The Webster has a new hall. And this one is a six-floor walk-in closet complete with the David Mallet Salon, hailing from Paris, and a VIP Penthouse home to styling rock star athletes, gold studded musicians, and A-List celebs. Located in downtown Manhattan, this new, exclusive multi-brand boutique is offering New York fashionistas the ultimate way to shop in a sophisticated home style setting with furnishes by Jansen, Gio Ponti, and Pierre Paulin. Working with notable brands including Balenciaga, Valentino, and Saint Laurent, Laure Hériard Dubreuil is curating the best of the best, and all under one roof—one that was restored from an 1878 cast-iron building on Greene Street. With 12,000 square feet of flirtatious fashion and cosmic cosmetics, you can find anything from one of a kind merchandise created to celebrate the launch of Dubreuil’s boutique to Thom Browne sport jackets, Olympia Le tan clutches, and Chanel lace dresses.
So we sat down with Dubreuil to talk about how she's built The Webster into a national brand, her journey to opening her dream location in Greene Street, collaborating with designers such as Stella McCartney, and the advice she has for Manhattan shopaholics looking to build a career in the fashion industry.
Laure, tell us about The Webster. What makes this shopping mecca so special?
LAURE HERIARD DUBREUIL: The Webster is a luxury multi-brand boutique with five locations (Miami Beach, Bal Harbour, Costa Mesa, Houston and New York’s SoHo) and an online store. I think what makes The Webster special is the feeling when you walk in, it is very residential. You want to take off your shoes and relax, you feel like you’re at home. The furniture and art is highly curated and site specific. For example, the floor at The Webster SoHo that is terrazzo, is so much part of the NYC landscape—you see it on the floor of the Empire State Building. We commissioned NYC sculptor Rogan Gregory to create a new take on our mascot, the flamingo, in bronze. The elevator walls is my Working Girl reference; I took pictures of an elevator as I was walking out of a business meeting in an iconic midtown skyscraper. To the reupholstered vintage furniture and pillows in custom Pierre Frey velvet, whose family I grew up with, everything is very personal and comfortable.
I’m also obsessed with merchandising! We love every single item in our stores and curate them, like you would your own wardrobe or how you would style yourself. We don’t have shop in shops and no brand asks to be separate from others, which is something I’m very happy and proud of. They understand the importance of our merchandising mix, from Chanel to Rosie Assoulin to Marine Serre, for our customer.
Truly, a fashionista’s ultimate walk-in closet. Who are some clients that shop there?
LDH: Our clients are very global, they are coming from everywhere in the world and shopping everywhere in the world, so it’s important to have things at The Webster you cannot find anywhere else. We work very closely with designers to come up with exclusive capsules every season or if there is a shoe we love, we create an exclusive color for The Webster. The most exclusive product, in a beautiful environment with impeccable service.
The name The Webster is so unique. How did you decide on it?
LDH: It is actually the original name of our first permanent location in Miami which was The Webster Hotel in the ‘30’s. It’s a very beautiful historical Art Deco building designed by Henry Hohauser.
Its trademark is the flamingo. Why?
LDH: The flamingo is really a symbol of Miami for me. When we opened, Michael Roberts designed our own flamingo and I’ve been using it as the mascot for our store ever since. We just launched The Webster Kids which brought him to life through a children’s collection and book!
Recently, you opened your newest location in SoHo in a restored building once damaged by a fire. Why choose this location?
LDH: I first saw the building almost five years ago, I remember it so clearly as I was pregnant with my son! It is an 1878 cast iron building on Greene Street but had been reduced to just two floors after a fire. I got permission from the city to add four further floors and worked with one of the last people who knows how to use cast iron in New York. It was a real labor of love. We have four floors devoted to retail, three women’s floors that includes fine jewelry, accessories and ready to wear. Our fourth floor is mens. On every floor everything is merchandised for discovery, you’ll find Chanel hanging between Celine and Altuzarra next to Marine Serre and Yves Saloman, like it would in your own wardrobe. We have a David Mallett salon moving into our fifth floor in October—I’m so excited, he’s the best of the best of the best and we’ll really be able to look after our customers from head to toe. On six we have the Penthouse which is a very beautiful private space for events, designer appearances or for hosting clients. Even though it’s in the heart of Soho, when you’re standing out on the terrace it feels very calm and a little European. There is an intimacy to the store, it’s important to us that all our visitors feel very comfortable and at home.
You've exclusively partnered with many couture designers. Does having 90 percent of your merchandise unique to The Webster make the shopping experience more superior? Can you explain these exclusive partnerships and who some of the designers are?
LDH: It is super important to us, that what you find at any of The Webster locations is different to what you find elsewhere. Each of our stores have very different personalities and each has a very curated product assortment. The Webster has a very strong point of view which is why our clients shop with us. I think brands—and in turn our customers—appreciate our mix and enjoy the different perspective our merchandising gives to their collections. We also aren’t buying pieces that are only hot for two months. Even when it is a super fashionable or trendy piece, there is a timeless quality to it. That’s important to me because that’s not how I shop or dress and I think our customer appreciates that. We work with designers to create capsules, like with Off White and Rosie Assoulin but when we love a shoe or a bag from a collection we will often develop an exclusive colorway or treatment like with Chloe, The Row and Pierre Hardy.
Where do you plan to open your next outpost?
LDH: We have five stores right now. South Beach and Bal Harbour in Miami, The Webster Houston, The Webster SoHo, The Webster South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. An exciting addition to the family is coming late next year. Watch this space!