When the executives at Melissa, the Brazilian footwear brand known for its colorful PVC jelly shoes, decided to open its second store — the first outside of Brazil — in New York City, it was not with ambitious sales projections in mind. In fact, they prefer not to think of it as a store at all. “The point is not to sell a lot of Melissas. It’s a galeria,” said Paulo Pedo Filho, Melissa’s brand director, using the Portuguese word to describe the space at 102 Greene St., which opens Wednesday, and is not to be confused with a museum. “There are no portraits. It is not a gallery.” What he meant is that the space was conceived as an interactive experience, where the brand identity is radiated through art and design as much as the shoes, which are displayed and available for purchase.
Creating a unique aesthetic was key. Creative director Edson Matsuo worked with architects Domingos Pacascali and Moema Wertheimer to create a bi-level “urban cavern,” ultramodern in its all-white plaster walls and resin-painted floors. Throughout, brightly colored Melissa shoes are perched on movable pedestals meant to evoke stalagmites. The recent collaborations by Jason Wu (dainty styles with his owl logo attached) and Gareth Pugh (black and white chunky gladiators) are up front, while the more classic styles (ballet flats, sandals, wedges) and kids’ shoes run toward the back. In the center of the store is a spiral staircase that leads to a lower level, which will serve as the focal point of a rotation of art installations beginning with a vivid mural and illustrated projection by the Brazilian artist Eli Sudbrack, who recently designed Gaga’s Workshop for Barneys New York.
Melissa invested $5 million in the SoHo space, yet the firm is not banking on seeing the return in same-store volume. Filho estimates that the label’s first store, also a concept space located in São Paulo, accounts for only two percent of global sales. Since opening it six years ago, the company reports a 300 percent increase in overall sales.
If Melissa is slightly enigmatic outside its domestic market, it’s a household name in Brazil. A native Brazilian in WWD’s office likened the brand to Keds — almost everyone has owned a pair at one point in their life. Launched in 1979 in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Melissa is owned by Grendene, Brazil’s largest shoe manufacturer and exporter, the parent company of Grendha, Ipanema, Grendha Kids and Rider. Melissa’s trademark is its PVC jelly shoes that are mold-injected in a single piece. The brand profile has been raised through designer collaborations, including Thierry Mugler, Zaha Hadid, Vivienne Westwood, Gaetano Pesce and the Campana Brothers. Retail partners include Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman, Galeries Lafayette and Colette in Paris and Corso Como in Milan. Melissa has plans to open two more galerias in the short term, one in London in 2012 and another to follow in Asia.
Donatella Versace will receive the International Award at the 2018 @cfda awards, which were announced tonight. Tap link in bio for a list of all the nominees and honorees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @rahirezvanistudio )
The 2018 @cfda Awards nominees are out! @virgilabloh for @off____white for is nominated for Womenswear Designer of the Year. Tap link in bio for all the nominees. #wwdnews #wwdfashion ( 📷: @simonelezzi)
@chanelofficial is suing high-end vintage retailer @whatgoesaroundnyc for trademark infringement, a move that could cost the retailer millions. The French fashion house claims that it’s not only unintentionally sold counterfeit goods on occasion, but that it’s “gone out of its way to create an association with Chanel,” which does not exist. Read Chanel’s statement on WWD.com #wwdnews (@aitorrosasphoto)
Exclusive: Guillaume Henry has left @ninaricci, the fashion house said on Thursday. “After three years of mutually gratifying creative collaboration, Nina Ricci and Guillaume Henry have together decided that the designer will depart the house after the presentation of the fall-winter 2018-19 collection,” Ricci said in a statement. Get all the details on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
“When Bella enters a room all heads turn,” said @peterphilipsmakeup, creative and image director for @diormakeup. Last night, the two celebrated the product launch of Dior’s Lacquer Plump in Los Angeles with other celebs like @parisjackson, @winnieharlow and more. Head to WWD.com to see the rest of the photos from the night (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
“These shirts are an art form, it’s about getting the message out to as many people as you can. It breaks down the pretentiousness of the art gallery,” says Kumasi Sadiki, cofounder of @ebayontheblock, a store that sells merchandise by New York artists who are shifting their attention to clothes as a wearable medium. Pictured here is a design by artist @joegarvey_, one of the first to spearhead this movement. Head to WWD.com to read @mistywhitesidell full story on how their designs have become merch for the underground elite #wwdfashion
@netaporter is dedicating a part of its website – called the Fine Jewelry and Watch Destination – to highlight its high-end jewelry. The hub will feature products on the site, as well as incorporate styling advice and educational content about high-priced jewelry items. Get more details on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories
For “The Cher Show,” an upcoming musical based on @cher’s life and career, @bobmackie is once again collaborating with the singer in designing the costumes. For decades, Mackie has designed glitzy stage costumes and red carpet looks for the 71-year-old Grammy winner. Pictured here is a sketch of some of the pieces in the wardrobe of the musical, which is set to debut in Chicago on June 12 before making its way to Broadway #wwdeye