Intimissimi, a global intimates chain with more than 1,400 stores across the world, is making its New York City debut at last. On Saturday, it will open its New York flagship store, popping up on Fifth Avenue, between 48th and 49th street. With just one other U.S. location in New Jersey, by 2018, the brand hopes to have 20 stores in operation across the East Coast.
At first glance for an American, it might be hard to tell what the difference is between Intimissimi and the better-known Victoria’s Secret. Rather than go for the hot pink and red satin of VS, Intimissimi is more about white and pastel lace. Rather than pumping techno music and covering all touchable surfaces in pink satin, Intimissimi stores are styled more like an intimate boudoir, with attentive staff and a light, breezy atmosphere. Still, the new NYC store itself is more than 5,400 square feet.
“In the last five years, the Calzedonia Group [which owns Intimissimi] has developed our presence in Europe and Asia,” Marcello Veronesi, the country manager for Calzedonia USA, said in an email. “The U.S. market was the natural step to become a really international company; we consider this market really strong and challenging, so the group waited to reach the proper level to be able to heavily invest here. It was important for us to wait until we were able to really make a splash, and this feels like the right time.”
In truth, Intimissimi was once partnered with Victoria’s Secret, with Intimissimi products sold in a number of VS stores. So rather than pose itself as a competitor of VS now that it’s made its U.S. debut, Intimissimi is trying to brand itself as a retailer for a different consumer, or a consumer just looking for a different, maybe more luxurious experience.
“We want to be really focus on the product and quality,” Veronesi said. “We are vertically integrated, which means we control all production processes and are really flexible to be able to launch new items [and] styles... One thing that makes our brand stand out is that every week our stores receive new fashion collections and products. Intimissimi and Calzedonia are fast retailers — developing products from idea to the in-store delivery only takes a few weeks — which is a unique thing we’re able to offer customers. You’ll find something new every time you walk into the store.”
Intimissimi has been available to e-shoppers for a while now, so with this first brick and mortar store in New York, what are the real benefits? Plenty of people may prefer bra shopping online, given that there’s never a line, it can be less overwhelming and, most importantly, it can be done while lying in bed.
“We strongly believe in customer service, and are creating beautiful boutiques where customers can be guided by our staff and feel a personal connection,” Veronesi said. “We organize in-store events every month, with special offerings that may not always be available online. People come back to Intimissimi and are comfortable in the store and with the people who work there, which when it comes to intimates, is extremely important. There are so many aspects to finding perfect bra that can’t always be done online.”
In the new New York store, Veronesi said hat each attendant will be fully trained in bra fitting. Given how complicated bra fittings can be, that’s a major plus. Intimissimi’s band sizing runs from 32-40 and cups run from A-E. Prices for bras range from $25 to $60, depending on style, but Intimissimi does have frequent sales.
So if you’re looking for something quieter than a Victoria’s Secret, with luxurious lingerie and a lighter mood, then Intimissimi might be the one.