Luxury shoe retailer Stuart Weitzman’s newly opened store is in good company in SouthPark Mall, nestled in the high-end wing among boutiques like Louis Vuitton and Michael Kors.
Local shoppers have had access to the brand at stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, but this is Charlotte’s first standalone location for Stuart Weitzman, known for its impeccable craftsmanship and serious colors (think black, tawny browns and nudes; you won’t find this-season-only trendy colors here). Prices are serious too, ranging in-store from $398 for a suede flat to $800 for a tall boot.
The store’s clean lines and subdued colors are in keeping with the brand’s streamlined and classic footwear styles. Shoes are displayed on curving white shelves that look aerodynamic against slate gray walls.
For a designer who loves suede, the store’s seating is a good fit, with large curved sit-down benches made from gray suede, a comfy place to try on shoes or sip a complementary mimosa or glass of champagne.
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Here are four things to know about the store:
▪ Expect far more open space on shelving in Stuart Weitzman than you’ll see in most stores. Lots of SouthPark shops are jammed with outgoing summer inventory and incoming fall items, but there’s plenty of empty shelf space in the Stuart Weitzman displays. Like styles and heel heights are grouped together, and there’s a section for bridal and special occasion footwear.
There are no sales sections of the store now, but company officials say the store will have sales at certain times throughout the year.
▪ All Stuart Weitzman shoes are made in Elda, Spain (near the country’s southeast coast). Weitzman has been manufacturing shoes there for more than three decades (he says he lives there six months of the year), and employs thousands in his factories. Photos on the store’s back wall show Weitzman and his Spanish manufacturing facility.
Manufacturing remains in Spain despite the brand’s 2015 purchase by Coach, which bought Stuart Weitzman for $574 million. Stuart Weitzman operates 77 retail stores in the United States and Europe, and added two others in August, one in the new Westfield World Trade Center shopping center in Manhattan, and the other in Santa Clara, Calif.
▪ The rich leathers Stuart Weitzman uses make the store worth checking out, even if prices fall above a shopper’s budget. Oxford loafers ($455) shine like patent leather, but are actually highly buffed leather. “Goose bump” leather, used in pumps, flats and the celebrity red-carpet favorite “nudist,” actually feel like, well, goose bumps.
▪ Custom shoes are available for customers willing to pay extra and wait the 8- to 12-week manufacturing time. The brand has bridal styles, some with Swarovski crystals (crystal-designed shoes range from $2,200 to $3,500) and brides can have inscriptions written on the soles of bridal shoes. (Weitzman reportedly proposed to his wife by getting down on one knee with a shoe, instead of a ring.)