Paris-based luxury jewellery brand Van Cleef & Arpels has unveiled a large two-level flagship retail space in Vancouver at 1069 Alberni Street. The boutique, which spans more than 4,000 square feet, is second in size only to the Manhattan flagship in the Americas, and marks a milestone for Vancouver’s burgeoning, world-class Luxury Zone.
The Vancouver boutique is a particularly special location for Van Cleef & Arpels, because it marks the first time that the brand has built its own retail space from the ground-up — The Alberni Street building was constructed in partnership with Kingswood Capital, and houses another Richemont brand, IWC Schaffhausen, in a building measuring about 6,200 square feet. Mario Negris and Martin Moriarty of CBRE Vancouver handled both transactions.
The Alberni Street building’s facade features gold metallic draperies behind polished glass, creating a shimmering effect on the exterior of the boutique. The store’s interior is beautiful, with a first floor featuring handmade Murano glass chandeliers, custom gold-leaf paneling on the walls, lush velvet draperies and bubble-shaped glass vitrines. An Art Deco stairway leads upstairs to a private salon and Library, which offer a more intimate environment for clients to view pieces that can cost well into the six figures and even more.
The Vancouver boutique is the second-largest Van Cleef & Arpels location in the Americas, surpassed only by the company’s 6,000 square foot Maison at the corner of 5th Avenue and 57th Streets in New York City. Vancouver’s luxury zone is home to a remarkably robust collection of large flagships the Rolex boutique at 1119 Alberni Street is already the largest in the Americas at 2,750 square feet, and it’s expanding even further. Luxury watch brand Hublot, which opened in the summer across from Van Cleef & Arpels, is one of its largest globally and as well, the 4,800 square foot two-level Saint Laurent boutique on nearby Thurlow Street is also one of the company’s largest — and more large flagships are on the way for the area, including updated flagship spaces for Cartier and Hermes.
Vancouver’s new Van Cleef & Arpels boutique is the second standalone location in Canada for the brand. In the summer of 2017, Van Cleef & Arpels opened its first freestanding Canadian boutique at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, in a one-level 1,620 square foot retail space — the new Vancouver flagship is more than twice the size of the Yorkdale store.
Van Cleef & Arpels entered the Canadian market in 2006 when it opened a partner boutique with Canadian jewellery chain Birks at Toronto’s Manulife Centre on Bloor Street West. A Vancouver Birks boutique followed, and that space was expanded to 1,435 square feet in early 2016, featuring a street-front entrance onto Granville Street. The Toronto Birks boutique will also gain a street-front entrance onto Bloor Street West when it opens in an overhauled Birks flagship next year.
Van Cleef & Arpels is owned by luxury conglomerate Richemont Group, which also operates several other boutiques in Canada. Richemont’s watch brand IWC Schaffhausen opened last week next to Van Cleef & Arpels at 1071 Alberni Street, and another Richemont watch brand, Officine Panerai, opened in the fall of 2017 at 1008 Alberni Street.
Founded in 1906 by Alfred Van Cleef and his brothers-in-law Charles and Julien Arpels on the Place Vendome in Paris, Van Cleef & Arpels is considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious jewellery brands. Van Cleef & Arpels currently operates 14 freestanding locations in the United States. Cities include New York City, Aspen CO, Bal Harbour FL, Beverly Hills, Costa Mesa CA, Chicago, Las Vegas (x2), Manhasset NY, Miami, Houston, Naples FL, Palm Beach FL, and Short Hills NJ. Noticeably absent are large cities with plenty of luxury brands such as San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC, and Dallas. All of the latter four metro regions, with the exception of Boston, feature Van Cleef & Arpels shop-in-stores at Neiman Marcus.
*Thank you Helen Siwak for providing us with external photos of the new Vancouver store.