RIO DE JANEIRO — Expanding Nkstore, a micro shop for young, upscale women in São Paulo, Brazil’s fashionable Jardins shopping district, was a delicate task because Nk’s owner didn’t want to disrupt its signature look.
The retailer, which will almost double its size to 16,000 square feet in August when a renovation project is completed, opened in 1997 and is one of the few São Paulo fashion boutiques with interesting architecture and an inventive decor.
There is its black-and-white color motif. The store’s logo is written in small black letters on the glossy, black reflective glass facade. The only color is a small white door. Inside, customers walk across a white concrete footbridge over a rectangular pool and into a white-marbled, white-walled, four-story space filled with black furniture and freestanding counters.
“The inspiration for the pool/footbridge came from the architecture of spas, which are designed to be relaxing,” said Natalie Klein, Nk’s owner. “Pumps make the water in the pool ripple. It’s a soothing sound that relaxes clients as they enter the store.”
Klein said she decided to make Nkstore’s interior all white so it would not clash with the colorful clothes. The facade and furniture are black to break up the visual monotony of an all-white space and because black never goes out of style, she said. “That’s why we carry a lot of black clothing, too.”
A skylight on the ceiling gives the store plenty of natural light and potted palms lend a tropical Brazilian look. A wood-paneled, wood-floored bar in the back of the store serves champagne and soft drinks. The bar will be moved to the second floor when the expansion is finished.
Klein bought a 6,450-square-foot, three-story building on an adjacent cross street, which shares a common wall with Nk. When that wall is demolished, the original store will seamlessly flow into the new wing.
The expansion is meant to give Nkstore more space for foreign labels, which will move from the original store’s second floor to the first two levels of the new space. The foreign labels Klein carries include Marc Jacobs and Marc by Marc Jacobs, Catherine Malandrino, Stella McCartney, Issa, Yanuk, Paper Denim & Cloth, Sass & Bide and Luella Bartley, but she plans to add others.
Those foreign brands now make up 20 percent of the stock. The remainder is Nkstore’s own brand, which includes jeans, embroidered knitwear, ruffled silk skirts, leather jackets, shoes and handbags. Prices for the Nkstore brand are in the $120 to $180 range.
Klein declined to discuss Nk’s volume, but market sources said it does about $14 million in sales, a figure that’s likely to rise after the expansion.