EXCLUSIVE: Zadig & Voltaire Sets a Stateside Expansion-------
Let’s be serious: Most of us stateside fashionphiles secretly (or in my case, not-so-secretly) wish we were un petit peu français. Well, this spring, Paris-based Zadig & Voltaire will both satiate and capitalize on our cultural envy by bowing five new U.S. stores. Having first opened in the States in 2009, the brand, best known for its edgy men’s and women’s basics with a twist, will add five locations—one in Miami, one in D.C., one in Chicago, and two in Los Angeles—to its existing five American outposts, four of which are in New York and one of which is in L.A. Thierry Gillier, Zadig & Voltaire’s founder, reports that the brand does about 15 percent of its sales in the U.S. “We wanted to take our U.S. expansion slowly—we opened one shop, then another, and we were lucky to get the corner in the Mark Hotel on Madison Avenue [in 2012]. But now we have some very confident American customers, so we are moving further into the market,” explained Gillier when asked why he decided to grow his U.S. presence. Another factor was that he wanted to scoop up prime retail real estate before it’s all gone. “Three years ago on Mercer Street [where Zadig & Voltaire has a boutique], there were only a few stores. Now you can’t get a space. It’s the same everywhere.” Gillier told Style.com that in its latest U.S. push, Zadig & Voltaire rented the last available shop on L.A.’s Rodeo Drive—not too shabby.
Set to bow between April and June, each of the five forthcoming stores will have a city-specific design. L.A.’s locations, for example, will boast a “white concept.” But the new shops aren’t all that Zadig & Voltaire has in the pipeline. At the end of March, the brand will launch the second edition of its Style Sans Frontières capsule, the proceeds of which go toward Doctors Without Borders. This season’s muse and collaborator is model Freja Beha Erichsen, who also happens to be the star of Zadig & Voltaire’s Terry Richardson-lensed Spring ’14 campaign (above).
Asked his thoughts on why Zadig & Voltaire is popular in the U.S., Gillier offered, “I think Americans have a little French in their hearts—and the design is a bit different from what American brands are giving them.” He’s got us pegged. Vive la France!