Three decades ago, former fashion editor and gallerist, Carla Sozzani, set out to shake up the traditional store model, pioneering the world’s first lifestyle concept store in the process. Thus 10 Corso Como was born, opening in Milan in 1991, while the very idea of a concept store was still embryonic. Up until that point, retail was largely transactional and product-oriented — a far cry from the multi-experiential approach that we know today.
Sozzani's ‘slow shopping’ lifestyle magazine approach means that 27 years later, her group has reached global status, with easily identifiable outposts in Asia, namely Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai. This September it will open its first US location in Manhattan’s historic Seaport District.
“I am very excited to introduce 10 Corso Como to New York, almost 30 years after opening in Milan,” said Sozzani in the official press release, adding: “to be part of an inspiring resurgence in one of the city’s oldest artistic and commercial neighbourhoods is a dream.”
Occupying 2,600 square-metres of the Fulton Market building, the new store promises the same unity of culture and commerce for which it is famed the world over. The store will hold its signature mix of leading luxury labels like Comme des Garçons and Maison Margiela, alongside design products and a gallery space. Additionally, it will feature an Italian café, a restaurant and garden to combine fashion, food and art.
“To be part of an inspiring resurgence in one of the city’s oldest artistic and commercial neighbourhoods is a dream.” Carla Sozzani
10 Corso Como was the first of its kind, but competition has grown fiercely over the years — stores globally have adopted or been inspired by its revolutionary model. Iconic Parisian store, Colette, followed closely behind, launching in 1997; in London, Dover Street Market opened in 2004 and New York’s Opening Ceremony was established in 2011. All now leading concept boutiques, they have built a strong legacy, ensuring concept boutiques must go above and beyond to cultivate an audience.
E-commerce has rocked the industry significantly in recent decades, 10 Corso Como’s 30-year-old retail model has often looked to be struggling to maintain market share in recent years, in particular as the industry becomes increasingly destabilised. In 2015, its Milan store looked likely to close down when its owners, Dieci Srl Society, declared bankruptcy after a tax collection agency detected more than €4 million in unpaid taxes. Chinese outposts have also had their fair share of difficulties facing closures and locational challenges.
In spite of this, expansion westward suggests there is still a loyal following and appetite for the 10 CC brand — a new location will undoubtedly give it a fresh lease of life. Sozzani has clearly picked the ideal destination to leverage her community. With a history of nearly four centuries, the Seaport District is currently being revitalised into a cultural, culinary and entertainment hub by property developers, the Howard Hughes Corporation. Sozzani’s next installment should comfortably hold its own in this impressive district.