A crowd of people gathered this morning for the opening of David Jones’ first international store in Wellington.
At 9am, the ribbon was cut and shopping officially commenced. The store, which occupies the former Kirkcaldie & Stains site on Lambton Quay underwent a $25 million makeover to align with the luxurious, modern aesthetic of the 40 other David Jones stores across Australia and marks a significant milestone in the brand’s 178 year history as its first location outside of Australia.
The department store offers a plethora of international designer labels including Saint Laurent, Jimmy Choo, Lover, Shona Joy and Camilla and Marc alongside a wealth of local labels such as Karen Walker, Saben and Kate Sylvester.
“We are thrilled that we have been able to bring to New Zealand a number of brands for the first time from an international perspective. Particularly from accessories – so Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Valentino,” Damien Burke, David Jones GM of womenswear, told Fashion Quarterly at today’s opening. “And more importantly we’re expanding our New Zealand designer range. So local brand Twentyseven Names, we’re thrilled to be able to showcase that in our Wellington store. And for the first time at David Jones we’re stocking Karen Walker and Kate Sylvester alongside brands such as Trelise Cooper and Sabatini that we’ve had in our Australian stores for some time.”
The department store will be looking to expand its offering of New Zealand designers and is committed to supporting emerging local talent.
“I actually met with Lucilla Gray yesterday,” says Damien. “She’s in year one of her business so I went through her range, gave her some feedback on what a department store would look like for her future thinking and we’ll meet with her again in a month’s time. We’ve met with a number of those emerging talents and new gen designers, because part of our role as a department store is to ensure that we nurture new talent that’s coming through. So we will look to pick up new brands each season, some of them are established and some of them are new, and we hold their hand as they grow into the business.”
As for the buying process for womenswear especially, Damien acknowledges that there are a few differences to consider when buying for a New Zealand store (our climate and our love of black are certainly a consideration), but they’ll be looking at how their customers respond to the launch and work hard to cater to the Kiwi aesthetic.
“We’re a national department store so it’s similar to the challenge that we have within Australia,” he explains. “The women in Brisbane dress very differently to women in Melbourne, so with each range we would look at a core component that would go to most stores and then we edit the capsules around that. There would be styles that we’d only buy for Wellington versus styles that we’d only buy for a Brisbane store.
“So, you know, Wellington women, we’ve been told, love black so we’ll ensure that we’ve got enough black. And also layering is very important in New Zealand so we’ll make sure we continue to offer layering pieces, which are not as prevalent in the Australian market.”
The store operates over three, grey marble-clad floors and offers over 500 brands across fashion, beauty, accessories and home, with a cafe open for breakfast and lunch.