Believe it or not, malls continue to be the epicenter of Atlanta shopping

Luxury brands continue to flock to Lenox and Phipps

Believe it or not, malls continue to be the epicenter of Atlanta shopping
The new Christian Louboutin boutique in Phipps Plaza, with its iconic red carpet

Photograph by James Cool

It might seem counterintuitive given pandemic and postpandemic shopping habits, but malls are thriving. According to a recent study by Coresight Research, a retail research and advisory firm, top-tier enclosed malls are flourishing, outperforming in occupancy, revenue, and foot traffic. A stroll around Lenox Square or Phipps Plaza validates the data: “Coming Soon” signs dot both. There’s a tenant waiting list at these shopping centers as stores, particularly luxury ones, clamor to establish a foothold in Atlanta.

That’s not surprising to Su Longman, a longtime mall patron. The CEO and owner of Pallet Central Enterprises, she has shopped around the world and is proud to say that Atlanta’s offerings rival, if not beat, that of some major fashion cities. “I can find things to my eclectic taste much easier here in Atlanta, which might be contradictory to what non-Atlantans might believe,” she says.

Longman, who has frequented Atlanta malls for 20 years, also loves how the carefully selected stores have changed the demographics of the shoppers, with more variety in the clientele and brands, perhaps driven by the influence of the entertainment industry and the diversity of people moving here. “Atlanta is truly becoming the Beverly Hills of the South, and the designer shops coming in definitely attest to that,” she says.

Brands have felt the pull of the malls, too, with several opting back in to the shopping centers as home bases. Brunello Cucinelli, Akris, Christian Louboutin, Etro, Jimmy Choo, and Hermès have all returned to Phipps. Alo Yoga has already moved to Lenox Square, and Moncler will complete its migration there by the end of 2024. Here, a selection of stores to keep an eye on.

The second half of 2023 saw the arrival of Parisian fashion house Balmain at Phipps Plaza, only the eighth flagship store in the country for the brand, joining others in New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. Men’s and women’s ready-to-wear, handbags, and popular sneakers designed under the tutelage of creative director Olivier Rousteing are on display in the store’s minimalist interior.

Believe it or not, malls continue to be the epicenter of Atlanta shopping
Fendi is one of the few shops with locations in both Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza.

Photograph by James Cool

Several retailers, such as Tory Burch and Tiffany, already have a presence at both malls, doubling down on exposure and catering to their popularity. Fendi joins this elite list, complementing its Lenox outpost with a store in the former Tavern at Phipps space. Over 3,500 square feet showcase the brand’s signature men’s and women’s ready-to-wear collections, accessories, shoes, and leather goods. A private client showroom and exotic leather goods section are decked out in Pakistan green onyx marble floors, adding to the sumptuousness of the store.

The Webster
Atlantans have missed Jeffrey at the malls, but that hole might be filled in late 2024 when The Webster comes to Lenox Square, the 10th location for the fashion powerhouse. The boutique, founded in Miami in 2009, is known for its more experimental brands, such as Alexandre Vauthier, Marine Serre, Paco Rabanne, Rhude, and The Attico. The Webster’s color- and print-heavy private-label brand, LHD, designed by CEO and founder Laure Hériard Dubreuil, is exclusive to its boutiques. In addition to clothing, shoppers can expect expertly sourced fine jewelry, plus home and beauty products.

Perhaps one of the most striking spaces is Zegna’s new location on the ground floor of One Phipps Plaza, the LEED-certified office building adjacent to the mall. Facing the reimagined green space across from Citizens Market, the store reflects the brand’s sophisticated look with a modern twist. Fans will also be able to partake in its bespoke experience, with a master tailor on-site to hand-construct anything from suits to leather goods.

This article appears in our May 2024 issue.