Harrys of London, the purveyor of high end lace-ups, loafers, sneakers and slippers, has opened a flagship store at one of New York City's most exclusive junctions, Park Avenue and East 57th Street, just a few blocks from Bloomingdale's and the Plaza Hotel.
The brand's profile has risen as celebrities, like the tennis pro Novak Djokovic and the actor Joseph Fiennes, have begun wearing its shoes. Last September, the rapper Common wore a pair on the popular American late-night talk show The Tonight Show, starring Jimmy Fallon.
The brand's new store is a homecoming of sorts. Though registered in the capital of the U.K., Harrys of London Ltd. was founded – in 2001 – by a native New Yorker, the entrepreneur and private-equity investor Matthew Taylor Mellon II. Most Americans will recognize the Mellon name from the Mellon Bank (now the Bank of New York Mellon), Carnegie Mellon University and the (Andrew W.) Mellon Foundation, all founded by Matthew Mellon's ancestors. Matthew Mellon himself, moreover, died in 2018 from what has become an American plague, opioid addiction, which has killed about 400,000 in the U.S. over the past 20 years.
Four years after founding the footwear brand, Mellon sold a 40 percent stake in Harrys to Atelier Fund, which is part of the Richemont luxury group. In 2014, Palladin Consumer Retail Partners of Boston acquired a majority stake. At this point, Mellon retained some equity but had no say in the company's management. In 2017, Harrys was wholly acquired by Charles S. Cohen, a real estate developer and media entrepreneur in New York. In addition to two stores in London and the new flagship, Harrys operates two stores in Kuwait.