Whether it’s fingerless black wool gloves from Hamburg based line The Girl and the Gorilla, ballet flats by Sonia Rykiel, or a distressed leather handbag from French designer Jerome Dreyfus, concept store Kisan is sure to quell your thirst for the eclectic. The SoHo store, which opened its doors in September, is home to books, toys, housewares, gifts, music, toiletries, and apparel with origins that span the globe.
“You cannot open this store anywhere. It’s an atmosphere that fits with the place, it has to fit with the place and the people and the neighborhood. First, coming to New York, it was obviously a SoHo store for us. We didn’t see us ourselves on Madison Avenue or even in the Meatpacking District,” co-owner Olivier Brémond said of his and partner Thórunn Anspach’s decision to open the first stateside outpost of Kisan in this neighborhood, “That’s the difference with a chain or a multi-store brand. We need to fit with the history of the place in some way and become part of the neighborhood.”
Paying a visit to the boutique invokes a truly European experience for the customer, with an extensive selection of product from Iceland, France, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Japan, and England (with a smattering of domestic goods thrown in too). The cleanly designed atmosphere of Kisan is modern and friendly and the displays are eye catching and space efficient, with smooth transitions from accessories to ready to wear.
Kisan carries perfume, candles and lotions from French perfumer Annick Goutal, art books and journals, vintage inspired paper dolls, as well as Carla Bruni’s latest CD, Comme Si de Rien N’Etait. The second two thirds of the store is dedicated to women’s ready to wear, accessories, and children’s clothing, including standout pieces from Sonia Rykiel, Ports 61, Les Praires de Paris, and Vanessa Bruno.
The couple said that all of the interesting trinkets and designers they came in contact with during their frequent travelling served as fodder for the opening of the first Kisan store in their hometown of Reykjavik. “We find different things and what fits together. The store is like a collage. We put things together that don’t obviously fit together and by the end of the day they fit,” Brémond said, adding that the original concept store just celebrated its third anniversary this month.
“People really like the store in the neighborhood. We were very warmly welcomed and people said it was great because it was an independent store and it’s not a chain or a brand,” said Anspach, “It’s what was missing in SoHo.”
Kisan, 125 Greene Street, New York, New York, 10012, (212) 475-2470, kisanstore.com