Argentinian brand Maria Cher has just landed on Madison Avenue, with an elevated and elegant boutique that fits in snugly with Manhattan’s most well-heeled zip code. Now sitting pretty between 80th and 81st streets, the divine 1,000 square foot space is a calming and serene blend of textures, finishes, and furnishings, conceptualized by the designer’s fellow countryman, architect Lula Galeano. The surroundings are the perfect backdrop for Maria Chernajovsky’s collections of contemporary pieces which are rooted in both ’70s and ’80s silhouettes and interpreted through the aesthetic of her hometown of Buenos Aires. With just one glance inside the door at the leather, concrete, and wood interiors—not to mention the delicious puffy De Sede sofa—we instantly needed to hear more about the 20-year-old brand and its plans for US domination. Here’s everything you need to know…
Congrats on landing on Madison Avenue! What does this mean to you?
Thank you! Our store at Madison Avenue means so much to me because it was such an intense creative process; the intersection of design and style and creation of a space that at once is harmonious with our brand’s aesthetic but also the store’s own geographical and cultural positioning. We sought out expression in the form of diverse shapes, textures, functionalities, and experimented with conceptual materiality. It was our goal that within the space the objects we had curated were lent a sense of timelessness, abstractly dreamt, and seemingly unplanned, all through the lens of pre-constructed beauty. We are so proud of this space and atmosphere it creates as a window into our world and collections for our US customers.
Tell us about the design of the store.
This store is a remarkable accomplishment of interdisciplinary creative sharing. We were able to gather a combined organic vision, matching the narrative of our design team together with the perspective of Argentinian architect Lula Galeano and the outstanding craftsmanship of artist Giovanni Valdeavellano.
What do you want people to feel when they enter the space?
We want to evoke a warmth that makes you feel at ease, yet also be inspired by the new design elements—a particular blend of aspects that are both familiar and surprising.
For those who don’t know, tell us a little about your backstory and when you founded your brand?
Maria Cher began its journey in Argentina 20 years ago and now we have grown to enjoy a global presence. Our brand is known for never adhering to trends, and always forging our own design vocabulary. Embracing opposing sensibilities—soft feminine with tough masculine styles and striking yet effortless designs—balancing two perspectives, and a point of view that resonates with women the world over.
How has your own global background shaped your identity and style?
My view has been shaped by personal experiences around the world. This includes my design training at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London and an early career in acting and dance, which inspires the drama and fluidity of my clothes. My trips all over the world, which are often driven by my deep passion for architecture and design, also have a profound influence on my own style and what I design for Maria Cher customers.
We’ve never been to Buenos Aires! Can you share your top five recommendations?
-Visit the Delta of Paraná River: it is an amazing chance to take a boat trip through a huge maze of rain forests and rivers containing over a thousand of tiny islands. This is just one hour from Buenos Áires’ downtown.
-The MALBA (Museum of Latin American Art) is filled with the largest collection of Latin American art with avant garde 19th and 20th works. The museum showcases pieces by Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Antonio Berni, among others
-Taste the best experience of traditional Argentinian grill at Don Julio. It is selected year after year as the best restaurant in Latin America.
-Visit “Casa Curuchet” at La Plata (only 50 km from Buenos Aires). It is the only constructed building designed by Le Corbusier in South America. A masterpiece of modernist design and declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
You design for women all over the world. What’s one thing that unites your global muses?
To me, it has to do with a sense of freedom to move forward. Our women across the world are united by a taste that balances urban common sense with avant-garde.
Is there one piece from the collection you can’t stop wearing on repeat?
The heavy cotton trench, and the tailored jackets and vests over printed pieces: a continuous interaction of feminine and masculine.
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What else do we need to know about the collection and the artisans you partner with?
Working with only the most luxurious fabrics and expert makers and responsible production is a core belief for us at María Cher. Sourcing and production takes place globally; fostering long term relationships with select partners located primarily in South America and Europe. The majority of the collection is made in Argentina. Knitwear is expertly made in Uruguay with small-scale family businesses as well as more established producers. High quality silk is sourced in India and Europe, leather from Turkey and Argentina, cotton jersey from Peru, and cotton gabardine from China and Belgium. And jewelry is handmade in Los Angeles.
What’s your favorite thing about visiting NYC? Where are your usual go-to spots?
I love visiting NY and have since I was a teenager! The best thing about NY is the unique energy I feel whenever I arrive, the creative spirit, and the diverse culture. I love to run in Central Park, walk around Tribeca, Chinatown, and Brooklyn; where I have lot of friends. Some of my favorite things to do include dinner at Stella and Dante, brunch at Sant Ambroeus, and visiting the MoMa.
What’s next for the brand in 2022 and beyond?
My dream is to really grow Maria Cher in the US. I am so excited about this, we have opened two incredible stores in such a short space of time. And then I think next stop will be Europe…
Peek inside the store opening soirée, below!