You’re probably au fait with its Vivienne Westwood heart fronted heels, but Brazilian label Melissa is much more than a one hit wonder, boasting collaborations with designers Jason Wu, Gareth Pugh and Karl Lagerfeld, as well as the architect Zaha Hadid.
Plus there’s the 4,640,164 Facebook likes…
Founded in 1979, the affectionately labelled (by us) grown up jelly shoe people have ‘roots’ in both São Paulo and New York – read: stores – and last week welcomed London to the family, setting up shop in Covent Garden (again, read: the brand’s largest concept store yet).
While it’s retail that fronts the operation, like its predecessors the Galeria Melissa London also acts as an exhibition space; Thursday’s launch event saw large LED screens with whizzing patterns and floating Perspex boxes containing archive shoes.
To celebrate the shop’s arrival at 43 King Street, Clash caught up with brand director Raquel Scherer, to find out more about those collaborations…
You’ve collaborated with so many different people, from fashion designers to architects. Do you have a favourite?
We can’t have a favourite because everyone is important. We always want to work with three strategic pillars for the brand; art, design and fashion. We are always searching for designers in these three areas and every designer or collaborator needs to have something in common with the brand and the brand DNA. That is why we cannot say which one is the most important.
In the UK at least, the Vivienne Westwood collection has proved massively popular. Why do you think this is?
I think it has proved popular because Vivienne Westwood is an icon not only here in the UK but within the international market. She is always so avant-garde in the way she dresses and in the design of her collections, and she applied this to the collection she created for Melissa. You can see that the Vivienne Westwood collection is different; Vivienne is always bringing something fresh, something new, I think this is why the collection has been popular.
And are there any designers left you’d like to work with?
Yes, we are always searching for new collaborators. We are in negotiation with a couple of artists. I think this is a time for Melissa to invest in artists connected to art, the art world. I think this will be a focus for us for the next couple of years.
Muti Randolph designed the new store. What was it like working with him?
It was a very good experience because Muti understands the soul of the brand, our essence. Muti designed our first galleries in St Paulo ten years ago. If you look at the building, the design of the building is still modern ten years later; it’s still fresh. This is one of the key reasons we work with him. I’m sure that the Galeria Melissa store in London will also have the same longevity.
And why London?
The London customer has always liked the Melissa product, London has always been a key market for us. Since the beginning of the internationalisation of the brand the UK was the strongest market. We have so many stores in the UK selling our styles including Selfridges; we believe this (new) store will be a success.
What makes the Melissa space so special?
I think firstly, the Galeria Melissa is not just a store; we have called it a Galeria because we want to work with the space, not just to sell the product. We want to bring new artists, exhibitions; this is the main difference between regular stores and the Galeria Melissa. I think that is the most important concept to understand because Melissa the shoe is a redesign of a usual shoe. The Galeria Melissa is designed to be redesigned; every three or four months we want to change the content, the interior and the front of the store. We always want to bring something new; we have the area downstairs for new exhibitions and artists.