NEW YORK — John Elliott has made the jump uptown, opening a flagship on Madison Avenue.
The Los Angeles, California-based designer on Sunday afternoon quietly opened the doors to a 2,500-square-foot space at 853 Madison Avenue, between 70th and 71st Streets. The store is the brand’s fifth brick-and-mortar location and its second in New York. The first, a 2,700-square-foot store at 270 Lafayette Street in SoHo, opened in September 2021 and is the most successful in the fleet.
“This is one of the most important streets in America,” Elliott said. “It’s a pinch-yourself moment to see your name on Madison Avenue. It’s a truly humbling experience.”
With more than 50 square feet of frontage and neighbors that include Prada, Chrome Hearts and Ralph Lauren, Elliott said the store opening marks a milestone for the company. “When we found the location at Lafayette and Prince, it was a dream opportunity,” he continued. “The same is true of Madison between 70th and 71st.”
The selling square footage of the new store is larger than any of the other units and represents “a fully actualized vision” of the brand, Elliott said.
Like Elliott’s other stores, the Madison Avenue unit was designed by Stephan Wiemer, who also designed the brand’s other stores on Melrose Avenue in L.A., SoHo, Miami, Florida, and Aspen, Colorado. It uses modular and utilitarian constructions to showcase the men’s and women’s collections. The store offers the full range of product, from leather pieces and Japanese denim to L.A.-manufactured sportswear and Italian-made footwear. An assortment of accessories such as modular leather bags and fine jewelry produced in collaboration with the cult Japanese brand M.A.R.S. are making their debut at the location.
“We’ve been working on developing men’s and women’s accessories for a while and we showed them in Paris on the runway, but this is the first commercial collection,” Elliott said. He worked on the bag collection for two and a half years and the pieces are designed to be functional and collapsible for traveling and everyday life. “They’re all made in Italy and I’m very proud of the outcome. We opened the doors at 2 on Sunday afternoon and they started to sell.”
The store also introduces the new John Elliott furniture collection, including a custom, half-moon shaped midcentury-inspired sofa and elevated beach chairs that are constructed from one continuous piece of iron with a translucent resin back and seat.
For now, the furniture is just carried in the Madison Avenue unit but Elliott would like to add it to the SoHo store as well as future stores he opens. “It can become an arm of the business — and home in general can become a bigger category for us.”
Elliott said that although he now operates two stores in New York, the customers who shop in each are different so the assortments are different. He believes the uptown store will attract a shopper more like that in Aspen or Miami.
“As the brand has gained traction with our brick-and-mortar imprint,” he said, “we understand we have a diverse customer base and this location gives us the opportunity to work on a subset of products that is also diverse.”
The store features Japanese matte white tile, organic curved walls, polished concrete floors and iridescent fixtures. Tropical plants are used as a way to bring a touch of nature to the space, and new to this location is a midcentury-inspired seating area for events and guests to relax. Lighting has been upgraded, too, with a gridded repetition of linear fixtures that are laid out to embrace natural light and create various rooms within the space.
Now that the uptown store is open Elliott said it’s time to “come up for air” before thinking about next steps. “We’re targeting markets outside the U.S.,” he said. On his list are the U.K., France, Japan and Canada, and he is already scouting locations in different cities in those countries. But nothing is imminent. “We’re just enjoying the fact that this store is open and we love the way it looks and feels,” he said.
A California native who grew up in San Francisco, Elliott founded his company in 2012 with his lifelong friend and business partner Aaron Lavee. He soon became a leader in progressive streetwear and showed his first runway collection for the fall 2015 season in New York.