If there’s ever a third “Sex and the City” movie, Nordstrom is here to provide Carrie and company with their haute, new haunt.
The just-opened retail destination at 57th and Broadway — the Seattle institution’s first Manhattan megastore, across the street from its men’s outpost, which opened last year — has a Christian Louboutin pop-up and a “Shoe Bar” where shoppers can sip cosmos while trying on Manolos.
“We started in 1901 as a shoe company,” says Nordstrom’s executive vice president and shoe guru Kristin Frossmo, adding that a third of the store’s styles are exclusive to the brand. “Our first 62 years, until 1963, we were just a shoe business. So it’s a category that we are very committed to.”
And committed they are, with everything from Valentino to Vans, ranging in sizes 4 to 14 for adults, with many styles in narrow, medium and wide widths. Boasting an astounding 100,000 pairs of footwear, it’s a shoe fanatic’s paradise.
You can get far more than your kicks here, to boot. Spanning four buildings, seven floors and 320,000 square feet, the flagship has 10,000 handbags and small leather goods, 10,000 tubes of lipstick, 6,000 pairs of jeans (160 styles in more than 100 washes) and 200-plus brands offering extended sizing (from petite to plus). There’s a Comme des Garçons corner, an Everlane pop-up, a velvet-walled Nike boutique and a Burberry shop with its own tea parlor (below left). For those feeling the pull of some primping, there are blowouts at Drybar and manicures at Base Coat.
Has all this shopping left you famished? Choose from seven food and beverage purveyors, including the elegant eatery Wolf for fare like tuna crudo and steak tartare, and Oh Mochi for gluten-free donuts.
“We knew it [couldn’t] be just another store in the mall,” says Dawn Clark, senior vice president of store design, during a tour of the new space. “It’s got to be something that feels special to New York and appropriate for New York.”
The layout amps up the cosmopolitan flavor of this Nordstrom, and feels far more open than most department stores, with gauzy chainmail curtains delineating designer shops.
Walls “can be a barrier for customers to feel confident enough to walk into that space,” says Jena Purdie, divisional merchandise manager for designer apparel. The veil-like drapery, she explains, allows “a lot more accessibility to our brands.”
Another thing the store has dispensed with: shadow box-like window displays along the exterior. Though this means a break from the traditional holiday dioramas to which NYC shoppers have become accustomed, the waveform glass facade allows for natural light to fill the interior environment.
The floor-to-ceiling windows not only work as a mood-enhancer — that is, if the shoe department’s champagne and complimentary services from select beauty brands aren’t enough — but they also connect this West Coast transplant to its Midtown surroundings.
“It gives us a dialogue with the city and the store — to make it be part of this neighborhood and not just be landing a box [in the middle of it],” says Clark. “It gives us an energy that is attuned to this dynamic nature of what fashion and retail is all about.”
Carries of the world, take note.