NEW YORK — Hermès has gotten the memo.
The French luxury brand has taken the movement toward experiential retailing to the next level, completely transforming its men’s store here into a vinyl record store for 10 days.
On Thursday night, the Madison Avenue emporium debuted Silk Mix, an art installation centered around music that has already been showcased in Madrid and Rome and now makes its way into the U.S.
“It’s all about silk and music,” said Robert Chavez, chief executive officer of Hermès. The concept was the brainchild of Véronique Nichanian, artistic director of Hermès men’s wear, and Christophe Goineau, creative director of men’s silk. They worked with Thierry Planelle, who has curated music for the company’s men’s shows for the last 15 years, to bring the idea to life.
The main floor was reworked to replicate an old-fashioned record store with bins of albums on display and a bank of turntables to give them a spin. But these albums had an Hermès twist: each of the covers sported a different silk design from the men’s assortment. “There are 225 styles and 53 different patterns,” Chavez said. “And you can pick your favorite and then play it.”
On the walls leading between the floors were dozens of cassette tapes whose cases sported men’s tie designs — 125 styles and 25 patterns of those.
Chavez said his first reaction to the Silk Mix store was a little bit of anxiety. “As a retailer, I had a few palpitations,” he said with a laugh. “But we keep talking about experiences in retail and I think when people come in and see this, they’re going to be very surprised. It’s very interactive and fun, so why not.”
Following its run in New York, Silk Mix will travel to cities including Brussels and Munich.