MILAN — Herno has opened its first boutique in the U.S., located in New York’s SoHo on Greene Street.
The mood is set at the entrance by a beech bookstand with its contemporary art books, vintage photos and plants, adding a homey atmosphere to the store.
The sleek 1,728-square-foot unit reflects the brand’s understated and sophisticated style, with its combination of materials that include stone, wood, fabrics, leather and steel. The latter is a reference to the hooks that distinguish Herno’s outerwear. The walls are covered by slate and flannel. There are also swatches of flannel cut in laths and lit up from the back, giving the effect of a modern art painting.
Videos reproduce the faces of present and past employees or playful water effects. The minimalist fireplace and a fountain at the entrance point to the Herno plant, founded in 1948 in Lesa, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, in a wood near the Erno river.
Herno is now led by Claudio Marenzi, who is now also president of Pitti Immagine. The company was set up by his parents Giuseppe Marenzi and Alessandra Diana, and has built a reputation for manufacturing high-end outerwear for nearly 70 years. The brand started after World War II when Giuseppe lost his job working for an airplane manufacturer and joined a raincoat producer. He applied the skills he had acquired in military aviation by using castor oil, the same substance used in airplane fuel, to make waterproof cotton for the coats, and opening his own business.
In 2016, sales reached 76 million euros, up 10 percent from the prior year.
Today, some 60 percent of the brand’s business comes from exports, but the U.S. accounts for only 7 to 8 percent of overall sales. That is in contrast to Japan, which is 16 percent of the overall business.
Herno is carried in retailers including Bloomingdale’s, which operates shops-in-shop in New York and Boston, as well as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York, Nordstrom and many independents including Mitchell’s, Richards and Kilgore Trout.
Outside the U.S., the brand operates 47 stores, including 14 in Japan, five in South Korea, five in Russia and many in European cities such as Milan, Rome and Paris.