Tanya Taylor Talks E-Commerce, Tulips, and Her New Retail Lab Space

The Toronto native just opened up shop at the Cadillac House 

Everything’s coming up roses—or tulips, rather—for Tanya Taylor. In two weeks, the Toronto native will jet off to Holland for its annual bulb festival, which she hopes to use as a jumping-off point for her forthcoming Spring 2018 collection. (She’s currently wrapping up Resort, which she’ll show in early June.) But for now, Taylor has shifted her focus to retail, at least for the next three months. 

As part of the CFDA’s Retail Lab initiative, the 31-year-old designer, who launched her eponymous, New York-based label in 2012, has set up shop at the Cadillac House in SoHo. She’s the fourth designer to open up a temporary brick and mortar in the space for the 2016-2017 term, with Pamela Love and Prabal Gurung up next. In addition to the retail space, Taylor will receive a $75,000 grant and mentorship from fashion industry figures. 

“It feels like this is months and months of work coming to a culmination and I can’t wait,” she said. “I just think it’s amazing that the CFDA is doing this—I think that retail is something everyone’s talking about. The deeper a brand can get with telling their story, the better they can resonate with the customer.” 

Taylor’s vision for her last collection—Spring 2017—has very clearly oozed into the shop, with mannequins cloaked in her cheery designs standing atop Pantone-colored sandboxes. The whole thing evokes a vacation-like feel. 

“We designed this modern beach installation for the Spring presentation and people had such an amazing reaction to it,” she said. “I think when you have an hour-long presentation, you don’t get the chance to really have people see it, so we decided to have that as the focal point of the retail space. It feels really clean and fresh.”

Taylor launched e-commerce just two years ago, and said sales have been strong. (Spring was her best season so far.) And with an impressive list of stockists—Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, and, among others—this is her first standalone shop and a glimpse, hopefully, of what’s to come.

“I think on e-commerce, you feel one step away from someone because you’re not physically there,” she said. “Walking away from this knowing what our best-sellers are and why and learning a little but more about our customer would be amazing, valuable knowledge to have. That’s the point of this.” 

Taylor added that the space also includes “quirky little elements” like custom-made pins and stationary, along with upholstered pillows and a range of accessories designed in collaboration with Lizzie Fortunato and Eugenia Kim. 

“I think it’ll look like you walked into a world of exactly how we want the [Spring 2017] girl’s closet to look like,” she said. 

As for the signature vehicle that’s often there in the space? (It is a Cadillac showroom, after all.) Taylor said hers will “live out in the world.” Just look for a floral-printed Escalade and follow the yellow brick road. It might not lead to the Emerald City, but Taylor’s blossomy paradise should suffice. 

The Retail Lab is located within the Cadillac House at 330 Hudson Street and is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and by appointment on weekends. 

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