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.
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion