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Last week Nordstrom welcomed French design house Hermes with a cavalcade of orange balloons at its flagship store in downtown Seattle. The partnership between the luxury brand and retailer was a dream-come-to-life for Olivia Kim, Nordstrom’s VP of creative projects, according to her recent Instagram post.

A veteran to the concept of brand collaboration, Kim launched SPACE a few years ago as a curated pop-in boutique dedicated to showcasing new or up-and-coming designers—until now.

Hermes is neither new nor up-and-coming. In fact, the iconic brand began as a horse harness making shop in 1837 and secured its place in the fashion world in the early 1920s with the launch of its fashion accessory line, including ties, handbags, and of course, scarves.

Shop in Shop Props

Last Friday we took the short walk to visit the Hermes shop-in-shop and were greeted by the balloons, signature orange macarons and matching fizzy drinks. The friendly staff encouraged us to take pictures of the beautifully designed space and spend time viewing the scarves and accessories. This was not your typical luxury brand store experience.

Hermes partnered with Storey Studio to produce the eye-catching installation using colors and shapes inspired by the iconic scarves. The London based studio uses a combination of art and design elements to create engaging and immersive environments and have worked with Hermes in the past.

The shop looked like an art gallery, but behaved more like a swanky club—complete with a DJ spinning tracks in the background. Vibrant patterned scarfs were draped against clean white substrates highlighted by gradients of color. The beautiful soft silk begged to be caressed—but unlike an art gallery, it was encouraged.

Why would a brand like Hermes, boasting a rich history of craftsmanship and valuable brand equity couple up with a traditional retailer like Nordstrom?

Simply put—to reach untapped markets that may be unfamiliar with the brand or feel that it is unapproachable. The partnership between Nordstrom and Hermes perfectly balances the two competing goals of maintaining exclusivity while making the luxury goods seem more accessible to younger and budget conscious demographics.

Younger buyers are setting new standards and expectations for the shopping experience—authenticity, intuitiveness, and simplicity to name a few. Well-established brands should take note and find fresh ways to capture their attention … and their future dollars.

The Nordstrom Welcomes Hermes Shop-in-Shop will be open through to the end of January 2017.

We believe that every experience matters. View our branding, design and packaging work here.