EXCLUSIVE: John Hardy Debuts Flagship Redesign

After his debut collections for John Hardy launched last spring, creative chair Reed Krakoff has now taken on retail, unveiling a redesign for the artisanal jewelry brand’s SoHo New York flagship.

The refreshed store is right in step with Krakoff’s modernization of the product assortment he ushered in since being appointed to the creative chair role by the jeweler’s owner, the giant private equity fund L Catterton.

More from WWD

“Artisanal, colorful, bright, engaging,” Krakoff said were his first thoughts on how he wanted his take on the retail footprint to be. Words that describe the store aesthetic but more so, he said, in “how it is felt and and experienced.”

The 1,200-square-foot space at 118 Prince Street, in the heart of SoHo, is the brand’s sole U.S. retail space — not for long, but more on that later.

The homage to Bali begins at the entrance of the store, with a doorknob in the shape of a naga dragon, a mythical creature long known as part of the John Hardy design language. Previously the brand’s owned stores had a darker vibe with large wood features to showcase the jewelry, but Krakoff has gone bright and airy with large floor-to-ceiling windows, rather than traditional vitrines, allowing the entire shop and jewelry to be flooded with natural light.

Gone are the brooding fixtures, in is his marigold orange splashes of color, the color now used in packaging, another touchpoint Krakoff has evolved.

“It’s a very common color in Bali,” he said of the new saturated hue seen throughout the space. “It felt like the right color, given the connection to the brand’s birthplace, and it feels seasonless.”

The John Hardy SoHo flagship.
The John Hardy SoHo flagship.

The shop’s opening is anchored by an enormous digital screen that projects a “vision-scape” montage of images and sounds.

“It’s not an ad,” Krakoff cautioned, “it’s atmospheric.”

Suspended from the ceiling at the center of the store is an intricately woven bamboo sculpture by Balinese artist Udianat, made of strips of bamboo that were meticulously woven and layered in a random pattern over a bamboo frame without the use of glue or fasteners. It winds sinuously through the air as an abstracted interpretation of John Hardy’s signature handwoven chain.

John hardy
Updated John Hardy packaging.

The creative chair said the shopping experience has been reimagined to be comfortable, relaxed and informal, so customers can linger and play with the pieces they’re considering. To connect the retail experience with the digital and social world, an open-sell dressing table features an interactive mirror that captures images so guests can share looks they’ve put together on social media or with friends.

Krakoff’s new products are merchandised differently, with each collection living together in a display case, highlighting a new edited point of view of each theme. The recently launched Spear collection, which marks Krakoff’s reinterpretation of the brand’s icon assortment, lives up front, greeting customers as they walk into the space, its hand-wrapped 14-karat gold and sterling silver sparkling from sunlight cascading in.

“It speaks to the elevation and sort of sexiness or sensual side of our story,” he said of the collection.

Another line front and center: the Surf collection. Marketed as a celebration of the coastal lifestyle, it uses a distilled wave motif interpreted across cuffs, pendants, hoops, bands, and earring drops; each handcrafted with 100 percent reclaimed sterling silver and 14-karat gold with pavé diamonds. The collection is “a more casual kind of laid-back style, but a very refined,” he explained.  The release of it was timed to the store refresh, toeing the line between Krakoff’s luxury beach vibe and the brand’s deep links to Bali.

Distilling and editing has been key to his modern point of view. “In the past it was a broad collection. A few thousand [stock keeping units],” he remarked. “Sometimes too much is too much. It needs a point of view for the customer also and from a design standpoint.”

The back of the store leans into lifestyle — a category Krakoff hinted at being one he’d like to explore more along with a home offering — with a tea tasting bar, created in collaboration with Bellocq Tea, that offers a selection of handcrafted luxury teas for guests to enjoy while they shop. Inspired by the lush landscape and rich tea traditions of Bali, the blends created exclusively for John Hardy include Jasmine and Marigold Blossom Tea; Milk Oolong, Rosebud and Lemongrass Tea; Indonesian Breakfast Tea; and a caffeine-free Balinese Ginger Tea with Lemongrass and Chrysanthemum.

The flagship serves as a base and next up in mid-October, a pop-up store in the Miami Design District. A smart next step for the tropical vibe John Hardy is emanating under Krakoff’s watch. “It’ll be an outgrowth of this space,” he said, “but it’ll just be a different treatment.”

He continued, “we’re working quickly to usher in a lot of change.”

Best of WWD

Click here to read the full article.