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NEW YORK — Showroom Seven is opening a freestanding boutique called Beyond 7.
This story first appeared in the November 19, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
After relocating from Seventh Avenue to an 18,000-square-foot space within the historic Terminal Warehouse Building, the company has quietly opened a boutique on the street level with a retail concept that follows a similar philosophy to the showroom itself: bringing edgy and emerging fashion and accessories brands together under one roof.
The 2,000-square-foot boutique, at 601 West 27th Street on the corner of Eleventh Avenue, has an interior that reflects the art galleries that have sprung up in the West Chelsea neighborhood in recent years. It is the first multibrand designer boutique in the area, which also boasts Balenciaga and Comme des Garçons stores nearby. The store features many of the building’s original 1890s details, including hardwood floors, ceiling beams and red brick walls that are juxtaposed with Erickson Beamon chandeliers and Lucite rails of clothing suspended from the ceiling at different heights and angles.
“This is a great art district and that dictated the presentation,” Karen Erickson, who launched Showroom Seven with Jean-Marc Flack in 1986, said. “I wasn’t going to put in rolling racks and just hang up clothes. The clothes are hung like sculptures, at jagged intervals, cutting through the space. It’s like someone dropped pick-up sticks, then suspended them in the air.”
Flack added, “We always wanted to take our concept to retail, but we just needed the right space and timing.”
For Erickson, it’s a return to her roots of sorts. When she moved to New York in the early Eighties, she had a boutique on Madison Avenue and 67th Street. Her daughters, Mandie and Monique, also work in the business, and both were instrumental in the move to the new showroom and the opening of Beyond 7.
About 90 percent of the collections at the boutique are also represented in the showroom. They plan to sell the lines in the boutique at the same time their retail accounts sell them. Labels offered include Benjamin Cho, Christian Blanken, Elise Øverland, Issa, Liz McClean, Orla Kiely, Erickson Beamon (including diamond jewelry and chandeliers), Sharon Wauchob, Tony Cohen, VPL and Bloch.
The Erickson Beamon jewelry display is loosely inspired by a fashion show seating chart, featuring a large M.C. Escher image with jewelry hanging from it. Erickson Beamon jewelry was also used to ruche the fitting room drapes.
The store’s decor, including the midcentury modern furniture and vintage books, are also for sale, as are the smattering of rare guitars on display that Karen Erickson’s husband, Eric, collected over the years.
“It’s about discovery,” said Mandie Erickson.
“It’s about no limitation,” Karen Erickson added. “It’s about everything we want. We feel that it’s the antithesis of commercial. I believe that this time is over. You have to give people something new. You need to be special.”
The Ericksons and Flack don’t just plan this to be a retail space. Flack’s husband, Stephen Petronio, is a choreographer. “We will do dance performances and book readings,” Mandie Erickson said.