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July 26 2014

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Nicholas Kirkwood’s New Digs: 1,500 Square Feet Of Shoes And A Garden To Boot

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Two days before the opening of his New York store—his first on U.S. soil—Nicholas Kirkwood is talking by phone from the space, which, from the sound of it, is still very much a construction site. The 1,500-square-foot store, with its white, gray, and beige palette and minimal decor, will have, he says, “a charming feeling. It’s all very easy on the eye. It’s hopefully a relaxing kind of shopping experience.” Behind him, a very loud horn blares. “A boat?” he wonders with a laugh. (The Hudson River is a block away.)

If he isn’t able to relax just yet, it’s easy to believe relief is coming soon. Kirkwood is arguably the most exciting new footwear designer of the last few years, and his New York location is poised to be a major new outpost for his brand. The store is designed to emphasize space: “I like the idea of doing something else that you can kind of walk around and explore it,” he says. “It kind of has a gallery-esque feeling, without being quite as cold as a gallery.” (The reference is apt; the new, downtown site of the Whitney Museum will be just across the street when it opens. “That’s going to be absolutely fantastic,” he says.)

The store will sell the full Kirkwood collection, as well as a selection of collaborations with other designers, including Peter Pilotto, Erdem, and Paco Rabanne, at the opening; other collaborations, like the shoes he makes for Prabal Gurung, will eventually arrive. Just outside, and visible through the back windows, is a garden. “The luxury of having a garden in New York is quite special,” he says. For the opening, Cecilia Dean and Anne Christensen will host a private tea party; customer events will likely follow.

The store debuts with an opening party on Friday night, once every tile and display is in place. Is Kirkwood swinging a hammer himself, a reporter wonders? “I might do,” Kirkwood deadpans, “if they don’t hurry up.”

Nicholas Kirkwood opens Friday, May 4, at 807 Washington St., NYC, www.nicholaskirkwood.com.

Photos: John Aquino

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