The Brazilian Court Hotel, a staple in Palm Beach, Fla., will open Casa by Brazilian Court, an experiential luxury retail space within the historic property, on Feb. 15. Its first occupant will be Fivestory, the New York-based women’s boutique owned by Karen Murray.
Courtney Schlesinger, owner of Brazilian Court, hatched the idea as a way to enhance the guest experience and approached her longtime friend Murray to be the first retailer to be featured.
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Fivestory operates a store about a mile away from the hotel, but the aesthetic and the mix of the Brazilian Court outpost will be different. “Being in a hotel has always been a dream of mine,” Murray said. “And Brazilian Court is the best of the best. It’s beautiful, historic, glamorous and chic.”
“Karen has always given me the most unique and personalized shopping experience at Fivestory,” said Schlesinger. “I wanted our guests to have that same experience as if they’ve quietly stumbled upon a hidden gem of beautiful clothing and accessories with an expert stylist to match. This boutique should feel like an escape for women who want to feel ultraglamorous from head to toe when visiting Palm Beach. A vacation to the Brazilian Court is about refined relaxation, rejuvenation and fun, and I sought to bring that to this first collection.”
The deal with Fivestory is for one year and will include an exclusive capsule collection, curations and collaborations developed by Schlesinger. “Months of deep-diving into look books together have led to a truly remarkable collection that Courtney has curated and that Fivestory is proud to present along with her,” Murray said. “Guests will love the assortment’s diversity, as Courtney envisioned, in her unique taste and style.”
The initial mix will include Etro, Proenza Schouler, Prabal Gurung, Huishan Zhang, Isabel Marant, Marni, Missoni, Dmn, TWP, Nili Lotan, Favorite Daughter, Ganni, Emporio Sirenuse, Toccin, Victoria Beckham, Casablanca, Mark Cross, Olympia Le Tan, Rosetta Getty and The Sei. The assortment will also include one-of-a-kind vintage pieces by Dior, Hermès, Chanel, Gucci and others. Price points range from $250 to $5,000. There will be select menswear pieces from Casablanca and others.
“Our dream is to focus on the guest experience,” Schlesinger said. She devoted around 1,000 square feet to the concept as a way to offer “an escape to our guests.” She said that originally she had wanted to open her own boutique, but “I don’t know what I’m doing. I knew I needed a powerhouse like Karen. Everything she carries in her store is what I wanted.”
After tossing ideas around for three years, the result was Casa by Brazilian Court. “We thought it could be a pop-up, but I don’t like the idea of rotating retail,” Schlesinger said.
Murray said the Fivestory space will focus on brands that her store carries but the opportunity exists for holding trunk shows for other brands that are favorites of Schlesinger’s as well. “I will help her execute that for the year,” Murray said. “It’s very flexible because we both want this to be successful.”
Murray, who had served as chief executive officer of Sequential Brands Group and coalition group president of VF Corp., bought Fivestory in December 2019. She operates a flagship on Madison Avenue in New York as well as the Palm Beach unit. Murray said although she has high hopes for the Brazilian Court shop, there are no immediate plans to replicate the concept elsewhere.
“My customer travels the three points: New York, the Hamptons and Palm Beach,” she said. “This is my first hotel experience and we may look at other expansion in Florida, but I love this idea and wanted to do it with Courtney first.”
Since buying the Fivestory business from Fred Distenfeld and his daughter Claire Olshan, the road has been a rocky one for Murray. The sale was finalized just before the pandemic, she has occupied three storefronts in New York City, and is embroiled in a lawsuit with Distenfeld for breach of contract. That case is ongoing.
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