Retail Safari: Best of NYC AW22

Hazel Howat

From 5th Avenue to Soho. Bloomingdale’s to Macy’s. Tiffany’s to FAO Schwarz. New York City is renowned for being home to some of the world’s most esteemed shopping locations.

Last week, we ventured to NYC, to the stores of Manhattan and Brooklyn to find out what was new on the retail landscape, selecting below some of our favourites of what experiences the city had to offer…

Best of Experiential Retail – Disney Encanto x CAMP

While we don’t talk about Bruno, no no no! … what we do want to talk about is the new Disney Encanto x CAMP takeover at their flagship store on 5th Avenue. No ordinary toy store, ‘The Store with the Magic Door’ allows shoppers to enter through a concealed passageway into a fantastical world of exploration, play and imagination. And with the most recent reinvention of the space, the magic of Disney and the Madrigal’s Casita is captured everywhere you look.

Welcomed to the experience by the voices of the characters, you can swing through the trees and branches of the rainforest before wandering through Isabela’s floral-filled bedroom or Luisa’s ‘Happy Place’, every corner of the space peppered with picture-perfect opportunities.

Through the cobbled streets of the town square, you are surrounded by market carts of many kinds selling customisable character-based clothing, books and memorabilia. It truly feels like you have stepped foot into the movie itself – perhaps accentuated by the fact we visited on Halloween weekend, and so there were more mini Mirabels and Antonios walking the space than usual!

The unique combination of retail, media and entertainment creates the realest form of immersive storytelling; the interactive environment brings ‘Encanto’ to life in a sensory wonderland, elevated by the movie soundtrack, whimsical lighting and subtle aromas.

It is such a beautiful example of how retail collaborations, when true-to-brand, can resonate with customers in profound ways: and this celebration of culture, and both brand’s commitment to family and fun, created a memorable experience, engaging young and old alike.

Best of Community Retail – Ugg ‘Feel House’ Pop-Up

Colder days and darker nights can only mean one thing. UGG season is back. And to embrace the season and their latest resurgence in fashion, UGG are making their comeback by breezing onto the scene in Brooklyn with their newest ‘Feel House’, a pop-up centred on self-expression.

Emulating the feeling of wearing the boots themselves, the home-from-home retail space provides a cosy sanctuary, and a much-needed escape from the city buzz beyond the store walls. Warm lighting installations and soothing audio, create a sense of mindfulness and relaxation, strengthened through the refreshing aroma of dry leather and sea salt, which alludes to the brand’s origin story on the beaches of California.

The community-focused retail space is rich in multi-sensory and textural touchpoints created in collaboration with several local artists. Intended to deepen the emotional connection that UGG have with their customers, each installation is centred around ‘feeling’: immediately immersed as you enter the store through a sensory light tunnel, followed by a sofa covered in positive affirmations and then an interactive thought-wall, each touchpoint intends to evoke feelings of positivity and reflection.

Aside from the perk of being able to grab yourself a pair of Classic Mini’s, or the TikTok-trending Tasman Slippers, the ‘Feel House’ has perfectly managed to create a customer-centric environment, making shoppers feel both seen and known by UGG. By reaching out to existing members and a new local community, the concept not only puts customers first, but also their wellbeing, values and desire for self-expression.

Best of Permanent Retail – New Hermes Flagship

A tale of two cities, Hermès latest flagship store located on Manhattan’s Upper East Side is ‘the expression of Hermès in New York’. The fusing together of old and new. Where heritage meets future vision. Parisian elegance meets metropolitan vibrancy and glamour. The renovated building is quite a spectacle, consisting of three existing buildings which have been combined to span across 4 floors.

A visualisation of the brand’s principles, craft and creativity are evident throughout the brick-and-mortar space. Through the architecture, the juxtaposing angles and smooth curves echo the Manhattan skyline and New York Art Deco influences. As the store itself was once home to the Bank of New York, this can be seen in some of the fittings of the store, as the original staircase and panelled ceilings remain intact.

Handcrafted wallpapers and contemporary décor bring a warmth to the store, and despite its vast scale, creates a welcoming and home-like atmosphere. The neutral palette of pinks and browns, is contrasted by accents of moss green and rich chocolate, giving the impression of nature unfolding around you as you navigate the space.

Flashes of vibrant colour come from the specially selected artwork which weaves around the walls of the staircase, all of which were selected from the Maison’s archives. Artfully continuing the story of Paris and New York, this deepens the connection between brand and customer as you dive deeper into their legacy as you journey through the space.

The experience itself is the epitome of luxury, as the store is equipped with coffee and champagne bars, butler service, and even concealed rooms where you can receive a private shopping experience.

Even with the grandeur of the store, the vision of it be ‘akin to a bustling home’ rings true as you leave with a heightened sense of energy and essence that you have spent time with family.

The Hermès flagship is a testament that authentic and unfussy store design is as alive and needed as ever, bringing a meaningful and joyous experience – a feeling which cannot be replaced or easily replicated with digitally-centred stores.

Best of Pop-up shops – Louis Vuitton Sparkle Pump Pop-Up

Newly arrived in the heart of Soho, Louis Vuitton have launched a pop-up store in preparation for the imminent release of their Sparkle Pump collection.

With its pointed toe and flared heel, the chic silhouette of the slingback shoe takes inspiration from one of the House’s most iconic handbags – the Coussin – as several of the 13 styles feature the same LV monogram-engraved chain as the bag itself. A heel of such stylish sophistication of course deserved a store interior equally as refined and beautiful.

Alongside the Sparkle Pumps, Coussin bags are presented around the space, creating a wonderful link from product craft to store design. The white textural walls of the store bear the LV monogram embossing, creating a cushion-like surface, reminiscent of the puffy lambskin of the bag itself.

The subtle sheen on the walls continues this apparent appearance of cushioned leather, whilst the blue of the carpet links again to the product colourways and creates a much-needed pop of vibrancy in the otherwise neutral space.

Despite it’s supposed simplicity, we found that the art was in the details. The consideration which has been crafted into the story from material to product to store design, creates an experience of luxury and subtle elegance, a true reflection of the brand.

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5 min08 Nov 22