NEW YORK — Alice Temperley is bringing her party to New York.
The English designer, known in London for entertaining and dressing a roster of social clients and fashion models at her Notting Hill studio, is opening her first showroom in New York today in a 5,000-square-foot loft in SoHo. The concept is similar to her London headquarters, where the space is geared as much to throwing events as it is to selling clothes.
“It’s more like you’re inside of a big, fancy dress box,” Temperley said. “The idea works beautifully for us in London, where it’s a showroom where we also can sell one-of-a-kind pieces or do commissions for private clients because it doesn’t look like a commercial project.”
Temperley, 28, has built a reputation in three years by approaching fashion in her own way, independently and with a sense of fun. Her signature collection, which includes dresses and sportswear ranging from $100 to $4,000, is carried in 50 stores around the world, including Henri Bendel, Language, Scoop and Intermix in the U.S. Servicing those accounts was one of the primary reasons behind opening the U.S. showroom, but Temperley also said she wanted to enjoy some of the glamour of New York, where she plans to spend about one-third of her time.
She originally considered opening a strictly retail space in the city, but could not find a site she felt was appropriate for the range of products in her own line, as well as items she plans to carry from friends, like knitwear by Alex Gore-Browne, accessories by Francesca Amfitheatrof and boots from Jane Brown, all London designers. When Temperley found the SoHo space, at 453-455 Broome Street, she decided to replicate the approach of her London studio, where she hosts parties that double as trunk shows and morning shopping parties called “Breakfast at Temperley’s.”
“It also makes me feel like I’m not in the fashion industry,” Temperley said. “I see myself as more of a textile designer than a fashion designer. The fashion industry terrifies me.”
Temperley and her husband and business partner, Lars Von Bennigsen, have gutted the space, filling the loft with sofas the size of mattresses, antique gilded mirrors and a big plasma screen to play movies and fashion shows along one wall. To inaugurate their work, they are, naturally, throwing a party tonight in their new locale.