Rebecca Taylor is taking a measured approach to company-owned retail. The New Zealand-born designer on Thursday unveiled her eighth store, a 1,800-square-foot unit at NorthPark Center in Dallas.
It will be the last store opening for a while, said the designer, who’s known for her romantic aesthetic filtered through a sophisticated lens. “To stay profitable, we want to keep the store count tight,” Taylor said. “Who can tell what’s going to be happening in the next few years, politically or otherwise?”
Rather than being tied to a long lease, Taylor is thinking pop-up shops could be the answer for the future. “I truly believe in the model,” she said. “Pop-ups are what we’re going to be exploring. Customers come in and try on clothes, and maybe we’ll ship to them within 24 hours. We’re going to explore temporary stores. Because of the retail situation, there’s a lot of empty space and landlords are amenable to making deals.”
Taylor said the company doesn’t have a store in Boston, so a pop-up might be appropriate there. “The Hamptons is also a great place,” she said. “A lot of my Madison Avenue customers go there for the summer. There are so many different ways you can sell clothes these days.”
For a traditional store, NorthPark felt like “a very natural place,” Taylor said. “We have a great core customer there. The girls in Dallas are very feminine and very put together. They have a lot of events. There’s a strong philanthropic vibe running through the city.”
Taylor’s casual and denim collection, La Vie Rebecca Taylor, will be sold at the Dallas store, along with ready-to-wear, exclusive products and limited-edition collaborations. La Vie grew out of a comment made by the company’s president Janice Sullivan, who told Taylor, “‘You don’t wear Rebecca Taylor. There’s room in the market for the way you dress,'” recalled Taylor, who said she’s often dressed in vintage Italian army pants and Victorian blouses. “It really struck a chord and is doing extremely well.”
The NorthPark store, which was conceived and designed in collaboration with Erin Ryder, the brand’s director of visual merchandising, uses natural and modern materials, including terrazzo floor tiles, which sparkle due to a combination of pink marble, colored glass and mirrored flecks. There’s a crystallized salt rock and cement wall, pops of bright color throughout the space and wallpaper hand-painted with a floral motif by artist Wayne Pate, Taylor’s husband.
The store’s soft pink hues create a neutral backdrop for the designer’s detailed clothing, while hard angled furniture made from cement, crystallized salt rock and iridescent glass contrasts with velvet and boucle fabric accents.
“I still think the brick-and-mortar model is relevant,” Taylor said. “It allows you to get that face-to-face with the customer. You have to keep surprising the customer. The new store is like a girlfriend approach, because fashion is so communal.”
Taylor is delving into the online business. “I’m enjoying curating our web site,” she said. “I’m treating it almost like a magazine. It’s such a powerful tool. You really get to tell your own story. We’re no longer doing a runway show, so we moved that budget over to marketing. We’re also doing more shoots for the site.”
After questioning their value, Taylor in February 2015 decided to forgo runway shows. “One day I woke up and said, ‘Who are we doing these shows for?’ I felt we were spending a lot of money on something that not a lot of people would see. Now we’re doing social media and marketing through the web site. I don’t miss the runway shows one bit.”
Existing Rebecca Taylor stores include Madison Avenue and the Meatpacking District in Manhattan; White Plains, N.Y.; Los Angeles and Newport Beach, Calif.; Atlanta, and Miami.