SCHMOOZING: GHURKA OPENS MADISON AVENUE FLAGSHIP

by Brian Lipton
Famed American leather goods company Ghurka celebrated the opening of its flagship boutique on Madison Avenue and 69th Street in New York City with an invitation-only party on Wednesday, October 11.

The design of the Madison Avenue store was led by Ghurka’s Creative Director, Kathy Formby, who set out to achieve a space that is best defined as elemental luxury. The 16 feet-high walls bear custom lacquer paint done in the brand’s classic military khaki color, while the Louis XVI parquet flooring imported from France is complemented by the store’s antiqued brass shelves. The mix of vintage and bespoke décor creates an intimate environment that serves to emphasize Ghurka’s commitment to superior style.

“Ghurka’s product offering has grown over the last few years and we felt the larger selling space of this new store would grant us the opportunity to fully express our distinct design spirit,” says Formby. “The specific location will also allow us to engage and connect with our core customer, in real time; to understand their lifestyle needs, design preferences and overall shopping behaviors”

In addition to its well-known line of bags and accessories, Ghurka is further diversifying its Madison Avenue product assortment with the release of the Surplus collection, a capsule of one-of-a-kind bags selected from archival collections. These unique designs were hand-washed in Los Angeles and later antiqued in New York with a combination of patches, stencils, paints and other army surplus-inspired materials.

As part of the event, a short section of a new documentary, entitled Tribes on The Edge, by socio-environmental advocate and filmmaker Céline Cousteau was shown. Cousteau not only stars in the brand’s fall/winter 2017 campaign, but she and Ghurka have collaborated on the design of a specialty leather-bound notebook, the Ghurka x Celine Cousteau World Travel Journal (which retails for $150), which is being sold at the Upper East Side store, along with other limited-edition products. Ghurka will donate 25 percent of all proceeds from sales of this limited-edition product to Cousteau’s latest impact campaign, as well as 10 percent of profits generated through a series of customer-facing marketing initiatives that will be activated throughout the fall season.