In recent months, the Wynn has found itself in hot water after allegations emerged that hotel founder Steve Wynn had sexually harassed employees. He has since resigned as chairman and CEO. But despite the controversy, the hotel and casino is forging ahead and is looking to compete in the Las Vegas luxury landscape with its latest retail rehaul.
Wynn Las Vegas is opening its much-anticipated 70,000-square-foot Wynn Plaza on Oct. 11. Sitting directly on Las Vegas Boulevard, the retail destination includes restaurants and a collection of approximately 30 luxury brands mixed in with lifestyle labels. This doubles the resort’s retail offerings, which include shops from Christian Louboutin, Aquazzura, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
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“The guest experience is that it’s all here,” explained Frank Visconti, SVP of retail at Wynn, whom FN caught up with as he was working on grand-opening celebrations. “It’s still a work in progress, but Oct. 11 will be somewhat of a soft opening. We will have about a month’s worth of festivities spread out over a period prior to the holidays.”
Here, Visconti dives into more details on what consumers can expect.
Why was there a need for expansion?
“At Wynn retail, we enjoy one of the highest performances in terms of sales per square foot in the industry in this country, and our business was bursting at the seams, so we simply needed more retail space. The Plaza effectively almost doubles our total square footage, and that’s noteworthy because in an era of depressing brick-and-mortar statistics and contraction of actual four-wall stores, we needed to more than double our space, so that was certainly part of the original strategy. There was [also] a whole roster of potential tenants who wanted to be in the building, and we just didn’t have any room. That was certainly a driving force in this development, creatively and strategically.”
What was the overall vision?
“We wanted to do something different. We have arguably one of the better collections of luxury brands under one roof now, and with the way consumer taste levels were going, we thought it was time to create something a bit different, especially for Wynn Plaza on the second level. We created this destination for California contemporary lifestyle casual, which really wasn’t in the building before.”
What are the types of shoppers Wynn Plaza is catering to?
“In today’s retail world, men wear sneakers with Kiton suits, and women carry Chanel handbags when they are dressed in denim, so we thought playing to that would set us apart and make us unique. In fact, the two anchor restaurants reflect that strategy for Wynn Plaza. On the first level, which is a continuation of luxury, we have Cipriani, which is a New York restaurant known for the bellini crowd, along with Balmain, Céline, Chanel and Hermès. For the second level, we anchored it with Urth Caffé, which is an L.A. phenomenon that started out as an organic heirloom coffee and tea purveyor with all very health-conscious fare, and we threw in SoulCycle, one of the premier fitness brands. We then surrounded those two with a collection of California contemporary lifestyle casual retail shops.”
With the addition of Cipriani, has Las Vegas landed a new power lunch spot?
“At Wynn, we have the highest level of well-heeled and sophisticated world travelers, and they all know the name Cipriani. It will be their only effort in the West, and we are very proud of that. Normally, in a lot of shopping centers, you don’t get these marquee-quality food and beverage operations, and to have them anchor our shopping destination was a coup.”
There will be a lot of SoulCycle enthusiasts who will be celebrating its arrival, but is it unusual for it to be in a retail space?
“We didn’t want to build a typical mall; we wanted some additional interest for our guests. SoulCycle is one of the more exciting components here and is going to be a home run, generating a lot of new and different traffic in a shopping environment.”
What was the process for curating the brands featured at Wynn Plaza?
“Brands like Balmain, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Céline — these were all folks who weren’t here yet, so that was the core list that we targeted. There were 10 or 12 of them, all of whom we ultimately got. The second floor became a different kind of list, where we were looking at James Perse, Cotton Citizen, RTA and more contemporary casual brands that aren’t in the city yet, for the most part.”
As far as the architecture and design,
how does Wynn Plaza differ from a typical retail space?
“The first thing you will notice is the light and the volume created by designer Roger Thomas, who originally designed Mirage and Bellagio [hotels]. It’s his latest iteration. His design aesthetic is just airy and lit, and [has] this magnificent volume of space.”
What will Wynn Plaza shoppers not find anywhere else?
“The combination of this contemporary casual offering mixed with luxury is somewhat unique. We probably have a dozen brands you can’t find anywhere else in Las Vegas. There’s Louis Vuitton Men’s, Marie France Van Damme, well-known LVMH brand Kenzo, James Perse out of L.A., RTA, Cotton Citizen and Loewe.”
What footwear offerings will Wynn Plaza bring to the marketplace?
“There’s some things I can’t divulge yet; however, we will have a leading purveyor of sneakers. These folks enjoy the top-tier license with Nike and Adidas, so they get everything that those folks issue, all special editions like the Kobe shoes and everything else. It’s a 2,000-square-foot store. In the Plaza itself, we don’t have any other shoe stores because we have created a shoe corridor on the Encore Esplanade, where we recently brought in Louboutin and Aquazzura. Footwear is a very important component of Louis Vuitton Men’s, which opened here last September.”
What is on tap for male shoppers?
“We are very excited about Céline, which will have a large store at Wynn Plaza. With the addition of their new artistic director, Hedi Slimane, who is very focused on men’s, a significant portion of that store will be devoted to [the male shopper]. Céline’s new men’s collection will launch here in November when that store opens. We also have Stefano Ricci, we have a shop-in-shop in our Bottega Veneta store, and there’s Saint Laurent, Hermès, Brioni and Ferragamo all in the building.”
How will Wynn Plaza reshape the way Las Vegas tourists shop and play?
“The way it was architecturally and geographically crafted is, you can park in our main valet, enter Wynn Plaza, have your bellini at Cipriani, work out at SoulCycle, pick up your organic coffee at Urth Caffé, shop and then leave without experiencing the casino if you care not to. When it’s all done, we will have 55 to 60 tenants here. This is one of the bigger retail spaces in a lresort. So you can enjoy the five-star resort experience of Wynn and Encore, and not leave for any reason, because you can buy your jeans here, you can buy your sneakers here, and you can buy your Birkin bag here. That sets us apart.”
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