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You probably haven't thought twice about the nondescript double doors at 214 Lafayette Street, which shares a block with Cosabella and Jack's Wife Freda. But for this weekend only, the oft-graffitied entrance has been lacquered in swirls of bright colors, inviting shoppers to check out the first-ever Matchesfashion pop-up in America.
The British retailer that's praised by fashion's innermost circles for its on-point offerings from designers both established and emerging has replicated its private shopping space in London for New Yorkers at the WOM townhouse for a three-day run that begins on Friday, April 15th, featuring a preview of pre-fall 2016 and fall 2016 collections that have yet to hit its website, as well as the latest from Raey — Matches is its exclusive retailer.
"The US is super important for us. It's our second biggest market," explained Jess Christie, Matches' global communications director. "Our American customers are super talented. They don't want to be cookie-cutter — they like to be in the know...so we need to be doing physical events to really engage and build our relationships with our existing customers and, hopefully, to reach new ones as well."
But they couldn't come to just any old blank canvas space, like most pop-ups in the city occupy. "We love townhouses because it's more intimate," Christie said, acknowledging that some of the decorative elements of the space were already in place when they arrived, like the books on the shelves (but not the Diptyque candles gratuitously sprinkled everywhere.) "We love the feeling that you're home from home."
In this case, she's assuming that your home is five stories and includes a gorgeous open kitchen, a terraced roof deck, and an indoor pool with dozens of inflatable giraffes and zebras skimming its surface (wait, is this not what your home looks like?). Oh, and dozens of iPads cued to Matches' website, ready for you to make a purchase.
Once you get past the gorgeousness of it all — it starts with a romantic staircase covered in arching branches, not unlike the entrance to Cynthia Rowley on the Upper East Side — then you can focus on the merchandise, which is divided by categories. The second-floor pool is where you'll find pieces for vacation (naturally), like long caftans, sandals, and beach-ready totes. That's next to a library filled with accessories, like feathered Christopher Kane shoes and whimsical clutches with robotic faces.
One floor up is the main room dedicated to womenswear, and past that open kitchen is the activewear (think less black leggings, more black Fendi ski goggles tinged with fur). Menswear occupies the top levels, with mannequins that are better-dressed than most people you pass on the street — yes, even in Soho — soaking up this burst of true spring weather that we've finally been blessed with.
"For us, it's really about letting the customer choose how they want to engage and shop" in the space, Christie said. "We need to merge that physical and digital experience. That feels really modern to us. It's not wanting to open brick-and-mortar stores in New York — which, never say never because it could be lovely."
Aside from checking out what's to come on Matches, you can pop in for events that feature The Coveteur, Leandra Medine of Man Repeller, menswear expert Eugene Tong, and more; for the schedule and to RSVP, head to the site's dedicated New York page. Not in the city? Be on the lookout for similar pop-ups in Dallas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in the coming months.