Shoe retailer to open in Ala Moana
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In a testament of faith in the well-heeled consumer market, high-end shoe retailer Stuart Weitzman will open its first Hawaii store on Friday.
The Stuart Weitzman boutique is slated to open next door to the Apple
store at Ala Moana Center.
It will carry a full array of shoes and handbags, starting with the fall collection.
Selections will range from strappy sandals to sports casual shoes, platforms, wedges, pumps, boots, and evening and bridal wear.
Store manager Gillis Asao will oversee a staff of seven.
New York-based Stuart Weitzman had for several years been interested in entering the Hawaii market. In the U.S., the company has more than 30 boutiques and outlets stretching from California to New York.
The stores can be found in more than 45 countries.
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of celebrity fame is opening its first Hawaii store on Friday.
The 2,412-square-foot women's shoe store will be located next door to the Apple store in Ala Moana Center.
Gillis Asao will be store manager, along with an assistant manager, four full-time and one part-time salespersons, and a stock person. Asao was formerly with Salvatore Ferragamo.
Asao said the company has been interested in the Hawaii market for years, but was waiting for the right space to become available.
The Ala Moana mall level space was it.
From glittering mules to sleek boots, sensuous pumps and studded stilettos, Weitzman claims his creations are "the stuff of dreams for women around the world."
The shoes have hit fashion runways and celebrity red carpet events and featured in every fashion magazine from Vogue to Elle, Oprah's O magazine and Modern Bride.
Weitzman, known for using materials such as cork, vinyl, Lucite, wallpaper and 24-karat gold, creates more than 300 new styles of shoes and handbags a year, according to the company's Web site.
Stuart Weitzman also has a collection of handbags, as well as a few shoe fashions for toddlers and youth.
Prices for Stuart Weitzman shoes range from $150 up to $500 or more a pair, but generally fall around $250.
The brand is already carried at many department stores in Hawaii, including Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Nordstrom, as well as at some fashion boutiques.
Asao says the Stewart Weitzman boutique, however, will put its "best foot forward" in providing the full array of merchandise, which will include sandals year-round, in addition to evening shoes and bridal shoes.
Molly Watanabe, publisher of SMART Magazine, said Stuart Weitzman has a decent price point in comparison to other designer brand shoes. The shoes are stylish, yet easily accessible to many shoppers, she said.
The resort-oriented styles should be a good fit for Hawaii.
"When you think of Stuart Weitzman, you think of style capitals like New York and Los Angeles, but you also think of destinations like Miami and Las Vegas, which are similar to Honolulu in the sense that they're warm-climate, style-oriented vacation spots," she said. "You can get anything from a stylish knee-high boot to a jeweled sandal from Stuart Weitzman."
Carol Pregill, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, said it's significant when a new retailer chooses to enter the market here. It means more choices as well as more excitement for the retail industry.
Stuart Weitzman is selective about new store locations. Across the U.S., there are only about 30 Stuart Weitzman boutiques and outlets.
Internationally, there are stores in 45 countries, including world fashion capitals such as Beijing, Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Zurich and Milan.
Though based in New York, the company owns factories in Spain.
Ala Moana Center will also be home to a second Forever 21 store, which has one location at Pearlridge Center, and Brighton Collectibles, a high-end accessories store. Both are also scheduled to open Friday.