Nars 413 Bleecker
This story first appeared in the April 22, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
François Nars’ new boutique immerses shoppers in the master makeup artists’ world, melding French and American and vintage and modern touches. Located at 413 Bleecker Street, the 525-square-foot store was created with the help of famed art director and Nars’ longtime friend, Fabien Baron. “Fabien weaved together elements of François’ French heritage with the use of crown molding reminiscent of Louis XVI, contrasted with a clean, modern design,” says Louis Desazars, chief executive officer of Nars Cosmetics, who adds that a custom red high-gloss cash wrap, the same shade as the brand’s classic Jungle Red lipstick, punctuates the store’s black-and-white color scheme. The space also features distressed hardwood flooring and an antique marble mantelpiece, showcasing an eclectic seasonal selection of Nars’ favorite objects, all of which are for sale, while a signature music mix, by French DJs Les Jumeaux, plays overhead.
Aesop, the plant-based skin care brand from Australia, is in major expansion mode. On the heels of opening its third store in Hong Kong this past December (a 600-square-foot space made entirely of bamboo and raw concrete), the brand is set to open four stores in New York this spring. Aesop has more than 30 uniquely designed international outposts, including one in Singapore with walls and ceilings made of string and one in Adelaide, Australia, featuring a ceiling comprised of thousands of recycled glass bottles. “We’re coming to New York to establish the brand and what it is all about,” declares Giovanni Lepori, general manager and president of Aesop for the Americas. Lepori says the company has been showing consistent 50 percent growth each year, but would not disclose sales figures. While the specific design elements for the New York stores, to be located in NoLIta, the West Village, Grand Central and a still-unconfirmed location, remain under wraps, Lepori says to expect “multidimensional, multisensory shopping environments,” featuring engaging elements of nature, light and New York itself. “When you walk in, it should feel like coming home, but also escaping to another world,” says Lepori. “Each of our stores is different, designed to fit the neighborhood it’s in and appeal to the Aesop shopper.”
Denise Mari, founder of Organic Avenue, is all about spreading the LOVE, the acronym she coined to describe her company concept—Live, Organic, Vegan Experience. What began in a Lower East Side loft almost 10 years ago has since grown into five Manhattan stores; the two newest locations, in SoHo and the Upper East Side, opened February 1. The SoHo locale, an unassuming, 300-square-foot space located at 156 Sullivan Street, may seem small, but Mari says it’s the perfect size for her target consumer, ranging from anyone stopping in for a juice to someone seeking the brand’s five-day detox programs. “Our stores cater to those completely immersed in the vegan lifestyle and those who just want to incorporate a part of it,” she says. “We utilize small boutique spaces for our sales and marketing efforts and have a much larger space in the Lower East Side [the brand’s flagship at 116 Suffolk Street] for events and gatherings.” Carrying only raw, vegan merchandise like elixirs, food and skin care, Organic Avenue offers products that balance pH levels, boost energy and support overall health. The store also offers organic, cruelty-free beauty lines like Tata Harper and Intelligent Nutrients, as well as its own alkaline-rich drinking water, Mari’s self-proclaimed beauty secret. “My vision from Day One was [to create] a global brand,” says Mari. “We look forward to serving the needs of people who care about their health, the environment and animals, and becoming accessible to those who don’t know they need it yet.”