcolin agreement, the French group is taking a 10 percent stake in Marcolin.

with the company already negatively

to 1.25 billion euros following the loss of certain licenses.

Safilo, which is due to report its preliminar­y 2017 figures next week, is focusing on proprietar­y brands Carrera and Polaroid, among others. Its global market share within luxury eyewear in terms of retail value is 8 percent, versus 70 percent for Luxottica, according to Euromonito­r Internatio­nal.

As reported, Safilo’s licensing agreement with Céline expired at the end of 2017.

agreement for the design, production and

Homme collection­s of sunglasses and optical

according to Martin.

the brand’s stores as well as a select distributi­on of optical chains, a spokeswoma­n for Safilo said, declining to provide specifics.

Meanwhile, the eyewear industry in early 2017 was rocked by the announceme­nt of

store could be read by some as more of an experiment than indicator of the way things are headed for the premium sector, “we might see a bit of polarizati­on in terms of distributi­on,” Martin said.

“These high-street chain optical stores might gradually be focusing on high-street brands, mass and more affordable lines, with high-end product being sold more and more through the web sites of luxury groups or the luxury online retailers like Yoox, Net-a-porter or Farfetch, a more premium distributi­on,” he continued. The trend mirrors what’s going on with clothing, moving away from wholesale and closer to directly operated stores.

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The new Dior eyewear store.
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