NEW YORK – Veronica Beard has wasted no time in establishing a downtown beachhead for the brand’s American sportswear. The designer’s second store, a 1,626-square-foot unit, is bowing today at 78 Greene Street in SoHo, just seven months after the launch of the inaugural location at 988 Madison Avenue and 77th Street.
“Madison Avenue has a feel that’s different than SoHo. It’s more uptown and ‘Auntie Mame,’” said Veronica Swanson Beard.
Swanson Beard and her partner Veronica Miele Beard — the two Veronicas are married to brothers — share Mame’s unconventional streak.
“As we begin to roll out retail, the stores will each offer unique products and some crossover items. SoHo will feel like a different side of Veronica Beard,” said Miele Beard. “The uptown store is all about the high-low mix with fine objects that give the store a patina. The SoHo store is more midcentury modern.”
That is, with the oddball object thrown in, such as a shellacked crocodile head and oversized silver-painted seashell. A Noguchi coffee table and Adrian Pearsall sofa and Kagan chairs upholstered in a watermelon hue anchor the back of the store. An oversized Muller of Mexico onyx table is set in the middle of the space, which is covered in metallic banana print wallpaper.
The SoHo unit in July will launch a denim collection with its own label. In addition to five silhouettes for jeans, it will encompass T-shirts, button-down shirts, collared bodysuits, leather pants and velvet pants. Also in July, a footwear collection of nine styles, 27 skus, of flats and booties will bow, priced from $350 to $695. A resort shoe line will launch under the main label.
“We’ll build out the denim collection,” Swanson Beard said. “It will always be hung with the [main] collection. It shouldn’t feel additive. It’s not a diffusion line. The denim collection will get bigger.”
Denim will initially be available in the two Veronica Beard stores and on veronicabeard.com.
Additions to the brand seem to develop organically, usually with an item or product category the Veronicas find lacking at retail. They decide to design something so it fulfills their own need.
“Eventually, we’d love to do costume jewelry,” Swanson Beard said. “I love beauty,” said Miele Beard. “That’s what I think about when I get dressed. Everybody wants to look younger. It goes along with the uniform concept. What do you wear with a dark eye and bright lip?”
Swanson Beard added small leather goods to the company’s list of upcoming launches. Classic silhouettes such as clutches, zip pouches and “the perfect evening clutch” will be among the offerings, she said.
Areas have been built into the store for the new introductions. The front window holds the brand’s third delivery. “It feels so springy, fresh and new,” Miele Beard said, of a tennis-inspired capsule of short white dresses with green stripes, including the Ace novel stitch knit dress, $395. A white blazer with navy dickie is $600, and a ruched dress in a blue, white and green pattern, $495.
Third-party products are woven into the SoHo store’s offering and will be rotated frequently. They currently include Hunting Season bags in crocodile, $1,295; Lingua Franca embroidered sweaters, including one that reads, “I want it all”; and Ranja Khan jewelry.
Hats, launched last year in collaboration with Gigi Burris, are merchandised with a “flair bar,” where customers can choose embellishments such as ribbons or feathers. The new straw versions can be similarly personalized, as can Veronica Beard’s leather tote, with initials.
Carolina de Neufville designed the SoHo store with Swanson Beard. To give character to the space, art adviser Blair Voltz Clark chose Joshua Avery Webster’s Color Field-inspired paintings, Natasha Law’s paintings and drawings of female figures, and Mary Nelson Sinclair’s abstract canvases. Harry Benson photos of Mick and Bianca Jagger and big cars circa 1970 bring an edgy element to the sophisticated art.
The Veronicas have fun together, finishing each other’s sentences and speaking in a shorthand that’s almost like their own secret language. The two women have a lot of the same touch points, and now, many shared experiences. Luckily, their tastes are similar. “Sure we fight,” said Miele Beard, “but it’s a surface fight.”
The uptown store has to up its game. “Madison Avenue is going to have a whole facelift in the summer,” Swanson Beard said. “We renewed our lease.”