Nordstrom's new Hermès pop-up has a unique please-touch, please-Instagram attitude.
The centerpiece of the new Hermès pop-up shop inside the downtown Nordstrom is a towering “silk room” made up of hundreds of strands of vibrantly colored pieces of silk. It’s a visual representation of what this first-of-its-kind shop is trying to accomplish — playfulness and a please-touch attitude.
Robert Chavez, president and CEO of Hermès USA, says the brand has never set up a stand-alone boutique before, and has never displayed its luxury goods outside of glass cases overseen by helpful but vigilant salespeople. You had to ask to see something and wait for it to be unfurled.
At the Nordstrom boutique — which, for now, is considered an extended pop-up shop slated to remain through 2017 — customers can touch nearly everything. Silk ties are rolled and tucked, in rainbow order, into accessible cubbies. Jewelry hangs from magnetized partitions. And the best idea: The brand’s famous scarves are displayed on the types of hangers often used to hold rugs. Customers can see the intricate patterns and designs and feel the luxurious materials as they skim through the rolling racks.
So why do this type of boutique here and now? Olivia Kim, Nordstrom’s director of creative projects who curates the store’s pop-up shops, pitched the idea some time ago. But it took some convincing, Chavez says, to get them to try the new venture. Kim promised that the Seattle luxury buyer was younger than average and the concept had the potential to draw in a new generation of Hermès shopper.
And that’s where the “silk room” comes in. It’s circular with space inside for two or three people to stand. Moving through the thin silk ropes has a pleasantly disorienting feeling. Once inside it’s Instagram-bait, with a mirror ceiling made for selfies.
Will the concept convince younger shoppers to drop three figures for a scarf or tie? On day one, it was certainly luring them in and excitement was high. At the least, it’s worth stopping by and taking advantage of this unique opportunity to get up-close and personal with once-rarified luxury goods.