New York City Jeweler Fassbinder Returns With a Holiday Season Pop-Up Shop

When Fassbinder shuttered in New York City’s West Village in 2008, that was the end of the brick-and-mortar business Sonja Fries and business partner Hal Ludacer had run for almost a decade. Or so it was thought.

Now clients like Michael Stipe and Julianne Moore have another shot at the shop’s distinctive bohemian jewelry. On Nov. 10, Fries is opening the doors to Fassbinder once again—in the form of a holiday pop-up shop on Smith Street in the Cobble Hill area of Brooklyn.

Born in the Bavarian Forest, the designer has turned a space that’s an ice cream parlor during the summer months into a winter wonderland where prosecco and German spiced mulled wine will freely flow at holiday festivities such as live music nights with cello and harp.

Fries will sell her own collection alongside other New York City designers, including Kimberlin Brown and Max Steiner, as well as California-based Sarah Richardson. All collections at Fassbinder tend to have a modern yet organic sensibility. Nature informs many of the pieces, including Fries’ own, for which she selects materials such as snakeskin, bark, and wood. A goldsmith by trade, Fries juxtaposes angular geometry with soft, feminine features and produces her pieces by hand using traditional methods rather than mass production or one-piece castings. Sterling silver pieces start at $80 while 18k gold items will be tagged $250 and up. Vintage furniture picked up from a Miami antiques and design center will also be up for grabs.

“It’s going to be great to be back in the middle of it all again. I miss the interaction with customers most,” says Fries, who recently returned to New York from Thailand where she had been living.

“Every neighborhood has its own vibe and character,” she adds. “I like Smith Street and the extended area for the unpretentious and young professional attitude. Being there seems like this is where I would want to start making new friends. By starting a temporary store I get a taste if I fit into that neighborhood and if the neighbors like me.”

Fries concedes that the pop-up shop is a great way to test the market and that she is looking into other retail opportunities, including the possibility of a permanent store. For now, however, nothing is set in stone.

“Who knows where this Fassbinder experience will take me?!” she says. “Maybe I will want to stay and settle in Carroll Gardens. I may want to move on to a beautiful summer locations at some shore. Everything is up in the air—that is the beauty of a pop-up salon. Meanwhile, my jewelry line will be on for sale on my website as well and people with be posted on where the journey of Fassbinder takes us.”

The holiday shop, located at 233 Smith Street, between Butler and Douglas, will be open through Jan. 31, 2013.

JCK Magazine Editor