Rock & Republic's first two New York Fashion Week runway shows were over-the-top introductions to the label's Hollywood glam and rock 'n' roll design aesthetic. Next week, the company will open an equally lavish SoHo showroom to reinforce that image and highlight its efforts to be a lifestyle brand.
Michael Ball, designer and chief executive officer, said the search for an appropriate space in which to present the brand's direction took more than a year. Manhattan's Meatpacking District, with its clubs, restaurants and high-end hotels, initially made for an attractive setting. However, Ball ultimately felt the area wasn't quite right. "I don't know if [the Meatpacking District] will ever realize its potential," he said.
The lack of space and difficulty in getting to the Meatpacking District are negatives, and Ball added that the retail scene is dominated by Jeffrey, the boutique owned by Nordstrom's director of designer merchandising, Jeffrey Kalinsky.
SoHo, however, has a fully developed and varied retail landscape and an upscale feeling that Rock & Republic wanted. The company took the top three floors of a town house on West Broadway between Spring and Broome Streets. David Howell Design, the architectural firm that designed the Badgley Mischka showroom and more than 100 Coach stores around the world, was brought in to give the space a loft-like feel that could function as a work space, showroom and lounge.
"We wanted a contemporary feel, a certain amount of luxe, some Hollywood sheen to it, if you will," Ball said. "We didn't want it to be too austere, not like a Calvin Klein or a Theory. We wanted significant eye candy."
It took almost a year to complete the showroom, which includes features such as dark wood floors, a full kitchen and bathroom, a lounge, a spiral staircase and a roof deck. "The rooftop was a must for us," Ball said. "We wanted that feeling of being on a rooftop in SoHo to get that New York vibe."
The price tag reached into six figures, he said, but image is paramount for all things Rock & Republic.
"We are playing in the city where all the big dogs are and if we don't bring it, they're going to send us packing," Ball explained.New York has become a focus for the Culver City, Calif.-based brand as the key to achieving the next level of growth. Its efforts started last year by abandoning fashion week in Los Angeles in favor of New York. Its first two runway shows have been hybrid rock-fashion spectacles that generated long-waiting lines and mixed reviews.
"If we don't put on a fashion show in New York, we'll do an exhibition," Ball said. "We are committed to New York for the foreseeable future. L.A., unfortunately, doesn't have what we need. For an up-and-coming brand, it's fine, but when you start to elevate to where we are, there's not a chance you'll get the exposure you need."
The showroom was built with significant growth in mind. There are five staffers in the office, and Ball believes it can accommodate a dozen as the brand expands. "We'll be putting more emphasis on the tailored side, called Tailor Made," he said.
Cosmetics also are likely to be a significant area of growth, with Ball looking to expand the category into a $30 million business within three years. Ball is so confident of the company's expansion that he doesn't view the still-unopened showroom with any sense of permanence.
"We'll be comfortable here for three years, and in the next three years, we're going to have to look for additional space because of the other ranges alone," he added.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye