NEW YORK — Shoes have been coming on strong for years, and now, Hermès Paris has opened its first freestanding pop-up shop — a 1,250-square-foot unit at 63 Greene Street in SoHo here — devoted exclusively to the category.
Since 1990, the brand’s shoes have been designed by Pierre Hardy, who infuses his creations — often rendered in off-beat colors or featuring outsize proportions — with the iconography of the Parisian luxury house, artistic references and a sense of whimsy. Hardy’s designs include fox fur sneakers and Oh Roy blue calf suede sandals with a winking eye.
“The shoe category is significant for new client recruitment,” said Robert Chavez, chief executive officer of Hermès USA. “It’s bringing new customers to the web site and stores alike based on the contemporary appeal of the collection. The new store came about as a result of Hardy’s contemporary designs. We wanted to explore this unique opportunity to expose these collections to a new audience.”
The Hermès shoe salon, which features 150 stockkeeping units for men and women from Hardy’s fall 2018 collection, will remain open for six months. “It’s the only store of its kind,” Chavez said. “It was an ideal opportunity. Our shoe business has really been growing exponentially. We saw a great opportunity to focus solely on the shoe category and pop-up somewhere and do something different.”
According to Chavez, the pop-up features a wide representation of the collection, with a focus on sneakers, fashion-forward city shoes and high-summer sandals, with a decidedly young focus on downtown consumers.
“It’s been a great success,” Chavez said. “It opened on Thursday and the first four days have been great.” Despite its strong early results, Chavez said there are no plans to extend the project beyond six months, especially in light of the fact that Hermès USA plans to open in 2019 a three-level, 10,000-square-foot store at 46-48 Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. The SoHo shoe salon is “really to plant the seeds for Meatpacking District store,” he said.
Two exclusive show styles were designed for the pop-up, the emblematic Oz mules and Quicker sneakers both revisit the house’s equestrian legacy. Oz mules in rouge-blush calfskin, have silver palladium Kelly buckles and a cotton lining printed with Hermès’ Brides de Gala Love pattern. On a sportier note, the Quicker sneakers in white calfskin, have navy blue details at the back and carmine-red goatskin lining. The sneakers are decorated with the silhouette of Pegasus and the Star-Spangled Banner.
The sign above the door of 63 Greene Street in Manhattan’s SoHo simply says Hermès Paris and Chavez said, “There’s no official name for this boutique.” Attentive observers might glean what lies ahead from the window displays, which feature an arrangement of Oz mules on the left and Quicker sneakers on the right.
Men’s and women’s spaces at the shoe salon are clearly delineated. The women’s space, with hardwood floors, track lighting and exposed air ducts, displays shoes on pedestals attached to poles, which echo pillars original to the space. A suspended bench hangs from the ceiling and a lavender image on one of the walls, casts a glow over the space. Men’s shoes are shown on white shelving in room with burgundy-painted wall and modular leather furniture. The company said the pop-up shop is a departure from its typical store design and was not created by RDAI, the global architecture firm that designs all Hermès boutiques.
Greene Street is considered one of the most sought-after streets in SoHo for luxury retail. Hermès’ neighbors will include Dior, Jimmy Choo, Stella McCartney, Chloé, Etro, Saint Laurent and Brunello Cucinelli.