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Just in time for Fashion Week, Vanessa Bruno's pop-up shop opens today at 131 Greene Street in Soho. The French designer announced back in November that the pop-up would be the first step in opening a permanent New York store. In addition to her own collection, the enormous loft space hosts a cart run by Ladurée (everyone's favorite macaroon supplier) and candles by Diptyque (everyone's favorite fancy candle company). You can even pick up a fresh bouquet, delivered daily by a New York-based florist.
Before it officially opened today, we spoke with Vanessa to get the run down on the temporary store. Her easygoing, spontaneous nature and suspiciously-perfect skin fit the enviable French vibe to a tee. Click through to hear how the space was conceived on a whim, her plans for longer-term New York retail, and how she's just as perplexed by the French boutique invasion as we are.
You have a store in LA, so you already have a presence in the U.S. Why New York now?
My partner was based in LA. There wasn't really a "why" or "because"—it was just spontaneous. We've been open two years in LA and it's been doing well. Of course, a lot of people have said, "You should open in New York," but then I opened in London and different places in Europe and I didn't have [a New York store] in my mind yet. Then I thought, "Lets do a pop-up store. New York has this energy of a lot of stuff going on, it like, needs to move, there's great people, great music, let's do something."
The pop-up store has a nomad, transplant feeling. I felt if we were going to do an event, it should have a Parisian spirit, so we have the cookies from Ladurée and also the candles from Diptyque. It's a way of doing something special for three weeks.
You want to open a permanent New York store after the pop-up, correct?
How will the two U.S. stores complement each other?
Well for example, today, there was a client who came from San Francisco. She buys from the store in LA and said she was waiting for a New York store since she travels here often. Another customer came in today from Boston. There is the New Yorker but also the people traveling. You have to be moving with your customer, be with them.
A lot of French brands have recently opened boutiques in New York City. Do you have any sense of why, all of a sudden, these brands are coming here?
I couldn't tell you why. The customer has access to the Internet, and wants to catch everything immediately.
Why are Americans so excited by French brands?
Americans are open to new things. I always say, I do easy clothes for difficult girls. I think there is an ease in what I do. I try to do a very chic, Parisian, laid-back, boho spirit. I'm sure this is what the American girl is also like. The American spirit is something I love—we're called "Americana."
Why did you choose Soho for the pop up?
I didn't think about it, to be honest. I decided to do this project two months ago. Everyone is asking me about my plans. I'm a free person in my company, I own my own company.
Do you have any idea of were you'd like to have a long-term store in New York?
Not at the moment.
Why did you want to do a pop-up first?
The spirit of New York is about having great energy. The crowd is hungry for events. I wanted more than just an opening. Something special.
Any last words?
The pop-up is a big American loft, a typical New York empty space and what you put in. Of course, if I did a store it wouldn't be like this. I'd be relaxed about it. Take the space, bring the energy, and voilà! If you start to say, "The floor this..." then you don't do anything. I wanted to do something spontaneous with good energy.
· Vanessa Bruno's Soho Pop-Up Shop Will Be Followed by a Store [Racked NY]
· Manhattan Will See at Least Six French Store Openings This Year [Racked NY]
· Vanessa Bruno [Official Site]