By Meredith Fisher
Designer Maria Cornejo has a knack for charting new territory. Her Mott Street store was one of the first boutiques to open in NoLIta seven years ago, and now her second Zero store has opened this past weekend on the corner of Jane Street in the West Village. "It's a great feeling to be in a different neighborhood," says Maria. "It gives us an entirely new perspective on the collection."
She is not the first to forgo the heart of the Meatpacking area for a quieter stretch of Greenwich Street (Martin Margiela and Christian Louboutin are her neighbors), but Cornejo was particularly drawn to the integrity and history of the area. "We found this space three weeks ago," says Maria's business partner, Marysia Woroniecka. "There is just something about the space that felt very right, and the understated element of the area is in keeping with the aesthetic of the collection." While the NoLIta space references its industrial past as a former garage, the new location finds more inspiration in nature and the storied surroundings. The only element of the once dry cleaner that remains are the street-front windows. Light wooden floorboards lead into curves in the rear, concealing the dressing rooms, and her glittering Keds are on display on tree trunks placed throughout the store.
Zero, which is sold in stores like Ikram in Chicago and Dover Street Market in London, could open more individual retail locations in the future. "Our strategy has always been to open our own stores," says Marysia. "Having this second one will give us the opportunity to remain in touch with our clientele and see how people experience the clothing." For this season that includes the Ajuma, a bi-colored linen tank dress with a fitted bodice and signature bubble hem, or a ruched calf length number that gently clings in soft cotton. The new store might also see the re-introduction of her menswear line, which was discontinued a few years ago. As Maria points out, "When you have your own location, you get to experiment a bit more."
She's become a staple for NoLIta devotees, and now designer Maria Cornejo brings her sleek Zero sensibility to the West Village with a new shop on Jane Street.