Friday, December 14, 2012

FIERCE Euphoria! | Abercrombie & Fitch in Amsterdam Now Open...

In a wondrous high of passion and joy, the A&F store openings for the year have come to a euphoric conclusion with the inauguration of the Netherlands’ first ever Abercrombie & Fitch! The coolest fans were in attendance, ignoring the bitter breath of an upcoming winter, to witness the opening of the majestic splendor that is A&F Amsterdam. Cameras flashing, media paparazzi to the city’s hottest event of the year were quick to capture the much-awaited-for moment in time. Packed with FIERCE cool, energized by all-American youth-essence, and housed in historic heritage, A&F Amsterdam is now officially partying to the beat of the iconic Abercrombie & Fitch attitude...

Liberal, free-spirited, and undeniably unique in its own world-renowned character, Amsterdam is an alpha world city driven by the vivacity of 820,650+ inhabitants (2,289,760+ within the greater metropolitan area). A thriving, established fashion center, the capital of the Netherlands ranks as the fifth best European city for international business (a position only behind London, Paris, Frankfurt, and Barcelona). Having one of the highest tourist traffic rates of any European city, Amsterdam is a further key node in A&F’s European retail operations.

Within this key node that is Amsterdam, Abercrombie & Fitch selected the historic Metz Building as the most appropriate abode for itself. Addressed a Leidsestraat 32-34, in the downtown Centrum borough, this structure is furthermore appealingly a street corner building – A&F having a particular penchant for such prominent buildings – at the meeting of Leidsestraat and Keizersgracht. Named after its current owners, Metz & Co, which inhabited the place for 122 years, the Metz Building was once the home of the New York Life Insurance Company in the Netherlands before 1890 – the year when the Metz department store moved in. Built in the Dutch neo-classical style, the Metz Building sits next to one of Amsterdam’s famous canals.

With all due respect to Metz & Co., the Leidsestraat 32-34 took a rather unappealing downturn in architectural maintenance during its occupation; it became Abercrombie & Fitch’s job to renovate the structure with a clean modern polish while restoring it to a stately elegance. Such work began in mid-2012 after months of intense speculation to where A&F would situate itself in Amsterdam. The Metz Building was highly rumored by March 2012 (with Metz & Co officially announcing its departure a month later), but it wasn’t until August when Abercrombie & Fitch properly informed it to the press. The scaffolding went up sky-high all over the fa├žade, but there was to be no massive A&F advertising wall. Work was nevertheless well underway and, despite no advertising, activities at the Metz Building were a sign of something new and special being realized.

After The Sitch on Fitch became the first in September to announce the opening day, the scaffolding came down by early-November. Merchandise shipments began arriving on November 23, while Black Friday 2012 went on in America, and the staff began working around the clock; it came to be 24 hours in divided shifts as Abercrombie & Fitch merchandise was hauled about and set up throughout the first three levels of the building. (The elevator wasn’t available initially and that meant a lot of heavy carrying around!) No shipments for abercrombie kids were coming in, and it was made apparent that the childrenswear would be introduced in 2013: two levels were nevertheless reserved for a&f kids, but to be off limits to future customers until the brand’s introduction.

THE HOTTEST GUYS finally arrived in town and they began greeting every fan and passerby beginning December 7. It was a day marked by surprisingly icy cold conditions that limited the guys’ presence outside. Some of the boys were complaining about the cold...poor of their abs! Abercrombie & Fitch did release a short video published on its YouTube channel, but it was removed soon afterwards for some reason. The vid was merely a compilation of footage of the guys from previous store openings and considerably mildly received since everyone was expecting footage of the guys actually in Amsterdam. Perhaps that is why it was removed? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, it was republished on the YouTube channel on December 13. While counting down the days leading up to the big day, The Sitch on Fitch published several exclusive images highlighting the beautiful restorative work of the Metz Building (you can see them all on our Facebook page, here).

Unbelievably, after months of anticipation and hard work, the moment of another triumph had arrived! The freezing morning of December 13 dawned upon Amsterdam with a force of palpable excitement. Hundreds of Amsterdammers formed a massive line beginning at the main entrance and winding on down Keizersgracht for a long way. An explosion of cheer by 11:00AM (CET) accompanied the open swing of the great wooden doors as out strode the store greeters welcoming all to the cool warmth of A&F Amsterdam!

Entering the ground level, one finds his or herself enraptured by the fragrant, pulsing atmosphere on a level entirely devoted to menswear. Near the entrance, one can have a look at the limited edition 1000ml FIERCE cologne. Venturing furthermore inside brings you inevitably to a key room for customer circulation: the two-elevator system is found here (although only one is for customers), the A&F male statue is found opposite of the elevators on the other end of the room, and the main staircase leads off from here onto the upper levels. Coming off of the staircase and walking onto the second level, the customer will find menswear to his/her left and womenswear to the right (on the Keizersgracht side of the building). The store’s currently only point-of-sale station is found on this level, in the womens side, with four registers. Ascending to the third level, one will find all womenswear and the fitting rooms area – only three rooms available. The A&F moose head is also found on this level fixed over a curved glass cabinet station of goods. Balconies – although off limits to customers, of course – are also found here. (See A&F Amsterdam floorplans, here).

A synthesis of all-American Casual Luxury with flair of exquisite Dutch elements makes A&F Amsterdam a beautiful piece of the A&F Flagship collection. Privilege and prestige, cool and casual, historic and hot, modern and magnificent...wouldn’t you want a visit!