Famed for its hardworking Chelsea boots and other finely crafted leather goods, the iconic company RM Williams has been a bastion of Australian heritage and identity since its founding in 1932. Renowned for producing durable footwear made from single pieces of leather, a concept that was developed by it eponymous founder to suit the lifestyles of pioneers dwelling in the Aussie outback, the brand has now upped sticks and opened its first boutique in New York City.
Located in Soho, the airy boutique has been conceived by the retail design agency e2 and Mika Utzon Popov, a sculptor/draftsman/printmaker and grandson of Jorn Utzon, the architect behind the Sydney Opera House. Inspired by the natural light in the outback, Popov has created a site-specific sculpture that evokes an aerial view of the country’s indigenous landscape. Using hand tools similar to those traditionally used to create the brand’s wares, the sculptural wall feature serves as a dramatic focal point in the space.
Overall, the boutique has been designed to resemble the heritage wool sheds more commonly found in the Aussie countryside. A timber storefront and long, copper-plated display tables bring a rustic feel to the interior, which is enhanced even more by a steel framework for hanging and showcasing products, much like traditional stockyard fencing. Leather wall panels and a special flooring treatment that emulates the outback’s red earth complete the evocative picture.
The store will not only be home to R.M. Williams’ signature pieces such as men’s and women’s boots, belts and accessories, but it will also offer the label’s new bespoke service, which allows customers to create their own unique boots.