NotebookAugust 1, 2007 By: American Salon Staff American Salon
One of the ingenious ways to tell a brand's story today is via prominent architects, who can bring vision and award-winning fame to retail projects. Among the most distinctive debuts to date: Rem Koolhaas and Prada brought a modern museum concept to life in a multilevel space on Rodeo Drive; also on Rodeo Drive, Yabu Pushelberg and David Yurman created a sleek, sexy setting to showcase Yurman's ever-expanding jewelry and timepieces collections; and Peter Marino led prestige labels to the West Coast, including Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Barneys New York. The trend shows no signs of slowing as an increasing number of retailers have been opening innovative flagships and stores in the Los Angeles area.
Escada, considered Germany's leading women's clothing and accessory label, unveiled its new location in Beverly Hills' Regent Beverly Wilshire in May with special guest Naomi Watts. Under the creative direction of Damiano Biella, the 6,000-square-foot shop's ambiance was designed to reflect "glamour, elegance and joie de vivre." The centerpiece is a rotunda with platinum tiles and a reflective dome, while separate areas house the main collection, accessories, evening wear and couture. A VIP area includes a bar and a plasma flat-screen TV.
The prestigious Italian label Gucci has expanded beyond Rodeo Drive to the Beverly Center. This full-fledged shop presents an array of apparel, accessories, footwear and handbags. Fendi chose an intimate space on Robertson Boulevard to wholesale its home line, Fendi Casa. Max Azria presented his signature collection in a new concept on Melrose Avenue, with an organic facade of twigs and branches, courtesy of sculptor Patrick Dougherty.
With several new additions, Melrose Place just got a bit more Italian. Diesel's new home and flagship on the street has been described by CEO Renzo Rosso as "a house," with denim collections uniquely merchandised alongside leather chairs in a space featuring dark wood and a custom-made floor. Lambertson Truex (Richard and John, respectively) built their "luxury house" on Melrose Place in a 2,200-square-foot store designed by the architectural firm Tsao & McKown. Custom is key with a bespoke area for signature leather goods. Finally, Oscar de la Renta opened on the street in April, with a two-level shop and courtyard garden.
Stay tuned: Chanel's Rodeo Drive flagship will reopen late this summer and will boast more than 14,000 square feet of retail, including a rooftop terrace and facade inspired by the Chanel No. 5 perfume bottle.