NEW YORK — If megaproducer and performer Pharrell Williams and his business partner, Japanese fashion designer Nigo, needed any proof of how well their new Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream shop might do, they got it Tuesday during an unpublicized preview day — all 100 pairs of a limited edition light blue Ice Cream sneaker sold out within minutes.
"We had about a dozen people sleeping outside on the sidewalk on Monday night," said brand manager Loic Villepontoux. "Then when I came in at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, there were about 40 people lined up to get in. It was madness."
The store was closed again on Wednesday and the official opening is today. The 2,000-square-foot store, which is spread over two levels, is the mastermind of Williams and Nigo, who collaborate on the design of the two apparel and sneaker labels. Both brands launched four years ago and are sold in high-end specialty stores worldwide, including Barneys New York and Colette in Paris. Billionaire Boys Club, Williams said, was born from his own "ghetto" aspirations.
"Everyone was talking millions when we started, and I said, 'F-that, I want billions,'" he joked of where the brand name came from.
Today, Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream (which is a play on hip-hop speak with ice meaning "jewels" and cream as "cash") are both high-end skateboard-inspired brands, with product wholesaling from $45 for a graphic T-shirt to $880 for a crystal-encrusted jacket. Reebok produces the Ice Cream skateboarder sneakers (or board flips, as they are known), but all other styles are produced in-house.
"When we started the brands four years ago, the dream was to open a store in Tokyo and New York," Nigo said, speaking through a translator. Besides his role with Williams, Nigo is also the mastermind behind the cult streetwear label A Bathing Ape. "This is really making the dream happen."
Ice Cream is the more playful of the brands, with colors like pastel pink, bright yellow and mint green splashed throughout the array of hoodies, T-shirts and sneakers. Billionaire Boys Club is the more mature label, with high-end Japanese denim jeans and embroidered logos on hoodies. The clothes are sized from XS to XXL, with the smaller sizes being geared to women. The sneakers are available in both women's and men's sizes.The store, which is located at 455 West Broadway, has a Space Age, ice-cream parlor feeling. There are clean white walls as a backdrop for the ice-cream sandwich benches, stainless steel ice-cream display cases that house the candy-colored sneakers and long racks of perfectly pressed T-shirts and hoodies. In the back, a pitch-black staircase, lit with tiny blue lights, takes customers to the second floor. On the upper level is where the Billionaire Boys Club merchandise sits. The floor is meant to look like the surface of the moon and the walls and ceiling are sprayed with multicolor stars, all on a dark blue background.
This is the third store for Williams and Nigo. Their first shop opened in Tokyo about two years ago and the second launched in Hong Kong three months ago. The design of the new space took about three months to put together, but that was after a long period of waiting for the stainless steel fixtures and specially made shelves to come in from Japanese manufacturer D-Brain.
Company executives said they expect first-year sales of about $3 million.
Williams said while he is proud of what he has accomplished with the building of these two brands, he remains cautious when it comes to expansion.
"We really want to concentrate on these three stores and our wholesale businesses now," he said. "In all of this, I am just a student, Nigo is the teacher. He has taught me that quality is so much more important than quantity, and you will not find better quality Japanese fabrics. You create a great quality product, design what you believe in, and the money will follow. That's what I've learned in all of this."
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)