Willo Perron on his design for Skims’ New York pop-up, inspired by 60s swimming pools
Willo Perron of Perron-Roettinger tells Wallpaper* the story behind his summertime pop-up for Skims, Kim Kardashian’s shapewear label
The latest member to join the ongoing Rockefeller Center revolution in New York City is none other than the shapewear and loungewear brand Skims, founded by Kim Kardashian in 2019. Marking the first time that the brand has been physically available in the Big Apple, and also its largest retail presence to date, the Skims summer pop-up eye-catchingly straddles Rockefeller Center’s iconic Channel Gardens and integrates the garden’s existing water feature into a memorable feature of its own.
Willo Perron on his swimming pool-inspired Skims pop-up in New York
Designed by Willo Perron of Perron-Rettinger, who has been a longtime creative collaborator of the brand, the Skims summer pop-up is drenched in a vibrant shade of baby blue. ‘When Skims came to us with the idea of a summer pop-up and the release of their swimwear, we started exploring this world of pools and water. The blue felt very appropriate; it’s a nod to water, summer, pools and swimming,’ says Perron, who has created all of Skims’ temporary presences, first in Paris and Los Angeles in 2021, Miami in 2022 and an all-pink Valentine’s Day themed installation earlier this year.
‘Most of the interior language stemmed from curves and softness of bodies. Like the human form, there’s never a hard or perfect angle,’ he continues. ‘There’s a sense of playfulness and sensuality when you never meet a sharp corner. The glossy finish also references the pool tiles and moulded plastic furniture of the 60s and 70s.’
Situated directly in the line of Rockefeller Center’s towering Art Deco skyscraper, Perron’s design is notably unified with its surroundings. Windows to the front and back of the space provide uninterrupted sightlines to Fifth Avenue and Rockefeller Plaza, while a dramatic water fountain, resembling a diving board, is enough to get any passers-by into a summer mood.
Perron says, ‘We felt we needed to embrace the narrow verticality of Rockefeller Center. It needed to be impactful, going higher to occupy space in a different way. Visibility was important while integrating and taking design cues from the Art Deco environment around us. You can almost imagine a synchronised diving scene from a movie of the same era.’
‘The diving board felt like a perfect way to connect the installation to the existing water features,’ he adds. ‘We wanted people to have a unique experience passing under the fountain, offering a very immersive approach to water without getting wet.’
In New York, visitors will be able to peruse and buy Skims’ must-have essentials for the warm weather season, such as its cult cotton jersey T-shirts, its swimwear line, underwear and loungewear. A mobile ice cream cart doling out cold sweet treats from hometown ice-cream hero Morgenstern’s NYC will also be on hand to keep rising temperatures down.
Skims summer pop-up shop, the Channel Gardens at Rockefeller Center, 620 Fifth Avenue, New York.
Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.
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