Tory On: 151 Mercer
Our 151 Mercer store opened this week in the heart of iconic SoHo, historically an epicenter for artists. Mixing old and new, different cultures and time periods, the boutique is filled with design details inspired by Tory’s experiences — baskets hanging from the ceiling like they did in her childhood home, a Honeycomb wall that nods to the apiary in her garden… Below, Tory dives into the boutique’s exciting journey and discusses the incredible partnerships that helped bring her vision to life.
Why 151 Mercer Street? Why now?
New York is the city that keeps on giving; it has given me so much. I moved here three days after graduating college. It’s where I raised my children and built our company. It’s a homecoming in a way. My first apartment is not far from here, and our very first boutique is just a five-minute walk from 151 Mercer Street.
151 Mercer is an opportunity to give back. It celebrates New York and represents our commitment to the city, which has gone through so much during the pandemic. It’s the most personal store we have ever designed. It is filled with found objects, art and furniture that I have collected over the years from my travels or which we found specifically for the store. It brings together a clash of old and new, different cultures and time periods, from African to Americana, Deco to Swedish… which, to me, is what city is all about. Where people, cultures and ideas come together.
Tell us about your concept for 151 Mercer Street.
It’s a new retail concept for us. We wanted to create specific environments that highlight different products. For instance, the “Honeycomb” wall on the ground floor shows our Fall 2021 handbag collection in a new way, and the circular shoe salon upstairs invites people to sit and hang out.
Architecturally, we partnered with Curiosity’s Gwenaël Nicolas. He brought in a minimalist approach that creates an incredible tension of ideas that I am always interested in. Old and new, hard and soft, minimalist and maximalist.
Mercer is a place of discovery, for shopping and experience. We plan on hosting ongoing speaker and creator events and dinners with women doing amazing things in different industries.
SoHo is known for being the ‘artists’ neighborhood.’ How does Mercer reflect that history?
It was incredibly important that we honor and support the neighborhood’s history. We commissioned women artists and local artisans to create handmade pieces throughout the store. Francesca DiMattio created the chandelier hanging in the second-floor shoe salon. Her sculptures challenge traditional norms of femininity.
Along the ceilings of the stairway, there are hand-hammered metal Tree of Life motifs made by a local New York studio. The Tree of Life has always fascinated me ever since I learned about it in art history. It’s centuries-old and present in almost every culture as a symbol of renewal and eternity. It felt right for this moment in New York. The stairs also feature authentic jellig tilework, a Moroccan tradition of hand-done tiles.
We partnered with the International Center of Photography to create ICP x Tory Burch: A “New” New York. On the ground floor, through the end of the 2021, we are presenting work by four women artists — Jutharat (Poupay) Pinyodoonyachet, Paola Fiterre, Lara Alcantara Lansberg and Willamain Somma — whose photographs focus on how the city landscape has been altered by the pandemic, while conveying a sense of hope in its renewal. That space will always exhibit artwork by women artists. We are also supporting local downtown organizations, including Parsons School of Design, the Henry Street Settlement and the Children’s Museum of the Arts.
What else are you doing to celebrate the opening of Mercer?
With the Fall/Winter 2021 collection’s inspiration and our return downtown, we are focused on bringing more attention to the city and incredible people, places and things that make it unique. Our “Love Letter to New York” film, by Daniel Arnold, captures a group of extraordinary women, all entrepreneurs and creators, and how living and working in New York has influenced and helped them. And of course, we created a map of our favorite spots in SoHo between Mercer and Elizabeth Street, where our first boutique was.
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