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Fendi Expands Canadian Presence with Multiple Concession Boutique Expansion

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Italian luxury brand  Fendi has unveiled its latest Canadian storefront at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. It’s part of an overall expansion strategy for the brand that is seeing Fendi opening direct-to-consumer retail spaces in a partnership and could eventually lead to standalone units in major centres. 

Fendi’s new Yorkdale store includes a facade and mall-facing entranceway into a new luxury corridor at Yorkdale, as well as an entrance from within the mall’s Holt Renfrew store. The Fendi concession space includes about 1,900 square feet of retail space as well as additional space for storage and back-of-house activities. 

The beautiful new store is divided into three distinct areas including a handbags/ leather goods department with accessories, a footwear salon, and a women’s ready-to-wear area, that also includes an offering of Fendi’s fur line. The boutique’s walls have hand-applied finishes to create texture, which contrast against brass and Italian marble and limestone within the new space. Handmade powder pink and lavender carpets contrast with champaign coloured silk modular velvet sofas and burgundy arm chairs. Furniture and other fixtures were imported from Rome, according to the company. Archive sketches by late Fendi designer, Karl Lagerfeld, adorn walls in the boutique. 

WOMEN’S ACCESSORY AREA AT FENDI YORKDALE PHOTO: MICHAEL MUREZ
PHOTO: RETAIL INSIDER (MALL-FACING ENTRANCE OF FENDI YORKDALE)

The boutique’s entrance into Holt Renfrew faces towards Holts’ recently renovated menswear department, and a short distance away is a separate men’s Fendi boutique that has operated there for about a year. The men’s Fendi boutique (also operated as a concession by Fendi) features men’s ready-to-wear, as well as leather goods, accessories, and some fur items. 

PHOTO: RETAIL INSIDER (FENDI MEN’S CONCESSION AT HOLT RENFREW YORKDALE)

An official opening event on the evening of October 16 saw dozens of fashionably dressed patrons descend on the new space. A DJ played R&B music while visitors eyed a new fashion collaboration between Fendi and musician Nicki Minaj. The bold collection features pieces in neon pink and metallics. Fendi’s Yorkdale storefront is the only Fendi location to carry the Minaj collaboration. Other Fendi stores also carrying the line include two New York City stores (Madison Avenue and Soho), Beverly Hills (Rodeo Drive), Miami (Design District), Atlanta (Lenox Square), Houston (Galleria) and in Mexico City at the Pedregal Artz shopping centre. The Yorkdale Fendi boutique is the only location shop-in-store concession to carry the collaboration.

Coinciding with the partnership launch is a unique Fendi-branded pop-up near the main entrance of Holt Renfrew, where visitors could have their photos taken in a mirrored space that created an ‘infinity’ effect.

WOMEN’S READY-TO-WEAR AND FURS AT FENDI YORKDALE. PHOTO: MICHAEL MURAZ

As with many luxury brands, Fendi has embraced the streetwear trend which includes sweatpants and tops made from performance-gear materials. Fendi footwear, including a variety of sneakers, has become popular in major markets with a particular focus on Asian shoppers. Fendi’s Yorkdale store also carries more classic pieces characteristic of the heritage brand, which until recently was designed by Karl Lagerfeld, who died in February of this year.

While the new Yorkdale Fendi boutique is technically a leased space within Holt Renfrew, the size and selection of its two shops is as comprehensive as standalone units in major markets globally. Fendi has been expanding its presence within Holt Renfrew over the past couple of years, including opening leased boutiques at Holt Renfrew stores in Vancouver and, soon, Montreal. 

PHOTO: MICHAEL MURAZ

Vancouver was the first to get a Fendi women’s ready-to-wear concession, which opened in a space on the store’s upper level women’s floor after Chanel moved to a larger space downstairs in the summer of 2016. Fendi also operates an accessory boutique on the main floor of the Vancouver Holt Renfrew store as well as a men’s concession on the men’s floor. 

Fendi unveiled its first ‘world of’ concession at Holt Renfrew’s Toronto flagship at 50 Bloor Street West in January of 2019. The space spans about 3,000 square feet and features sections dedicated to menswear, accessories and bags, footwear and women’s apparel and furs. 

PHOTO: HOLT RENFREW

In Montreal, Fendi will open three separate shops at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy by the time the store’s construction is completed next spring. That includes a ground-level accessory and leather goods boutique that will be part of a luxury hall which will include many of the world’s top luxury brands. On the fourth floor of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy, Fendi will open a menswear concession as part of the impressive 40,000 square foot menswear hall that we reported on in the spring of this year. A women’s Fendi ready-to-wear boutique will also open on the third floor of Holt Renfrew Ogilvy early next year along with other luxury brands on the highly anticipated women’s designer floor. 

While Fendi does not currently operate standalone storefronts in Canada, sources say that the brand had recently been looking at spaces in Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville area to open a large flagship store. The Vancouver market is also said to be a target. While finding retail space in downtown Vancouver’s ‘luxury zone’ has proved challenging for some retailers, QuadReal’s Oakridge Centre is said to be courting luxury brands along a stretch in the overhauled centre that will become home to several of the world’s biggest names (Tiffany & Co. recently relocated to that wing). Carbonleo is also said to be interested in securing Fendi as a tenant for its Royalmount project that is now under construction in Montreal, though nothing is confirmed for any standalone Fendi storefronts in Canada at this time. 

In the early 2000’s a Fendi accessory and leather goods boutique operated for a couple of years at the northwest corner of Burrard Street and Alberni Street in what was an earlier version of Vancouver’s ‘luxury zone’. The storefront, which had the address 1005 Alberni Street, was operated by multi-brand retailer Collections International which at one time operated various brands in adjacent spaces including Hermes, Nina Ricci, Gold Pfeil and Alfred Dunhill. That corner is now occupied by a large Tiffany & Co. flagship which saw a significant expansion in the spring of 2017

PHOTO: HOLT RENFREW OGILVY MONTREAL

Under the ownership umbrella of conglomerate LVMH since 2001, the House of Fendi was launched in 1925 by Adele and Edoardo Fendi. It was originally set up as a small fur and leather shop in Via del Plebiscito, Rome, and the brand has grown to become a multinational brand with stores operating all over the world. Due to its almost immediate success, in 1946 Adele and Edoardo’s five daughters (Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla and Alda) joined the company, bringing with them new ideas and energy.

In 1965, Karl Lagerfeld joined the House as a young German designer. He went on to revolutionizing the wearing of fur by reinterpreting it and transforming it into a fashionable, soft, light item of clothing. Born of this idea was House’s ready-to-wear collection that was launched in 1977. Since 1994, Silvia Venturini Fendi, daughter of Anna Fendi, has been the creative director for accessories and men’s lines. Both Karl and Silvia worked collaboratively on creative projects until his death.

Fendi operates a network of standalone stores in major global centres as well as concession shop-in-stores in high-end retailers worldwide.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Editor-in-Chief of Retail Insider and President/CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton, and consultant to the Retail Council of Canada. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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