Kris Kim, cofounder of La Garçonne, is as understated in style as she is in temperament. The store and e-commerce site’s distinct sensibility, which moves gracefully between androgyny, femininity and masculinity, is a result of Kim’s curious nature.
“It’s important for stores like ours to infuse what’s happening in our culture alongside Marni, Jil Sander and other brands we love,” Kim said. “I’m trying to use the space as a spot to showcase what’s going on in fashion and the world. I like to showcase labels that don’t get much attention.”
This week, La Garçonne will host an event with live music for Danish jewelry designer Sophie Bille Brahe. The retailer last week launched exclusively the first women’s wear collection from Italian men’s wear label Sunnei with an event featuring a performance by Zurich-based artist Mara Miccichè.
Sunnei checked off all the boxes Kim was looking for in a new brand. “I like it because I’ve been looking for a young and cool brand that makes sense for everyone,” she said. “They’re tapping into this gender-fluid concept. It’s clean, fluid and a little edgy.”
The brand’s founders Loris Messina and Simone Rizzo “are doing something new. It’s streetwear-inspired and what’s happening in fashion,” Kim said. “They chose to launch with us and not a major retailer.”
Messina said Sunnei shares La Garçonne’s low-key sensibility. “Our client is in touch with the fashion scene, but independent and free from following seasonal trends. She’d recognize an understated, yet sophisticated aesthetic. It’s a minimal, clean environment filled with precious details.”
As La Garçonne’s signage is small, and can easily be overlooked, clients must be in the know to find the retailer. “La Garçonne is a destination,” Kim said. “We don’t have to be loud. Everything is about discovery and searching for something and getting a little lost in the neighborhood.”
After launching in 2005 with an e-commerce site, Kim opened in 2014 the TriBeCa location. “To me, TriBeCa is unlike any other place,” said Kim, who lives in the neighborhood. “You have to understand the residents,” she said. “It puts pressure on me to carry what they want.
“It’s a real omnichannel business. I always saw the store as a physical manifestation of the online space. I always said, ‘Why can’t an online store be beautiful?’ Years later, online turned into the physical store,” Kim said of La Garçonne’s large and airy space where huge white paper lanterns bob close to the ceiling, and sunlight cascades through skylights.
MM6 Maison Margiela, Comme des Garçons, Jil Sander, Sies Marjan and The Row are some of La Garçonne’s mainstay-established designers, onto which Kim layers younger labels such as Eckhaus Latta, Sofie D’Hoore, Zucca and Totême.
“There’s a vintage element to what I like,” Kim said, pointing out Lorod, a label designed by two 2017 Parsons School of Design graduates and featuring vintage-style denim and custom fabrics. With sheer trending Kim said she’s pulling together a story featuring Zucca’s transparent pleated sweater, $520; Sander’s tulle mesh bag with plastic beads, $780, and Bielo’s sheer extra-fine ribbed crew neck sweater, $288.
Some of Kim’s favorite items for spring include D’Hoore’s loose-fitting blue cotton poplin dress, $690; Marni’s ostrich coat, $4,150; Pas de Calais’ black pleated crepe dress, $450; Totême’s black lacquered trench coat, $960, and The Row’s trench, $2,550. “Every time The Row does a trench coat I go, ‘Oh, my God!'” Kim said.