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Fendi Opens 1st Standalone Canadian Storefront [Photos]

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LVMH-owned Italian luxury brand Fendi has opened its first standalone storefront in Canada at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The move follows Holt Renfrew’s banning of fur being sold in its stores last year. 

The new Yorkdale Fendi storefront encompasses the brand’s range of women’s and men’s ready-to-wear as well as an assortment of bags/leather goods, accessories and footwear. Also included is an impressive collection of fur items ranging from coats to fur-covered bags. The retail space spans about 1,900 square feet and a lease plan indicates that the store is over 4,000 square feet in total. 

The interior features champagne metals and stainless-steel cabinetry with soft fluid walls and plush carpeting. Inside the store are three ‘rooms’ housing different collections. At the front of the store is a space of ivory and natural tones housing bags and accessories in a range of popular styles — Fendi made its mark in the 1990s with the ‘baguette’ bag style that is still sold today. 

Front accessory/bag room at Fendi Yorkdale. Photo: Fendi

A second room in the middle of the store houses women’s collections including ready-to-wear, shoes and fur, in a space characterized by a powder pink interior. A third room at the back features vivid green curtains and carpeting with silver panelling and modular furniture and houses Fendi’s men’s ready-to-wear along with accessories and shoes. To coincide with the opening of the standalone store, Fendi pulled its menswear collection out of Holt Renfrew where it had a separate men’s concession — Fendi otherwise continues to operate a large women’s concession space within Yorkdale’s Holt Renfrew store which opened in 2019.

Panels in the standalone Fendi store feature archival versions of the FF logo designed by Karl Lagerfeld displayed throughout in 3-D handmade plaster in ivory or silver tone. The FF logo theme is also found on the store’s facade in off-white plaster, positioned above a metal canopy which lands adjacent to a lightbox displaying FENDI’s newest campaign. 

The ceiling in the store is in an unfinished state, contrasting with the rest of the store which features a more polished aesthetic. The Yorkdale Fendi store is said to be on an initial two-year lease term and it’s unknown if more standalone Fendi stores will open in Canada, or if the Yorkdale location will stay open past the initial two years. 

DWSV Realty negotiated the lease on behalf of Fendi. Oxford Properties manages the Yorkdale Shopping Centre. 

Women’s ready to wear, footwear and fur. Photo: Fendi

While the Fendi brand had been in Canada for decades via wholesale through Holt Renfrew, Fendi quietly launched a direct-to-consumer expansion into the Canadian market in early 2017 when it opened a “flagship” women’s ready-to-wear boutique within the Holt Renfrew store in Vancouver. Fendi subsequently opened “world of” concession spaces at Holt Renfrew in Toronto (50 Bloor Street West in late 2018 and Yorkdale Shopping Centre in October of 2019) and Fendi most recently opened concession spaces within Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal. 

The two Toronto Fendi concession boutique spaces are particularly large. The Bloor Street Fendi space spans nearly 3,000 square feet and carries a wide assortment of clothing, bags and footwear for women and men. The Yorkdale Shopping Centre Fendi space spans almost 2,000 square feet. 

At Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal, Fendi has separate concession spaces for bags and accessories on the street level, a women’s fashion boutique on the third floor and a men’s boutique on the fourth floor men’s store. 

Last year Holt Renfrew announced that its stores would stop selling fur and exotic skins, a trend seen in the industry including with several luxury fashion brands. That didn’t sit too well with the House of Fendi which was founded nearly 100 years ago as a purveyor of fur. A source told Retail Insider that Fendi and other brands found out about the fur and exotic skin ban during a public announcement, creating some concern and a move to open standalone storefronts. 

Men’s room at Fendi Yorkdale. Photo: Fendi
Image: Fendi

Fashion houses that have stopped using fur with concessions at Holts include Gucci, Chanel, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Prada, Bottega Veneta, and Burberry. Some brands continue to do so though these products cannot be sold within Holt Renfrew’s walls, even for the brand spaces leased within. 

Luxury brand Christian Dior, which has concessions at Holts in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, does still produce fur items although it is not as integral to collections as that seen with Fendi. Dior already operates standalone stores in Vancouver and Toronto where fur can continue to be sold. 

Louis Vuitton utilizes some exotic skins in pricier designs, though the brand is not known to use such hides in regular items such as Vuitton’s popular canvas bags. Louis Vuitton operates concessions within Holts stores in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, and is able to sell non-Holts-sanctioned products in its network of standalone stores in Canada. 

Image: Fendi

Hermes is not known particularly for its fur, though it does sell some pricey items in exotic skins. Hermes operates concessions within Holt Renfrew’s Calgary and Montreal locations and also has standalone flagships in Vancouver and Toronto. 

Fur isn’t the only issue with some brands at Holts — sources are saying that some of the concession partners are unhappy with Holt Renfrew and are making demands in terms of space allocation. Dior is said to be wanting ‘world of’ spaces where such a move would be “nearly impossible”, and Prada is another brand said to have expressed displeasure with its biggest Canadian partner. 

Fendi has had some history in Canada. The brand had a licensed standalone Canadian store about two decades ago in Vancouver. In the spring of 1996, entrepreneur Susan Pratt opened a small Fendi boutique at 1005 Alberni Street as part of her Collections International retail operations. The boutique shut in the early 2000s after Fendi was acquired by LVMH. Ms. Pratt continues to operate a boutique called Fabulous Finds on Bowen, on Bowen Island in British Columbia which recently marked 10 years in business. 

In the United States, Fendi could also open more standalone stores as several upscale multi-brand retailers have announced fur-free policies. That includes Nordstrom which banned fur as of the start of this year, and Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue which will both stop selling fur by 2023. All three retailers house Fendi boutiques within selected locations. For years Fendi has had standalone stores in the United States. 

The House of Fendi was founded in 1925 by Adele and Edoardo Fendi which operated as a small fur and leather shop in Via del Plebiscito, Rome. The brand has grown to become a multinational brand with stores operating all over the world. 

In 1965, Karl Lagerfeld became creative director for Fendi and is said to have revolutionized the wearing of fur by reinterpreting it and transforming it into “a fashionable, soft, light item of clothing”. Fendi continues to sell fur coats as well as various fashions and accessories that include fur trim and in some instances the use of exotic skins on pricier items. You won’t be able to find those at Holt Renfrew’s Fendi concessions as of this year, however, which means we could see more standalone Fendi stores in Canada in years to come. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, and a public speaker. 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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