LAST WEEK, GRAY EDITORS ATTENDED THE PRIVATE, BUZZY LAUNCH OF THE CÉLINE + NORDSTROM POP-UP SHOP COLLABORATION BETWEEN THE FRENCH LUXURY FASHION HOUSE AND NORDSTROM VICE PRESIDENT OF CREATIVE PROJECTS, OLIVIA KIM. The boutique will appear in the flagship downtown Seattle store through May 29, and then it travels to Vancouver, B.C.’s Nordstrom in July (there with F/W 2018 pieces). Kim is showcasing her own curation of Céline’s S/S 2018 collection, including four items created exclusively for the pop-up. Extra notable, of course, is that Céline’s longtime creative director, Phoebe Philo, is departing soon, after a successful 10-year reign. Céline fans have little to love about losing Philo, so this pop-up offers some salve, not to mention cool items you can’t get anywhere else.
In addition to an assortment of ready-to-wear apparel, jewelry, sunglasses, shoes, and handbags, the four exclusive pieces in the collaboration between Kim and Céline are its classic leather multi-key rings with a pop of vibrant red, the Solo clutch in tan lambskin, the signature cat eye sunglasses in baby blue with mirror lens, and the 180 lace-up sneaker in a refreshing white/green canvas.
Kim wanted to keep the shop design true to Céline’s elegant aesthetic, creating an experiential environment using a soft architectural structure of felted wool. Over email, Kim gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the pop-up.
Why Céline? Has this been in the works for a while, or did it come together quickly?
OK: When I think about partnering with brands and taking on projects, I seek out brands that I really love. Céline has always been special to me; I remember the first bag I bought in London, and I wore a Céline dress when I got married at city hall—it’s a brand I’ve turned to time and time again. The conversations began months ago, and it’s been a strong collaborative effort with the Céline team to bring this one-of-a-kind pop-up together.
What about the Céline brand resonates for you right now, and how did that inform the pieces you chose?
OK: I’ve always loved the simplicity, modernity and strong heritage of Céline, and know I can continually find beautifully designed ready-to-wear and accessories. The brand has been a long-time staple for women who want smart and timeless investment pieces to build their wardrobes. While the shop features all categories—ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, jewelry, and eyewear, I’m most excited about the exclusive capsule collection of accessories that we created together for this shop. Céline accessories are the perfect minimal statement pieces that can become the foundation of any outfit—a pair of baby blue cat eye sunglasses or a pair of statement earrings can make a white t-shirt and a pair of jeans feel elevated and modern.
What are some of your favorite pieces in the pop-up?
OK: My favorite piece in the shop is the clear plastic shopper that went down the Céline SS18 runway. We have partnered on an exclusive version for the pop-up that includes a tan lambskin zip pouch. It’s not only a conversation starter, but it is a 3-in-1 bag that can really take you anywhere.
What were you going for with the design of the space? How did the design come together?
OK: We wanted to create a unique environment that felt warm, experiential, and inviting for both Céline loyalists and customers who are new to the brand. The shop is divided with openings to each section, which creates a sense of discovery and surprise at every turn. The design was inspired by elements of Céline’s signature aesthetic, a soft structured style with clean lines. The metal fixtures, glass-top tables and geometric podiums are balanced soft felted wool textures, and we chose the bold graphic-print flooring to help the shop stand out.
What makes the Seattle and Vancouver stores specifically the perfect locations for a Céline pop-up?
OK: As our flagship store, Seattle is where it all begins for Nordstrom, and the Vancouver location is also a very important door to us. We know the customerin those markets have an appetite for the brand. The spirit of Céline is very fitting for the Pacific Northwest, where there is an appreciation for luxury that is minimal, modern, and classic all at the same time.