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.
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
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