Stroll down the pastel-hued splendour of Collins Avenue, and you’ll find one of Miami’s most elegant Art Deco buildings. Designed by Henry Hohauser in 1938, The Webster was originally an iconic hotel in South Beach. Since 2009 it has been been home to one of our favourite multi-brand boutiques.
Behind the pink and blue frontage lies a sanctuary of luxury. A meticulously curated selection of high-end and emerging labels, The Webster has put Miami firmly on the fashion map. Ascend each of the concept store’s three floors and you’ll find covetable treasures – from exclusive capsule collections (most recently with The Ritz, Paris), jewellery (new and vintage), art and books and opulent modernist interiors. Make it to the top floor lounge and take in magnificent views across the ocean.
Under the direction of Parisian founder, Laure Hériard Dubreuil, The Webster now has five standalone boutiques in the US, with its latest opening in NYC’s Soho. But the super chic South Beach location will always be our first love. We recently caught up with Laure to talk about finding new designers, staying true to her vision and her must have pieces right now.
Hi Laure, what’s the philosophy behind The Webster?
I first came to Miami for Art Basel in 2006. I had nothing to wear and while I was shopping, I noticed that there was a real opportunity for a luxury boutique over there, so I decided to create The Webster to offer an intimate and exclusive shopping experience to people. The Webster is a true concept and lifestyle store that creates a seamless nexus between art and fashion from a Parisian perspective
The interiors and merchandising of the store are so beautiful and unique. How did you bring your vision of it to life?
Merchandising is paramount in the retail world. Over the years, I have learned that how you create products within a store environment has a tremendous effect on the customers. Along with fashion, I have always been interested in art and interior design, so both elements are very important to me. I often collaborate with interior and furniture designers to create and realize my vision.
How do you approach curating brands for the store? Are you conscious of ensuring a balance of new and established brands?
Absolutely! I travel quite a bit and I am always discovering new designers and brands. I live for these moments. I also strongly believe that it is my responsibility to support emerging designers. A balance between new and established brands is crucial as it allows us to distinguish ourselves from other retailers.
What do you wish you’d known before launching?
How long it takes, and how complicated it is to renovate historical buildings.
You have boutiques now in Houston and recently launched in New York – how do you ensure that they retain the essence of the brand, and do you have plans to expand further?
My team and I learn season after season about all our markets specificities in terms of style, size, and taste. We are communicating a lot with our retail teams as they are our main source of information. I love working on different assortments depending on the market and today brands are offering so many options which allows us to be relevant in each market while maintaining the store’s DNA and heritage. Believe it or not, the biggest difference and impact between our locations is the weather!
Your closet must be a dream. What are some of your most fabulous purchases from The Webster?
What’s on the store’s playlist right now?
In these digitally-driven days, do you think stores need to work harder to create a unique experience for customers?
100%. Today, customers have a very specific shopping behaviour. They know what they want and they are very focused in how they purchase and make an investment. Moreover, e-commerce has provided new opportunities, but also challenges for brick-and-mortar stores. In particular, luxury brands have opened to the digital era slowly. All in all, it’s a very exciting time for retail with big changes and challenges ahead. We need to stay ahead and learn to adapt.