For all intents and purposes, the invitation to the Gentle Monster store opening party was blank. A 5-by-7-inch piece of that familiar, sturdy cardboard on which most fashion week invites are printed had arrived to invited guests a little over a week ago — those who angled in the light correctly could figure out the celebrity-beloved Korean eyewear brand Gentle Monster was opening its first American flagship in SoHo during New York Fashion Week.
“We started in Korea and then China and now we wanted to come here and reach the American customer,” Won Lee, the brand’s U.S. chief executive officer, said at the Thursday night cocktail. The sleek Rafael de Cárdenas-designed space was teeming with said American customers. Over his shoulder Emily Ratajkowski modeled some Terry Richardson-esque specs for photographers while Chanel Iman tried on some sharply edged shades. “The American customer is very different. We’ve learned a lot,” he said.