Moschino is declaring its love for Paris.
The Italian brand will be the special guest of French department store Printemps, setting up a pop-up shop in the atrium of its Boulevard Haussmann flagship from May 17 to July 1 with an exclusive “Moschino Loves Printemps” capsule collection. In July, the label plans to open a store on Rue Saint-Honoré.
The boutique, located a stone’s throw from the Mandarin Oriental hotel in the vicinity of Chloé, Alexander McQueen and Coach, will introduce a new store concept that marks an evolution from the white art gallery-inspired design unveiled by creative director Jeremy Scott in Los Angeles in 2015.
Gabriele Maggio, who took over as general manager of the brand in 2016, said the new design — also developed in cooperation with Scott — will allow for greater flexibility and interaction with customers.
“With Jeremy, we decided to upgrade, to make more contemporary the experience we’re going to have in the store. It will be a completely dynamic store. It’s a place where you can really live an experience, changing every season, every month,” the former Gucci executive said.
“Online is becoming more and more important, but at the same time, stores, especially in the key locations, must become a real experience,” he added. “That’s why, the more we can be flexible, the more we can create appeal and attract customers and traffic in the store.”
In recent years, the brand has become known for its stark white boutiques featuring large-form installations of oversize cola cans, stilettos and handbags, which have drawn in passersby eager to capture the scene for Instagram. Maggio would like them to linger awhile.
“The mix of materials and the lights will be more appealing,” he said. “At the beginning, it’s really important to create comfortability and to create a more cozy atmosphere for them to come back.”
Once customers buy into the brand, they tend to stick with it, Maggio noted. That’s why, for the time being at least, Moschino plans to maintain its existing store on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, less than half a mile down the road from the new location.
“We still have a good, loyal customer that we want to keep. We will see by the end of this year how we can split the proposal between Rue Saint-Honoré and Faubourg Saint-Honoré, but at the moment, we want to keep both open,” he said.
The executive said he has had his eye on the coveted stretch of Rue Saint-Honoré for seven years, watching it become a new luxury epicenter in the wake of the opening last year of a Louis Vuitton flagship on neighboring Place Vendôme, to be followed shortly by a renovated Chanel store and an expanded Dior flagship nearby.
Though he declined to give figures, Maggio expects the new store to perform at least twice as well as the existing one. But more importantly, he is counting on the French capital’s visibility to broadcast the brand’s new retail strategy, which will be backed up by fleshed-out digital content.
“Paris, honestly, is still the No. 1 in terms of visibility, in terms of effect,” he said. “If you want to transfer a message of fashion, luxury and quality, Paris is the key location to be.”
For its pop-up at Printemps, Moschino has created a black and white space containing an oversized Moschino bear and a giant shopping bag display, a pinball machine and wall panels featuring huge zippers.
Scott has designed a capsule line of monochrome T-shirts, sweatshirts, knitwear and coats featuring some of the brand’s most recognizable motifs, including a biker teddy bear, a red heart and an archival “Moschino Couture!” graphic. Accessories include clutches, backpacks, tote bags, wallets and an umbrella.
The temporary space in the basement of the department store will also feature a selection of pre-fall womenswear and fall menswear pieces. A window of the store will feature a display of the collection.
Maggio is counting on special events to keep consumers engaged with the brand. To that end, he has put in place a marketing and digital team charged with producing regularly updated content, such as the video and GIF that will be used to promote the Printemps pop-up.
“We are talking mostly with a young customer and millennials, so we need to really understand the language to talk with them and the channel to talk with them. Digital and social media is a key channel for us to engage them, to become part of their life and for them to become part of our life,” he said.
Moschino recently crossed the threshold of 6 million followers on Instagram and launched a WeChat page in January, just in time for Chinese New Year. “The expectation from Tencent was to have 60,000, 65,000 loyal followers in the first six months. We got them in two weeks,” Maggio reported.
Revenues at Moschino totaled 230 million euros ($281 million) in 2017, up 11.7 percent from the previous year, in line with growth at parent company Aeffe SpA, which also controls the Alberta Ferretti, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and Pollini brands, and produces and distributes collections for Cédric Charlier and Jeremy Scott.
“I think we’re going to have a good double-digit growth in 2018,” Maggio said.
He credited Scott’s “instinctive” knack for capturing the pop culture zeitgeist — through collaborations with the likes of Mattel and McDonald’s — for significantly raising the brand’s visibility since he took over as creative director in 2013.
“Now we need to bring Moschino to a new level,” he said. “If we want to play a big role in the market, we need to be more organized, we need to be more effective in certain areas.”
After Paris, the brand plans to deploy the new concept in a store opening in China this year, to be followed by London and Milan in 2018. This fall, Moschino stands to get a big publicity boost with the launch of its collaboration with Swedish high-street retailer H&M.
“Moschino and H&M are a perfect match right now, especially because of the nature of the brand,” Maggio said. “It’s really democratic, much more than other brands in the market, so the combination, I think, will be very winning. But the main goal for us is to create visibility and awareness in a target of consumers that at the moment don’t have access to Moschino.”
To that end, the brand has boosted its categories, with Maggio reporting a positive reception for its first eyewear collection produced under license with Safilo and a “booming” childrenswear division. Moschino is restructuring its footwear offer and is mulling an interiors line, he added.
Increasingly, customers are leading the changes.
“Fashion has to work with the customer more and more. Some authorities or some kings in the market are no longer as powerful as in the past. We are living in a period when the customer is leading the market,” Maggio noted. “We need to make the brand accessible for them, make them part of our company.”