If it’s not exactly a match made in heaven, it’s a collaboration that comes pretty darn close. When Club Monaco announced it would have a pop-up concept store in Noma (voted four years in a row as best restaurant in the world), it was a case of “but of course!” more than anything else. And as we delve deeper into the pairing, we’re beginning to see it – like the brand’s clothes – as fitting and versatile. Female reports exclusively from Copenhagen, Denmark.
One of Culture Club’s – Club Monaco’s visual blog – pillars is food (fashion, travel, art and music make up the rest), so it seems natural that the brand would team up with Noma for this epic pop-up. The relationship is a little deeper than that though. According to Caroline Belhumeur, creative director of the brand, Club Monaco and Noma share the same aesthetic and approach.
“Rene (Redzepi, Noma’s chef) has always been a Club Monaco fan. He went recently to our newly renovated store on Fifth Avenue, to get clothes for himself and his wife. And he really enjoyed the store experience. We have a bookstore in our store, which is part of The Strand, and he did a book signing at our store, which is something we do regularly with authors. So when his team went off to Japan, the idea was to bring Club Monaco to the restaurant – it seemed like a natural fit,” she says.
The CM At Noma pop up – from now till Mar 13 (need another reason to visit Copenhagen?) – is timed perfectly, while Noma is out in Tokyo with their own “pop-up” restaurant in Mandarin Oriental. The restaurant is converted into a store with books from The Strand (New York), a coffee cafe by day (managed by Sweden’s famous store Koppi Kaffe), a wine bar at night (run by Copenhagen’s Ved Stranden 10). The interior has been given a makeover by Club Monaco’s visual artists, and it results in a look that informs Noma’s own aesthetic – organic and stylish.
“This one is just understated, obviously it’s a smaller environment and it’s a little kinda cleaner, more focused, there’s less home (ware) here than in our Southamton store (Long Island), it’s more about focused brands here,” adds Belhumeur. “It’s kinda an interesting collaboration with the food and the fashion, so I think something will come out of it next time.”
The focused brands she mentions are the ones that the brand also carry in their stores. (Club Monaco doesn’t just carry their own brands in their stores, they also sell jewellery, bags and candles created by their partners and collaborators). So in Noma you will find artisanal candles from Brit Rachel Vosper, jewellery by stateside’s Michelle Campbell, and leather goods from bespoke leather company Lotuff.
Noma probably didn’t set out to be the best restaurant in the world (four times!), but it is now ridiculously famous and popular. According to Peter Kreiner, Noma’s managing director, the restaurant gets 150,000 reservation requests a month (a month!), but they can only have two sessions a day – feeding about 50 foodies each time. “We don’t want to turn people away, but there’s nothing we can do,” he tells us. “This pop-up allows people to experience Noma in a way they normally couldn’t.”
“Noma has never been used for anything else before. Obviously it’s an amazing building, and to be able to use it as a pop-up store is an amazing thing,” says Belhumeur. “And what’s interesting is that, it feels so natural, because when you walk into this store, it feels like it’s always been like that. It doesn’t feel like it’s a restaurant, it’s very natural, [the design team] have done a great job. The clothing sits quite easily in here, that’s kinda the reflection of the relationship between Noma and Club Monaco.”
Without doubt, this is one of the world’s most exclusive and unique pop-ups, and one that, we’ll stick our neck out and say, will never be replicated. The experience is amazing, the vibe is right, and it really feels like home – the most amazing home in the world. The only setback? There’s ironically no Noma food to experience. Book your flight now.
CM At Noma, on now till Mar 13.