NEW YORK — Lie Sangbong’s new 2,000-square-foot store in the Meatpacking District has undulating ceilings and a serene art gallery inside. It’s the designer’s first unit outside his native Korea, where he operates 19 stores.
Lie had a successful business in Paris for 12 years before showing his collection at Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week. When he was asked to design outfits for Lady Gaga and Rihanna, he decided it was time to open a store in New York.
“We were searching for a store space in Paris, but felt that we wanted to expand our clientele in the U.S. instead,” said Nana Lee, director of Lie Sangbong. “We have European, Asian and Middle Eastern clients. New York is where everyone comes. It’s the capital of fashion. Customers understand trends and are artistic here.”
An area in the store, which is located at 30 Gansevoort Street, is devoted to a display of archival pieces from Lie’s collections from the last 10 years, including a dress that’s in the permanent collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Lie, whose designs are architectural and fluid, develops his own high-tech fabrics and designs his own prints. His spring 2015 collection featured butterflies of different sizes fluttering across clothing and in prints combined with clouds. The show’s finale was a long, light blue tulle skirt with a top and belt that looked like they were made from painted armor.
It’s no coincidence that the designer has a flair for the dramatic; he was an actor before finding his calling in fashion. “Because he has a theater background, he always collaborates with different artists,” Lee said. “Lie loves art and is a big collector.”
Lie in 2009 opened the Blank Space gallery in Chelsea, which also housed the Lie Sangbong showroom. Before the Meatpacking District store opened, Lie closed the gallery and moved some of the art to the new space, dubbing one room Blank Space. According to Lee, the company represents 12 artists, including two from Korea. “We have another gallery in Bushwick in Brooklyn for emerging artists and we do art fairs,” she said. “We recently showed at Context Art Miami. We’ll have ongoing exhibitions in the store.” Lie hopes to capitalize on the cozy relationship between fashion and art. “The fashion crowd always gravitates toward artists,” Lee said.
For the “Dream Road” spring 2015 collection, Lie with Jang Seung-Hyo, a Korean sculptor and artist, designed a runway made from 1,888 12-inch by 12-inch glass tiles covered with butterflies and images from his collections. In the main room of the store, the runway now serves as a “rug.” A collage of moving images that was featured at the show is projected onto a screen.
Both of the designer’s collections, Lie Sangbong and Lie, a younger, less expensive line, are sold in the store. Lie Sang Bong blouses range from $450 to $1,000; jackets, $1,150 to $1,600; coats, $1,500 to $5,000; gowns, $2,000 to $4,000, and day dresses, $700 to $1,700. Lie blouses are $180 to $400; coats and jackets, $350 to $1,000, and dresses, $300 to $600.
In addition to apparel, the store offers sunglasses, ties and scarves of Lie’s design. Lie has done a variety of cross-category collaborations such as Lie Sangbong by Joker’s Closet, customizable shoes, and has worked on projects with LG phones, Samsung laptop computers, North American Fur Auctions and Chivas Regal. The store will offer products from his collaborations, including one with Franklin Planners, as well as products such as candles and speakers chosen to “introduce different design talents,” Lee said. “We want the store to be more lifestyle-driven. We’re also considering doing jewelry.”