It seems that some of the boldest British designer names are having trouble moving merchandise in their Moscow boutiques.
The Independent is reporting that Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen, and Vivienne Westwood are among the designers closing their Russian boutiques after months of weak sales. Westwood noted that Moscow’s high rents can no longer be justified. The designer’s boutique was located in the city’s prestigious and expensive Boulevard Ring.
Carlo D’Amario, the managing director of Vivienne Westwood, stated that they were forced to close the store because Vivienne is an independent company, and therefore they don’t have any larger group that supports them so that they can open stores purely for the prestige factor. He added that just before the recession crisis, the rents became really high in Moscow – even more than New York or London.
It seems that in tough times the Russians are retreating to the French and Italian designers, so it’s little surprise that those designers are faring much better.
Olga Zaretskaya, editor-in-chief of Marie Claire Russia, told The Independent that Italian and French designers are much better known than the English in Russia. Therefore, they are “easy to wear, easy to show off – even people who are far away from fashion know Dolce & Gabbana. If someone who works in an office buys a D&G bag, people will know it cost €3,000. If she buys a McQueen bag, it will cost her more than €3,000 and no one will know.”
That said, not all the news is dire for British designers. Vivienne Westwood is expanding into Asia and Alexander McQueen has just opened a new boutique in Qatar.
Images courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.