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If The Shoe Fits

Luxury shoe brand Stuart Weitzman opens an inviting yet high-end boutique at King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania




PART OF TAPESTRY (New York) and based in New York, Stuart Weitzman officially launched in 1986 with its first store opening in 1993. Bearing the same name as its founding designer (who retired in 2017), the brand is known for being a choice footwear option for red carpet appearances. Recently, it debuted a boutique in Pennsylvania’s King of Prussia mall.

If The Shoe Fits

Being the first location to support the retailer’s latest concept – designed and implemented by Paris-based agency Malherbe – it is meant to feel luxurious yet approachable.

“This was one of the biggest missions,” says Ella Birnbaum, Managing Director of Malherbe’s New York outpost, about giving the store a more inviting, residential aesthetic, making a visit feel like “an invitation into someone’s living room.” Essentially, the design team aimed to impart an elegant impression without being overwhelming, Birnbaum adds.

If The Shoe Fits this page: Recently opened at King of Prussia, Stuart Weitzman’s latest boutique aims to create a luxurious yet comfortable retail environment that feels like “an invitation into someone’s living room.” PHOTO: MALHERBE

Guillaume Anastasi, Creative Director, Retail, Malherbe, says one of the project’s design directives was to make the store feel as comfortable as a pair of Stuart Weitzman shoes. “We wanted to build a shoe salon, a place where you can stay an hour and [are taken to] another place with decoration – with a lot of softness and a lot of attention to the customers,” he says. Materials, according to Anastasi, were the main component in translating the new design from concept to reality.


Elements are clean, modern and tactile, primarily in a nude color palette: Soft, textured rugs and herringbone-patterned floors are the base for creamy wallcoverings and organic, curving fixtures. Contemporary display tables work as VM moments for accessories, and a feature wall showcases red carpet celebrity moments with the brand throughout the years.


If The Shoe Fits

The retailer’s previous in-store design was created by famed architect and artist Zaha Hadid, and it was important for the brand to keep a similar softness and architectural touch but in a more modern way – there had to be a symbiosis between strong and comfortable elements, says Birnbaum.

Beyond the customer-facing aspects of the design, Malherbe assisted the retailer in reorganizing and improving its back-of-house storage – a key component to any shoe store, which has to keep a plethora of sizes available. “We had to fit a lot of SKUs and a lot of shoes,” Birnbaum says.

If The Shoe Fits The store’s primary color palette of nude tones is sleek and modern while curving fixtures and plush seating help soften the space for an inviting atmosphere.

“Dwelling and spending time here is very important. Customers sit and feel comfortable; there’s a key seating area in the middle with a very cozy sofa and a little table where you can have a glass of champagne – it’s about connection,” says Birnbaum. “At the same time, we really wanted a monumental, architectural theme that would be a memorable wow.”


Through a collaboration of materials, services and modern fixtures, the new Stuart Weitzman concept is just that.





MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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