As many a TikTok can attest, buying a handbag from Polène is a bona fide event. From the Numéro Dix with its intriguing crescent moon shape to the Numéro Nano (accented with distinctive pinched details) and the fluted Numéro Huit, Polène’s leather goods have earned a passionate online following thanks to their distinctive, curvy silhouettes. But the Parisian company’s IRL storefronts — and the long lineups that they inspire — are also a key part of what has turned the brand into such a social media sensation.
The company’s first outpost, in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, elegantly recreated the rounded forms that define Polène’s designs. Opened this past fall, its second boutique in New York follows the same fluid formula, but adds an extra dose of downtown attitude. Credit for the space goes to interior designer Valeriane Lazard, an alumnus of both Studio KO and Vincent Van Duysen.
Under Lazard’s direction, rich walnut and creamy travertine combine to achieve an atmosphere of warm grandeur — or what the designer dubs “monumental minimalism.”
Indeed, while the busy New York streetscape outside is cluttered with the hard lines of fire escapes and traffic posts, inside is an oasis of clean curves. Large archways mimic the sweeping straps of a handbag, dividing the store into intimate areas while still maintaining an openness and sense of flow.
Custom furniture is another highlight. Sinuous walnut chairs by design and fabrication shop Château Brooklyn continue the project’s circular motif while also reflecting the local creative community.
Other elements reference the flexible material that gives Polène’s bags their sculptural presence: a statement table commissioned from Spain’s Jorge Penadés features a top assembled from compressed leather straps, while a custom five-seat woven leather chair holds court in the centre of the back room.
Equal parts airy and debonair, Polène’s new space demonstrates that you can take the Parisian brand out of Paris — but you can’t take its signature French style out of its Manhattan showroom.
Interior designer Valeriane Lazard devises a chic Broadway storefront to showcase the Parisian brand’s cult-favourite handbags.