In a year when many stores and businesses have been forced to shut down retail operations or close altogether, forging new brick-and-mortar business opportunities (particularly in a major global city hit hard by Covid-19) would seem nearly impossible. But the high-end Parisian jewelry house, Messika, has, against all odds, opened a new boutique in New York City’s Hudson Yards over the weekend. The sprawling shopping metropolis on Manhattan’s West side, which sits just above the city’s Chelsea neighborhood, opened in March of last year to much fanfare, but has since suffered setbacks with customers reluctant to shop and dine inside and tourist traffic down in droves. Major retailers like Neiman Marcus to restaurants like Thomas Keller’s Tak Room have closed, but Valerie Messika, founder and creative director of her namesake brand, is banking on the brand’s future in the Big Apple and the broader U.S. market following openings in Los Angeles and Miami last year.
The 1,000-square-foot space within the Hudson Yards mall will host everything from its unique high jewelry pieces to the brand’s instantly recognizable Move Collection, featuring floating diamonds that move within their settings and fronted by big names from Gigi Hadid to Kate Moss. A collection recently co-designed by Moss and Messika that debuted this Fall will also be on offer. (Messika also collaborated with Hadid on a line of jewelry in 2017 and 2018.)
But the best representative of the brand is Messika herself. In person, she exudes the same elegance, fearlessness and effervescent personality (with the style to match) that is inherent to the design of her brand. Born into a family of jewelers specializing in diamonds, she was destined to enter the business but when she founded her own label she was determined to make her mark by transforming her inherited expertise into jewelry made for the modern woman. Forget jewelry that looks like its meant to be enshrined in a museum or a vault, Messika makes her rocks for rock stars. Case in point: The centerpiece of her recent high jewelry collection was a collar necklace featuring a zig-zag pattern of diamonds that darted up and down the neck surrounding a massive 17-carat pear-shaped diamond. The inspiration came from the oscillating musical vibrations of equalizers visible on monitors in recording studios. Last year, her striking Black Hawk collection, inspired by Native American culture, blended pear-shaped Zircote wood and feathers with diamonds in an unusual mix of materials, while Moss’s creations include everything from edgy hatpins to Art Deco-inspired headpieces.
If you are in New York and looking to do some last-minute big-ticket Christmas spending (although the brand carries plenty of smaller jewels from studs to bangles), swing by and check out the new boutique. As for the rest of the U.S., Messika says she may have her sights set on Dallas next.