Kilian Joins the Downtown Crowd
After the successful launch of a freestanding store in Moscow last November, Kilian Hennessy has set his sights on New York City. The first By Kilian fragrance boutique in the U.S. debuts tonight at 804 Washington Street, a chic block nestled in the cobblestone landscape of the Meatpacking District. The black-and-white decor combines the sleek, sophisticated By Kilian aesthetic with the cool, industrial vibe of the neighborhood. Think custom-made furniture, Japanese lighting, and silk carpet, plus exposed brick painted in white lacquer. Customers will get to explore the brand’s complete collection of fragrances, including Apple Brandy, a sweet and woody scent that will only be sold at the NYC location. In between final preparations for the store opening, we got Hennessy to talk shop.
What made you want to open a boutique in New York City—and why now?
Who doesn’t dream of opening a store in New York City? We have actually been searching for the right location for a year!
Why did you choose the Meatpacking District?
We knew right from the start that we wanted to be downtown. When the space next to Louboutin Men’s and in front of Nicholas Kirkwood became available, we jumped on it. The square footage was perfect, and it will be amazing when the Whitney Museum opens in 2015.
What are some of the design elements that you wanted to include in the space?
I absolutely wanted the feeling of a downtown store, which is why we kept the exposed brick on the walls. To offset this, however, we lacquered the brick in white, added black marble flooring, and dropped in a black lacquered ceiling. I also really wanted to give our clients the feeling of entering into my private world. That’s why the [boutique] has been designed to mirror my apartment. For me, it is of utmost importance that anyone who enters the store feels at home. [A customer] can stay as long as she wants to discover our bespoke service offering, or to [experience] our collections of perfumes and evening bags.
Why did you decide to create an exclusive New York-inspired scent for the boutique, and how does it epitomize NYC?
I didn’t want my New York store to be a copy/paste of my Moscow store. Of course, the key visual identity elements will always stay, but I really want to keep the flavor of the city and its culture. I always want to preserve a sense of uniqueness. This comes through some design elements and through exclusive products. No other store in the world will carry [Apple Brandy]. This scent is very personal. It’s an accord of apple liqueur melting with woods. Of course, there is a wink to the Big Apple, but I would have never done it if the two didn’t blend so well together.
As a member of the family that developed one of the world’s most beloved cognacs, we trust that you know a thing or two about brandy. Looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
804 Washington St., New York, NY, (212) 600-1298; www.bykilian.com.
Photo: George Chinsee