Only Hearts, the retail and design company created by Helena Stuart for “shameless romantics,” opened its first vintage lingerie pop-up shop in NoLIta this month at 230 Mott Street in Manhattan. The shop will be open through Jan. 1.
Called OH:PoP, the jewel box boutique is a throwback to the 31-year-old brand’s roots and features unworn, limited edition lingerie and some ready-to-wear pieces from the Only Hearts archives that Stuart designed in the Seventies, Eighties and early Nineties.
The idea of opening the OH:PoP shop was gleaned from the first Only Hearts store that bowed in 1978 on West 73rd Street and Columbus Avenue. The boutique was filled with Stuart’s passion — anything heart-shaped — such as accessories and lingerie, sleepwear and ready-to-wear-looking layering pieces that featured heart embroideries, appliques, lace patterns and hardware.
Stuart, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, started out with simple lace-trimmed camis and T-shirts, hand-dyeing cotton and cutting patterns on the floor of her Manhattan apartment. The items quickly sold out at her Upper West Side shop, and Stuart expanded the line to include easy T-shirt dresses, leggings, lace trousers and tiny tulle tank tops.
Stuart said she and her daughter, Kaya, who contributes to management and design, decided to open a pop-up shop because it represents the entrepreneurial spirit behind Only Hearts.
“We were walking around downtown looking at all of the little stores that looked like boxes and I said, ‘This is amazing. This is what we used to do,’” said Stuart.
Kaya Stuart noted, “I had this flashback. I thought, ‘Wow, our archives are so relevant to what’s going on now, especially with the popularity of the Eighties.’ I thought this was a great opportunity to define our art work and our origin.”
Today, Stuart oversees a wholesale business, two specialty shops in Manhattan, a boutique in Santa Monica, Calif., and three boutiques in Rome. Total combined annual sales are around $2 million in the U.S., and $2 million in Italy.