2012 April 2
Zimmermann's NYC Debut: Soho Gets Further Aussie-fied!
(NEW YORK) The pretty frock purveyors behind girly Aussie label Zimmermann are a pair of sweet sisters, Nicky and Simone Zimmermann, who tend to the creative and biz ends, respectively—and last week, they (finally!) brought their Down Under flavor of dressing to NYC via an airy retail boîte at 87 Mercer Street. The Daily stopped by for a breezy check-in with Simone about non-serious style, that cheery hunk of confetti as decor, and the $750 item that's tough to keep in stock.
How was opening day?
It went well! One minute the door was shut and the next it was open, basically. Lots of people came through on day two, so I felt a bit of relief. I’ll probably be more excited in a few days.
Why did you open up shop in L.A. before NYC?
A little over two years ago, we decided to expand into U.S. retail; we got close to finding a New York store and then it fell through, so we ended up doing a summer store in the city instead. It was a temporary store on Greene Street a couple of years ago, in the location where Stella McCartney is now. We were always going to have L.A. and NYC locations, and it just so happened that we found a suitable store in L.A. first. Otherwise, probably if we had our choice, we would have opened our store in New York initially.
What were you looking for?
Location, location, location as they say! The Robertson Blvd. store came up and it was a lovely size, great spot; just very ideal. In January of this year my sister Nicky was just walking down the street and saw this location. We found the landlord and went from there.
What’s the deal with the décor?
We worked with a designer, Don McQualter, on our 16 stores in Australia, so we teamed up with him again for our L.A. and New York locations. He knows the sort of things we like, and we like the sort of things he does. It’s about providing a showcase for the brand—lovely, friendly and optimistic, without overpowering the products. Like our brand, the store is not too serious, and it looks different from our other locations—we don’t do cookie-cutter stores.
And what, exactly, is that colorful piñata-esque sculpture all about?
Don was looking for something that would bring in color and provided lightness, without a useful purpose, and he found New York-based Confetti System; they’ve done a number of store window installations.
Where does your sister and label co-founder, Nicky, cull her design inspiration from?
It’s very random; it could be a color, a flower, a holiday, a painting…It’s never the same thing. It’s not like Nicky has to go sit on a mountaintop and contemplate the world. There’s no time for that!
What’s it like working with your sister?
We’ve worked together for twenty years now, so we obviously have a rapport; we know who does what. I do the production and the business side—I make things happen—while Nicky does the design and is completely in control of the creative aspects.
Do you ever have sisterly squabbles?
I guess; it could be about anything. But the fights never last very long.
What was your most recent tiff about?
I can’t even think of it! But it’s usually something stupid, and probably happened because I was crankier than I should be.
How do you make up?
I’ll ask Nicky if she wants a cup of tea, or offer to grab her lunch when I’m running out. Then it’s done and dusted off. Nothing gets harbored!
What’s your collaborative process like?
Our office is beautiful—it’s a fantastic, big, open converted warehouse space in Sydney, with light coming in from all angles and big trees in front. It’s amazing.
What’s selling like hot cakes right now?
There’s a beautiful French lace dress that’s ridiculously popular. It’s $750, but we can’t keep enough of them in stock! A few Spring/Summer rompers are doing really, really well right now; some of the swimsuits in the olive and orchid color group have been successful.
What’s the most Aussie thing about you?
It’s our feeling of optimism! People tend to equate all things sunny and happy with Australia.
What’s your favorite Australian haunt in the city?
I’ve had some really fun nights at Kingswood…
Who are some of your closest NY-based Aussie pals?
One of my dear friends is renowned makeup artist Jodie Boland, who recently became an ambassador for Calvin Klein makeup. But Nicky and I have been coming to New York a lot over the last 15 years, so we have a bunch of friends living here and working in creative fields.
What happens when you convene with a posse of Aussies?
We have fun, we have a giggle, we have wine, and probably something to eat. But most of all we have a fun time, always!
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