by Lore Croghan
Attention Andy Warhol: Your favorite skin-care shop is opening an outpost on Montague Street Friday.
Kiehl’s, the East Village apothecary that counted the famed artist as a customer, is unveiling its first Brooklyn store on a prime corner of Brooklyn Heights’ Numero Uno retail corridor.
Warhol was a fan of Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion – a skin-care potion that’s one of the best-known items in the retailer’s skin, body and hair care products lineup.
The Brooklyn Eagle was first to report that Kiehl’s would be coming to 124 Montague. We thought readers would like an advance look at the finished store buildout.
Anybody who was out on Montague and Henry streets Wednesday night got an eyeful. Neon Kiehl’s logos inside the shop – and a fancy bronze and crystal chandelier – lit the place up like a Christmas tree.
Near the front door, a skeleton garbed in a lab coat and a bow tie stands sentinel, like a grinning greeter. Kiehl’s stores always have one of these guys – his nickname is Mr. Bones.
As another touch of whimsy, there’s a photo booth for customers to use. Just think – an old-fashioned alternative to selfies.
There are gleaming wood floors and an exposed-brick wall, design elements usually seen in Kiehl’s stores.
One wall is decorated with bold designs of fruits and flowers above gleaming metal shelves with neatly arrayed products.
Another wall, which is painted black, has an eye-popping mural of the Brooklyn Bridge, a winged skull and lightning bolts and the inscription “Close Shavers Squadron Since 1851.”
This custom artwork was hand-painted by Jon Contino, according to a fact sheet Kiehl’s PR exec Rachael Kelley sent out.
He’s a graphic designer whose clients range from Coca-Cola and American Express to Notre Dame University. His studio, which was in Greenpoint until recently, is now located in the Hudson Valley.
The mural decorates a section of the shop known as the men’s “shave bar” – a place with “props to demonstrate the perfect shave,” Kelley’s fact sheet said.
Another in-store innovation is a smartphone-like Kiehl’s SkinProfile Diagnostic device that customer reps will use to figure out what kind of shape shoppers’ skin is in.
The Montague Street store’s grand opening starts at 4 p.m. – and the first 50 people in line will get gift cards worth up to $1,000.
To increase the fun factor at the grand opening – which will have a DJ and “Brooklyn-based refreshments” – a free “soft truck skate clinic” will be given by Homage Brooklyn Skateboard Shop & Skate Academy.
(If you don’t know what that means, it may not be your kind of thing. It’s a clinic on skateboarding where pads called soft trucks are used to keep the skateboard wheels from spinning.)
Launched in 1851, Kiehl’s has been on a worldwide expansion drive since the U.S. subsidiary of Parisian cosmetics giant L’Oreal purchased the family-owned company in 2000.
The retailer – which prefers to build its stores on corner locations – carved out 830 square feet of the handsome two-story Montague Street commercial building’s first floor for its shop.
Corcoran, the previous occupant, is retaining the second floor of the building and some first-floor space for an entrance on Henry Street. The real estate brokerage is renovating that upstairs office and in the meantime maintaining a presence nearby at 145 Montague St. Corcoran has also opened a Brooklyn headquarters at 1 Pierrepont Plaza.