WWD Digital Daily
A| X Armani Exchange Returns To SoHo With New Flagship
The brand opened its first store in New York in 1991.
— More than 30 years after A|X Armani Exchange opened its first store in Manhattan in 1991, the brand has returned to SoHo with a new flagship.
Marking the second unit in New York, the 4,951-square-foot space is located at 536 Broadway, between Prince and Spring streets and just one block from the brand's first historic address.
“Returning to SoHo, where the A|X adventure started over 30 years ago, represents the closing of a circle and a new beginning for me,” said Giorgio Armani. “The brand's spirit of belonging and focus on the street remain unchanged, as does the idea of creating a dynamic and contemporary shopping experience. Today this means integrating technology and respect for the environment: a theme that is of great importance to all and especially the younger generations.”
“The store reflects this mindset and fits seamlessly yet with its own character into this neighborhood, which has always been a crossroads of different activities, representative of the energy that makes New York the Big Apple: a unique and electrifying metropolis that you can't help but love,” added the designer, who last week was bestowed the global business management degree from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in his hometown of Piacenza.
Offering men's and women's collections, with a large area dedicated to accessories including eyewear, watches and jewelry, the store covers a single level and is defined by minimal interiors. The space features two windows and a large central entrance fitting into the elegant facade of a building dating back to the early 1900s.
Designed by Armani and his team of architects, the location mirrors the new design concept marking other recent store openings from the brand, while enhancing the original architecture of the building, including the oak flooring, exposed brick walls, cast-iron columns with capitals and decorative stucco ceiling.
A distinctive element of the brand's stores, oak slats, are reprised on the walls and juxtaposed to the bricks, while a black LED runs throughout with graphic information and the logo. Other technologies installed to improve the customer experience comprise “Smart
Check Out” and “POS (point of sale) in Mobility” services for faster payments, as well as video walls.
On the environmental front, efforts ranged from using existing elements to employing materials — from metal to glass — that can be easily dismantled, reused and recycled. All wood was sourced from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests, while the lighting system was designed to minimize waste.
Last year, A|X Armani Exchange also opened its first flagship in Milan's central Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, between the Duomo cathedral and Piazza San Babila. The location was defined “perfect” by Armani as it could attract customers of different generations, “a heterogeneous public by age, provenance and inclinations.”
At the time, the company also launched a sales force recruiting campaign called “I Need You” and promoted both online through social media and offline through postings.
Launched in 1991, the same year of the SoHo store opening, the brand has always been a pioneer in online communication and retailing, launching its armaniexchange.com site in 1995 and adding online sales in 1997.
In 2014, Giorgio Armani bought the 50 percent of the company he did not already own and unveiled ambitious plans to turn this brand into “the first global Italian fastfashion brand targeting a young customer whose DNA is strongly Armani.”
In 2017, the importance of the brand was emphasized when Armani announced a restructuring of his labels, revealing his decision to cease the Armani Collezioni and Armani Jeans brands and use only the Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and A|X Armani Exchange names, blending Armani Collezioni and Armani Jeans into those three main lines.