The Webster Opens Up Shop in NYC Under the Discerning Eye of Laure Heriard Dubrueil
"This is my Scarface moment," marvels Laure Heriard Dubreuil , sinking into the Vladimir Kagan sofa in the VIP suite of the Webster’s recently opened Manhattan boutique—the fifth outpost of her lifestyle emporium (which sells a curated array of fashion and home treasures, from vintage ceramics to Gaetano Pesce resin cups). The first was born nine years ago in Miami Beach, hence the cinematic nod from the French expat, who, along with her husband, artist Aaron Young, and their son, Marcel, now calls New York City home. A quick tour of the new six-level store affirms that it mimics the gangster flick in glamour alone.
This particular chapter began in 2013, when our heroine spotted a vacant building on one of SoHo’s preeminent blocks. Damaged by a fire, the structure was but a two-story shadow of its former self. Undeterred, Heriard Dubreuil bought the building and—shortly before giving birth—won approval to add four stories. The city played matchmaker, pairing her with one of the last local cast-iron artisans. “My stores tend to be site-specific,” she says, noting that the Webster’s Miami Beach flagship is in an Art Deco building.
Her own melting-pot background is reflected in the Manhattan boutique’s interiors, a collaboration with designer Christopher Osvai. There’s the entrance’s terrazzo floor—a salute to both the Miami store’s 1930s lobby and Empire State towers of that era. A bronze version of the Webster’s flamingo mascot, which Heriard Dubreuil credits to growing up watching Miami Vice, was made by Rogan Gregory and is displayed on the ground floor. Elsewhere, paintings by New York artists Nate Lowman and Adam McEwen depict a pressed-tin ceiling and a gum-speckled sidewalk, bringing in local grit. Meanwhile, furnishings by Jansen, Gio Ponti, and Pierre Paulin (whose Concorde lounge chairs she reupholstered in fabric the color of Air France blue) wink at her European heritage. “The space is an extension of my own home,” says Heriard Dubreuil, who commissioned Pesce to create a resin children’s cabinet that resembles a smiley face sculpted out of Play-Doh. “It was important to me to have a kids’ area. I wanted something playful that gives good vibes.”
It takes guts to open a shop in the age of the internet. “People ask me, ‘Don’t you know it’s the end of retail?’ And I do think one type of retail is over,” she reflects. “But what makes the Webster special is that it is so residential—you want to take off your shoes, relax.” It’s a sentiment that echoes all the way up to the Scarface suite. “Be careful,” she warns of sitting on the Kagan sofa. “Marcel had a playdate the other day, and there might be some Legos hiding in the folds.”
At 29 Greene St.; thewebster.us