As the spring and summer line of Vicomte-A comes out salmons and light turquoises, the French brothers who established the brand in Paris and Palm Beach continue to expand.
It’s an interesting proposition when the founding U.S. store is still 500 square feet.
Big brother Arthur de Soultrait was the entrepreneurial spirit who kicked off the luxury brand, but younger brother Bertrand, now 28, established it stateside before the two had ever opened the first store.
The Palm Beach store was the second store opened in late 2007, just two years after the brand was started. At the time, the brand didn’t have a big enough collection to command a larger space, and for now the small digs are comfortable rather than confining. The expansion is happening as the brand gets picked up in major luxury department stores and opens its own standalone locations like the store in New York. It has 30 stores worldwide.
For Bertrand de Soultrait, growing a U.S. business from Palm Beach was perfectly logical because the brand not only appeals to the Palm Beach crowd and the polo set in Wellington, but he lived here and helped train horses in Wellington at the time. De Soultrait originally came to Palm Beach to attend school at Northwood University.
“I realized the demand we could have in Palm Beach,” he said. And the store was established in the shops of 150 Worth on Worth Avenue, just beside the Starbucks.
“People love the colors, quality, attention to detail,” said de Soultrait, who was sporting the brand’s blue-striped shirt, pink belt and loafers — oh, and his boxers. “It’s affordable luxury, not Dior or Chanel.”
Ties are less than $100, belts $120 and up, men’s polos start at $95 and the women’s silk shirt dress in the new collection is $345.
More recently, Vicomte-A has been a cornerstone of Elegante Polo in Wellington, which offers team jerseys and gear in addition to its three premiere brands: Vicomte-A and Argentinean labels La Martina and Etiqueta Negra.
Owner Robert Kiger said he’s carried the brand for the four years the store has been open near the Mall at Wellington Green. It fits with the lifestyle his customers seek.
“They do such unique things with colors and color trim. It’s nothing you see anywhere else,” he said. “The quality is equal to Ralph Lauren and the price point is less.”
Vicomte-A also has a booth at the winter equestrian festival for the fifth year.
And the brand is carried in nine Nordstrom’s, including the Palm Beach County stores. Another standalone store will open in Miami this year.
The spring/summer collections has just been unveiled, and the debut party on March 13 features a fund-raiser for Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center.
The de Soultrait world is one of fast horses and fast cars, where an English duchess’ sister — Pippa Middleton — graces the brand’s store opening parties and parties with the owner. She’s an ambassador for the brand, de Soultrait said.
The brothers through their brand sponsor equestrian events, vintage race cars and regattas. The name was a cheeky nod to their aristocracy, de Soultrait said. All the men are vicomte, or viscounts.
Vicomte-A now includes most of the family, with another brother, Marcy, involved and their father. Bringing their father in added a financial heavyweight to the team once the company went over 10 million euros in sales, de Soultrait said.
And the year ahead looks good, he said.
“I really see a lot more confidence for people purchasing,” he said. “They’re not looking for deals so much.”