NEW YORK — With her temporary store on Spring Street in SoHo closed since August, Lisa Perry is packing up her design studio and heading to her next adventure.
This story first appeared in the November 10, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Perry is moving uptown and in mid-November will open a 4,000-square-foot flagship at 976 Madison Avenue between 76th and 77th streets. The former Citibank branch has bankers’ glass offices where Perry’s design staff will work, giving customers a glimpse of fabrics, patterns and inspiration boards, and clothes in various stages of completion. “It will be like an open kitchen in a restaurant,” Perry said. Another unusual aspect of the space is an authentic bank vault in the basement that may be used for art exhibits.
“We were so lucky to find the bank,” Perry said. “It’s like finding a loft uptown. It has a similar look as my SoHo store.” The new flagship, like the SoHo store, will have white walls enhanced by pops of color that correspond to the clothes. “Where I’m moving requires a little different level of sophistication,” Perry said, referring to the Upper East Side. “I’m going to try some things I’ve never done before, collaborations with furniture [dealers] and photographers.” Perry is even raiding her own closet for items to sell in the store.
Her embrace of everything Sixties began a decade ago. As a child of the Seventies, she never experienced the clean lines, bold colors and geometric patterns. When she walked into the Courreges store in Paris, she was smitten.
Perry stopped wholesaling to accounts such as Jeffrey New York, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s, Harrods in London and stores in Russia and Greece. Barneys New York will continue to carry Perry’s children’s wear. Complaining the stores don’t properly merchandise her brand, she’ll show them how it’s done at the new flagship. “My brand is more than a rack of dresses,” she said. “I don’t feel I’m well-represented when it’s just dresses.”
While Perry said her retail accounts have been “good partners,” she discovered what she likes best about the business. “When I started my brand and opened my first store in Sag Harbor, I realized that I’m a shop girl,” she said. “I love to interact with customers.”
Perry said she may revisit wholesaling in the future. “I want to do it in a more modern way,” she said. “I don’t need to do 30 pieces four times a year for my own stores.”
The designer is launching for spring, a lower-priced collection, Lisa Perry Play, with more separates and casual pieces priced from $300 for a blouse to $595 for a dress. Dresses in her main collection start at $1,000. Fine jewelry will include 18-karat gold “spinning” rings that spin with the motion of your hand from Robin Katz Vintage Jewels. Perry hopes to find some Robert Indiana Love rings designed by the painter and sculptor to offer in the store.