NEW YORK — Opening Ceremony teamed with some of its favorites to create Club USA on the third floor of its men’s wear flagship on Howard Street here.
The retailer tapped artist Max Lamb to create a “sneaker cave,” a neutral space designed to allow the shoes and clothes to shine. He used smooth aluminum that complemented a textured wall and ceiling and a pile rug on the floor. The room is segmented by color, with gray in one corner and a flesh-colored hue on the remainder.
“I wanted the architecture of the space to become mono-material but not sterile, so the walls and ceiling merge as one surface,” said Lamb. “The corners and door frames wrap together so that the anodized rails, shelves and hooks seemingly float.”
Club USA is designed to house a permanent Vans shops-in-shop and it launched with a new exclusive Vans x Opening Ceremony style, the Qi Pao Pack, featuring the Vans Classic Slip-On in Chinese silk fabrics in pink-multi, red-gold, or black-multi patterns. The shoes, which celebrate Opening Ceremony’s Year of China, retail for $85.
“Half of these shoes won’t be here tomorrow,” predicted Humberto Leon, cofounder of Opening Ceremony, pointing to the extensive Vans assortment offered in the space. “They’ll be sold out.”
Leon said that the store has worked with Lamb on two other projects and has partnered with Vans for at least five years. “We decided to do a curated shop,” he said, “and offer a lot of exclusive product. And Club USA is a great place to feature a lot of that.”
In addition to the Vans assortment, the floor features apparel that complements the footwear or “clothing that you would wear with Vans,” he said. There is a special capsule collection of Club USA merchandise including unisex tanks and tees, a T-shirt dress, caps, and souvenir pins that draw their inspiration from Eighties and Nineties sportswear. Prices range from $65 to $125.
Leon said the space was formerly devoted to accessories until the decision was made to convert to this concept. “We’ll also be able to close it off and do events up here,” he said.
Opening Ceremony debuted the space Thursday night by inviting customers and VIPs to customize blank Vans shoes or Opening Ceremony T-shirts with airbrushing, embroidering or screen-printing. There were also sculptural food installations by artist Laila Gohar.