Michelle Smith was all smiles with her husband/Milly CEO Andrew Oshrin Thursday night as they celebrated the opening of the first U.S. Milly boutique on 73rd and Madison. As Milly fans packed in for glasses of champagne and bites of shrimp and chorizo, the couple behind the label looked completely at ease in their surroundings. That’s no surprise, since they say the outpost feels like a home away from home. “We live two blocks away,” explained Oshrin, “and my job for the past two months was to be here at eight or nine every morning and make sure the construction moved on time,” he added. While the shop is conveniently close to the couple’s home, they’re confident it’s also a prime location for the Milly consumer. “Even though we feel it’s sort of a destination store because it’s above 72nd street, we think it really reflects who the core Milly customer is,” he said.
Now that construction is finished, Smith and her husband were happy to show off the finished product as they welcomed party goers into the store. The designer wanted to evoke the feeling of her family’s apartment and picked out everything from the matte dove-grey paint, to the Lucite and polished brass fixtures, to the vintage Milo Baughman chairs. “These chairs were originally chrome. I redid them in bronze and reupholstered them in the signature Milly pink,” she said while pointing out the cheerful pop of color. The interior also boasts hints of French neoclassical architecture, a nod to her training in Paris. Smith notes her experience in couture at Hermes, Louis Vuitton, and Dior continues to influence the quality of her own label, as well as the boutique’s aesthetic.
The opening soiree drew in tons of ladies-who-lunch and MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski, who co-hosts “Morning Joe,” the couple’s favorite show. But Oshrin found a lot of tourists have been popping in for purchases, between visits to the Whitney and Central Park. “It’s probably difficult to judge in one week’s data but we found that we’re getting a very large foreign customer base which has been fantastic,” he explained. The cash register was also pretty busy last night as guests picked up dresses and tops in their favorite floral prints and bold geometric patterns. Part of the evening’s proceeds will benefit the Central Park Conservancy Playground, a cause important to Smith. “I have two small children and I’m in the park every day. So I think it’s really important help maintain the playgrounds and maintain the gardens,” she said.
So can we expect more Milly stores popping up in the near future? The couple plans to play it safe. “We want to wait about six months to evaluate how well we’ve done, who the customer is, and try to get some data,” explained Oshrin. As for collaborating with a mass retailer, it’s not on the top of their list but we may see a Milly shoe line in the next year or so. Since the brand turns ten this year, we wondered what Smith’s vision is for Milly in the next decade. “I’d like to be relaxing on a beach somewhere,” she joked. In all seriousness, Smith says she would like to open more shops throughout the country as she continues to expand her business. But for now, she’s looking forward to a relaxing summer vacation in Harbor Island.