I have my 16-year-old niece (Hi, little C!) to thank for bringing this to my attention. Gilly Hicks is one of the latest ventures from Abercrombie & Fitch, and it launched in 2008. It sells bras, underwear, loungewear and the requisite bath and body products.
The backstory that CEO Michael Jeffries has spun is that Gilly Hicks was an Englishwoman ex-pat relocated to Sydney, Australia in the 1930s. All the pieces are labeled “Gilly Hicks: Sydney,” but of course this is a mere retail illusion. It’s a well-executed illusion, though.
The store is beautiful. Much like A&;F, it looks like a posh residence. The inside is dimly-lit, with cherry wood shelving, potted palms, and faux antique portraits. If you didn’t know it was an A&F brand, the loud music (cutesier than A&F), overwhelming perfumey scent, and huge mural of naked boys behind the counter would surely tip you off.
But the merch is great. Bras and “down undies” hang on pegs and come in zillions of colors. There was an entire room of madras and checked sundresses, skirts, and loungewear. The swimsuits were adorable, colorful, and on the teeny side. I picked up a great fuchsia lace bra for a mere $9.
The place was full of teens and twenty-somethings. GH is trying to pick up some of Pink’s market, and they definitely have a classier look. Gilly Hicks currently only has brick and mortar stores in 15 locations. The website is up and running, but doesn’t have nearly the selection of stock that the store does. I suspect more stores will start popping up soon, thus ensuring A&F’s total domination of the mall.