There's something about Pierre Hardy's shoes that are not only chic, but also cool. Whether he's creating affordable booties for Gap or a sky-high sandal in nearly-neon teals and melons, there's an architectural, thoughtful element to the form. Which means the final result is not as trendy or frilly as the styles of some of his contemporaries. And that's a good thing.
Hardy's new shop in the West Village--his first outside of France--embraces this philosophy. Created in collaboration with MR architecture, the space is a mix of concrete planks with molded wood, concrete cubes where the shoes are arranged, and steal I-beams, which serve as markers, slicing the room into three or four distinct spaces. One section features custom leather flooring and smoked glass screens, which give customers more privacy when they're trying on shoes.
The designer, whom we met this morning at 30 Jane Street, said that despite the space's--and the shoes'--industrial feel, in the end they "still have to be feminine."
As for the boutique's current star--a pair of heels with straps mirroring the New York City skyline--Hardy says he sketched it on paper as a modern jewel patchwork. But when it was wrapped around ankle, the skyline appeared. "It's like what you see when you're flying into the city."
How does he mentally formulate a design? It always starts with the heel, which is unsurprising for a designer with a vast catalog of pegs, from skinny squares to thick wedges. "There has to be some balance--you must watch what you put on top," he said. "Women are strong, but there has to be some restraint!" Now we get why our Pierre Hardy platforms are so comfortable.