Haute Hippie pulls out of store deal with GoldenEye
Avia Collinder, Business Reporter
Haute Hippie, the New York-based clothing designer, has shelved plans to open a retail outlet at the GoldenEye resort on the north coast, a spokeswoman for the company said on Monday.
"I am sorry to inform you, but Haute Hippie is not doing the shop at GoldenEye for the moment," said Vice-President of Public Relations Lisa Lawrence.
"According to our CEO - the project has been shelved permanently!" Lawrence clarified in a later email.
Gregory Shervington, marketing and sales manager for the Island Outpost group in Jamaica and the Caribbean, said on Tuesday that the parties failed to reach agreement during negotiations, resulting in the abortion of plans for the store.
GoldenEye Hotel & Resort is a member of the Island Outpost consortium, under which the resort owners market their small properties.
"We were unable to agree in terms of set-up. There was no real agreement reached," said Shervington, who is also the acting general manager at Strawberry Hill resort, another Island Outpost member.
GoldenEye is a 52-acre secluded estate encompassing 20 waterfront villas and cottages.
Haute Hippie, which was founded in 2008, is now said to be represented in some 40 markets worldwide.
Haute Hippe CEO Jesse Cole had previously said in interviews with American media that a 500- to 700-square-foot store would open in mid-November and would feature an exclusive resort collection.
The widely reported collabora-tion between the designer and GoldenEye owner Chris Blackwell was also featured on fashionweekdaily.com.
"Chris selected Haute Hippie as the sole retailer at the resort. It's being erected as we speak, and will be launched on November 15, just in time for the high season. It's a permanent store that will be open year round, and I'm working on the design of it with the GoldenEye architect," said Cole, who is also the husband of founder Trish Wescoat Pound, on August 14.
The clothier filmed an event in July in which all guests were dressed in gold, reflecting a James Bond theme to promote the upcoming store. The GoldenEye property was originally owned by Ian Fleming, the writer of the James Bond novels.
"In celebration of our collaboration with GoldenEye and to ensure that we launched in true Haute Hippie fashion, we dressed and styled all of our guests for the entire weekend from our 'All Things Gold' collection," the company commented under a YouTube video of the event.
No reasons were proffered by Haute Hippie for the about-turn on what was previously reported a one-of-a-kind deal with Blackwell's resort.
Haute Hippie is described as a fast-growing brand, specialising in comfortable and sexy "clothes to fly in" created by brand founder and creative director Trish Wescoat Pound.
The target market at GoldenEye would have been celebrities who vacation there.
Internationally, while retail clothing in general might have seen falling sales during the recession, celebrity-focused brands have done better, with many of the new entrants to the Forbes billionaire list being designers whose fortunes are on the rise.
For Jamaica, Haute Hippe had its eye set on big spenders for its US$65 T-shirts and gowns priced up to US$4,000.
Shervington said that Island Outpost has no plans to import another designer, saying the stores at member properties already feature the finest of Jamaican-made products, many of which are exclusive to the resorts.
"All our properties have phenomenal gift shops with the most authentic and unique products, Jamaican items which appeal to people who can shop anywhere and for whom price is not a consideration," Shervington told the Financial Gleaner.
"We feature also a lot of items custom-made for us," he said.