The LINQ Gets Fashion Forward With Celebrity Favorite Hotspot Kitson
Forget trekking to LA’s Robertson Boulevard. The long-awaited Kitson—a 10,000 square foot flagship, no less—opened at The LINQ on Wednesday. Its prime corner across from Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar and next door to Flamingo hotel shines like a designer diamond.
In case you have been living under a rock the past decade or so, the Kitson name has a lot of caché behind it. You may have seen Lindsay, Paris, Kim and Britney in the pages of “Us Weekly,” snapped hauling out merchandise in its recognizable blue bags. It’s rampant success led to locations all over the country, and now, Sin City.
With a focus on contemporary men’s and women’s fashion, shoppers will also find an array of novelties, jewelry, gifts, shoes, accessories, kid’s clothing and toys and a beautiful apothecary display. Even its kitschy books are irresistibly fun—we spotted everything from the history of Liberace’s costumes to a cooking guide titled “Fifty Shades of Kale.”
Kitson is stocking both staple brands such as Havaiana flip flops, Ray Ban sunglasses, Rebecca Minkoff bags, Rachel Zoe clothing and Voluspa candles mixed up with the latest up-and-comers you can’t get anywhere else. Homies, Boy London, Defend Coexist and Lauren Moshi come to mind, some of which did exclusive pieces for the Vegas location. Kitson’s secret formula is a mix of its celebrity-driven culture and top notch buyers on the pulse of fashion. They scour runways, trade shows, magazines, showcases and street style worldwide to hand-pick a mix of fashionable and edgy labels that soon become the latest “must haves.” Kitson’s founder Fraser Ross sat down with me to talk everything from his concierge-like additions in Vegas to the power of star style.
Viva Las Vegas
Kitson has so many locations now. Why did it take so long to get to Las Vegas?
Kitson is all about entertainment, shopping and pop culture. Inside the new LINQ complex, we didn’t feel like we were in Vegas. It’s like an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the Strip. I thought there were a lot of things in LINQ that were great for our brand, such as Sprinkles Cupcakes and the High Roller, which people can take their kids to after shopping in our kids section.
We watch our demographics and we were shipping a lot to Vegas so we realized we already had a core customer base here. A lot of people from LA, our main place, go here for the weekend so we felt like there was a good marriage there.
Anything special you’re doing in this location?
We tried to adapt our business here to tourists. We will ship for you if you live in the continental U.S. We just opened and there were already five shipments this morning. People are excited when they see the shipping sign, because they don’t have to lug things back home in their suitcase. You can also charge everything to your room in any of the Caesars Entertainment-owned hotels and we will deliver it to the room. We have VIP shopping, and can open early. And anyone can look on our web site and call the LINQ store and see if we have it, charge it, and then get it delivered. Also, Homies designer Brian Lichtenberg got us a custom Homies car to display in the store.
What went into the design and planning for this store?
We built in-shops for vendors that have done well in LA. We did what worked in those stores and brought it here. We’re conscious about what people want—Havaianas, Yosi Samra ballet flats, sunglasses, Tom’s shoes. We built a big in-shop for Aviator Nation, a California-lifestyle brand by Paige Mycoskie, sister to Tom’s Founder Blake Mycoskie. We’re just going to evolve as we find out what works and what doesn’t.
I always thought it was interesting that Kitson could spot the up-and-coming brands and then make them huge names.
When “Sex and the City” was around, there were four girls and New York was the fifth character, their backdrop. Kitson has LA as its backdrop, and our windows become the billboards. That and the celebrity culture involved and the designers behind it all synergize together. No one is driving their car to find the hottest line at a department store. I don’t think they will take the risks we take. We can incubate it from a small order and then it grows. For example, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus are a big part of helping incubate the Homies line to where it is today. For vendors, we are a stepping stone for their platform. We are a mini department store.
How do you or your buyer find what to put in the store?
I have young buyers who are out at the right places and see what people are wearing. They are really adapting us to that, then I can probably edit it to what it should be for a commercial store. We even look for what’s hot with kids and toys. We carry the Rainbow Loom, which is hard to find and was named Toy of the Year.
Who is the Kitson customer?
One of our best-selling items in LA is a T-shirt that says “LAX to JFK” and we’re doing one now that says “LAX to LAS.” Everyone in the world comes to Vegas. I always say we don’t have one demographic. We are soup to nuts, cradle to grave. Even though people think we are a young pop culture store, we have books that say “what to do now that you’re 50.”
There was an article about the LA concierges in the five star hotels around us, and they were asked “what’s the most asked shopping question you get” and it was “where is Kitson?” People hear about us all around the world. We want to be a destination in Vegas. Obviously they are coming for the High Roller because it’s a phenomenon but we want to make sure when it comes to shopping, they are coming to us. This is the biggest store we’ve ever done…our motto is “what you buy in Vegas, goes home with you.”
Do you follow fashion and trends?
I don’t know if “trends” work so well now. They always project what trends are going to be but it changes on a dime. I always tell people high and low fashion is really what we are all about today. People say we are a trendy store but we have every type of thing for every type of girl or guy. There is not one look.
Prime example, I think Kate Middleton is a big influencer. We carry Smythe’s navy blazer in our store, which is only around $600. When she went to Canada, she boarded the plane in London wearing it to come to Canada. Before she made it across the ocean, I sold out of it online because it was being talked about and photographed.