Young but aging tech workers and luxury are, apparently, booming Pike/Pine retail markets. French luxury eyewear concern Anne and Valentin — or Anne et Valentin, if you prefer — is sizing up a space in the neighborhood’s Odd Fellows building.
CHS has confirmed the project with the Toulouse-founded global fashion brand with plans for Pike/Pine to join the exclusive ranks of locations with A&V shops — the southern French capital, Paris, and three New York City locations: Madison, the Upper West Side, and the Nolita flagship.
Marc Oliver, who will manage the Capitol Hill store for the company, tells CHS the Seattle expansion is part of Anne and Valentin “dipping a toe” into creating more stores “out west.”
UPDATE: YAY! We're back above 700 subscribers! Join the club! Consider becoming a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news. Help push us back to the 700 mark... and beyond You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment.
“We’ve been less interested in a specific destination if it didn’t have the right neighborhood,” Oliver said of the decision to debut outside of New York City and France with a Pike/Pine shop.
“Just like our frames, that we imagine, design and prototype ourselves, each Anne & Valentin store is fully imagined by our creative team in Toulouse,” the company says of its store development process. “To begin with, we pick locations to which we feel strongly connected to, that are akin to our values and esthetics, and where we know you will feel at home.”
Construction permits indicate the buildout of the 10th Ave facing Odd Fellows space will remodel the area just across the hall from the Oddfellows cafe entrance. Oliver said the company expects to open the store by winter.
Walking into the shop, Oliver says, should be an enjoyable experience filled with a surprise or two. Anne and Valentin shoppers won’t find a wall of frames waiting for them, Instead, the idea for the experience is minimal product and an opportunity for suggestions to be brought out based on face shape and style. “It should really be something you enjoy,” Oliver says of eyeglass shopping. “It should be fun.”
Anne and Valentin’s arrival is part of a wave of retail investments across Pike/Pine targeting the neighborhood’s young and increasingly wealthy residents and visitors with young and increasingly strained and tired eyes. Last year, Warby Parker joined the neighborhood on E Pine in a new development already home to a showcase cafe and retail experience from global cycling brand Rapha and a mix of retailers while Canadian brand Ollie Quinn also moved in on E Pike.
Big fashion and retail brands also continue to target the neighborhood. Euro fashion retailer Scotch and Soda opened on Melrose Ave earlier this year while design and furniture brand Blu Dot opened an E Pine showroom. Not everything is glossy. Longtime Capitol Hill kink shop Doghouse Leathers is set to renovate a 107-year-old E Pike building for its new store.
The Odd Fellows building continues to maintain a full roster of ground floor retailers and food+drink tenants following its 2017 purchase by a Las Vegas developer. 10th Ave also has maintained its upscale fashion bonafides with the Totokaelo boutique remaining on the street despite the company moving its headquarters to New York.
While Anne and Valentin is known as a luxury brand, Oliver believes the company offers reasonable pricing and offers “something for everyone.” The right pair of glasses can also be worth the investment. “This really comes to define a lot of who you are,” Oliver said.
Anne and Valentin is slated to open in early 2019 in the Odd Fellows building at 915 E Pine. You can learn more at anneetvalentin.com.