Canada's first Brunello Cucinelli location will open in downtown Vancouver, along with the city's first free-standing Strellson and Versace stores. All will locate in the retail component at the base of the 745 Thurlow tower, which is currently under construction. All retailers will open either later this year, or in early 2016.
The main floor retail component of the 745 Thurlow Street development is now 100% leased. 745 Thurlow is a 25 storey office tower encompassing 400,000 square feet at the southwest corner of Thurlow and Alberni Streets. The tower is designed to achieve LEED 'Core and Shell' Gold certification - the first office tower in downtown Vancouver to do so.
Brunello Cucinelli will open in a 2,700 square foot retail space with a Thurlow Street frontage. Referred to as the "King of Cashmere", the Italian luxury fashion brand was founded in 1978 and sells womenswear, menswear and accessories. Although known for its luxurious cashmere apparel, the brand has expanded to include non-cashmere fashions including leathergoods, bags, shoes, and sportswear. The company is headquartered in a 14th century castle on the top of a hill in the middle of Italy's Umbria region, and it donates 20% of profits to its charitable foundation, and pays workers wages that are 20% higher than the industry average. According to its website, the brand is "firmly rooted in quality excellence, Italian craftsmanship and creativity". Brunello Cucinelli currently operates 15 U.S. locations in Aspen CO, Atlanta, Bal Harbour FL, Beverly Hills, Chicago, Costa Mesa CA, Dallas, East Hampton NY, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Manhasset NY, New York City, and San Francisco. All cities have one free-standing Brunello Cucinelli location except for New York City, which has three.
Upscale Swiss menswear brand Strellson will open in an Alberni Street-facing retail space measuring just over 2,200 square feet. Founded in 1993, Strellson is Switzerland's largest menswear manufacturer. Owned by Holy Fashion Group, it produces mid-to-high priced menswear (both dressy and casual), accessories and related products, targeting men in the 25 to 40 age range. It retails in about 40 countries. It currently operates two free-standing Canadian locations - a flagship at 170 Bloor Street West, as well as a location at Toronto's Bayview Village. Strellson confirms that it will open at Yorkdale Shopping Centre next year, and the brand is considering a location in Ottawa. Strellson shops-in-stores are also in a handful of Hudson's Bay stores. The brand currently has no locations in the United States.
Versace will open a 1,875 square foot store at 745 Thurlow's corner retail space. The Italian luxury fashion brand was founded by the late Gianni Versace in 1978, and it is seeing a resurgence as it opens stores around the world. Upscale Vancouver-based fashion retailer Leone currently features a Versace shop-in-store, and Versace Home opened last summer in Vancouver's Gastown area. Currently, Canada's only free-standing Versace fashion store is at Toronto's Yorkdale Shopping Centre, which opened late summer of 2014. The brand currently has 16 free-standing locations, and sources at Versace confirm that a number of new U.S. stores are planned, including a 5,000 square foot Chicago flagship.
745 Thurlow's three luxury retailers will join other brands in Vancouver's Luxury Zone such as Prada, Dior, De Beers, Burberry, Escada, Hermes, Tiffany & Co., Jaeger-LeCoultre, Moncler, Montblanc, Omega, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and others. Sources say that a number of premium French and Italian brands continue to negotiate for retail space in the immediate area, including at the Shangri-La Hotel as well as an Alberni Street-facing retail complex to be built at 1040 W. Georgia Street.
Sources say that Brunello Cucinelli has also been in negotiations to open an outlet store at Vancouver's McArthurGlen Designer Outlets, scheduled to open this summer. Sources also say that Brunello Cucinelli is seeking retail space in Toronto and that several months ago, it passed up the opportunity to lease Benetton's former space at 102 Bloor Street West. Vancouver-based fashion brand Kit and Ace has since secured that space. Cucinelli continues its hunt for Canadian real estate and rumour has it that a Calgary store could also be in the works.