Go­ing Big

Art work was cho­sen to echo and play off the ar­chi­tec­ture, cli­mate and cul­ture of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, and link to the brand’s her­itage of travel.

WWD Digital Daily - - Front Page - BY SHARON EDEL­SON

Louis Vuit­ton un­veils its en­larged store at South Coast Plaza in Cal­i­for­nia, which of­fers new ser­vices and ex­clu­sive prod­ucts.

Louis Vuit­ton to­day un­veiled at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, Calif. a sig­nif­i­cantly ex­panded store reimag­ined by ar­chi­tect Peter Marino that has the dis­tinc­tion of be­ing the re­tailer’s largest unit in the Amer­i­cas, spread­ing 14,000 square feet across a sin­gle level.

All of Louis Vuit­ton’s metiers will be un­der one roof — in­clud­ing ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, ac­ces­sories, tex­tiles, watches and fine jew­elry, fra­grance, pub­lish­ing and home. An as­sort­ment of prod­ucts ex­clu­sive to South Coast Plaza was cre­ated for the launch, in­clud­ing a metal­lic leop­ard print Pe­tite Malle and Ca­pucines mini; croc­o­dile ver­sion of the Christo­pher back­pack; women’s star trail mono­gram an­kle boot with patches; men’s Tro­cadero Riche­lieu sneaker in a va­ri­ety of Epi leathers; women’s skater dress, and di­a­mond blos­som XL fine jew­elry medal­lion, which is prelaunch­ing at the store in ad­vance of its world­wide in­tro­duc­tion in Oc­to­ber.

The French lux­ury brand con­sid­ers the unit to be a travel des­ti­na­tion, and has pro­grammed the store as such with var­i­ous at­trac­tions. Louis Vuit­ton took over the floor above the unit for the first work­shop and res­i­dent ar­ti­san stu­dio in the U.S., where clients will be able to watch one of its ar­ti­sans hand­craft and re­store pieces at the ate­lier.

With the in­stal­la­tion of a full-time hand-painter on the main floor, con­sumers may sat­isfy their urge for im­me­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion. The painter will per­son­al­ize hard­sided travel pieces with cus­tom de­signs.

Marino was charged with bal­anc­ing

Louis Vuit­ton’s French her­itage with ul­tra-mod­ern de­signs such as the twist­ing high-tech car­bon fiber shelv­ing through­out the store, which rep­re­sents the hor­i­zon­tal speed of travel, while three new sky­lights flood the store with nat­u­ral day­light — a nod to the fact that travel in­creas­ingly moves at the speed of light. Yet there’s plenty to ground the store in the pre­sent and link it to the past.

“Cal­i­for­nia sun­shine now passes through the store, al­tered at dif­fer­ent times of day,” Marino said. “We de­signed an en­tirely new façade, made of lam­i­nated glass and shim­mer­ing cop­per. The de­sign was in­flu­enced also by the cul­ture of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia.” Marino com­mis­sioned from Peter Dayton a striped board that’s more than 27 feet long, such as the striped surf boards seen in the artist’s work.

Asked whether the one-level store pre­sented any chal­lenges, and how the bound­aries be­tween men’s and women’s and other cat­e­gories were de­lin­eated, Marino said, “Look up! The ceil­ing and light­ing con­cepts are quite dif­fer­ent in men’s and women’s. The men’s ceil­ing of cerused oak is lin­ear in its de­sign with the light­ing em­bed­ded within. The shelv­ing ap­pears as a fu­tur­is­tic rib­bon, made of high-tech car­bon fiber. The women’s salon con­tin­ues this stream­lined de­sign, but is soft­ened. The salon uses gallery-in­spired track light­ing above and day­light from the ceil­ing that we’ve cut into.

“Speed, move­ment, light,” Marino said, re­fer­ring to his guid­ing prin­ci­ples for art work in the store. “The art was se­lected for its vi­brant colors, South­ern Cal­i­for­nia con­text, and, yes, the lin­ear work of Anselm Reyle and Peter Dayton re­flect the speed of travel. For the house of Louis Vuit­ton, this is clearly a cen­tral el­e­ment. Reyle’s ‘Un­ti­tled, 2004’ hangs jux­ta­posed to women’s ready-to-wear and leather goods, po­si­tioned un­der a newly de­signed sky­light, il­lu­mi­nated from above.

“It is im­por­tant to give clients an el­e­vated shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence and have them leave feel­ing happy and up­lifted,” said Marino, who seeded the store with art works by A-lis­ters such as Damien Hirst, Anslem

Reyle and Aaron Curry. “This doesn’t mean there is a for­mula that is re­peated each time, but we look to the im­me­di­ate con­text which al­lows us to cre­ate a unique space, bal­anced by in­fus­ing the store with the brand DNA.”

Richard Mis­rach’s “Un­ti­tled #354-03,” in the women’s VIP area, beck­ons from a con­sid­er­able dis­tance, seen from across the women’s salon. From that van­tage point, the pho­to­graph looks like it could be the bright turquoise ocean of some­one’s va­ca­tion fan­tasy. The pho­tog­ra­pher’s work investigates hu­man in­ter­ac­tion with the nat­u­ral land­scape. Con­sumers’ in­ter­ac­tion with South Coast Plaza could be a deep dive into an­other hu­man be­hav­ior.

Fur­ni­ture from Louis Vuit­ton’s Ob­jet No­mades col­lec­tion, for the first time, is sprin­kled through­out the store: A pair of egg-shaped Co­coon chairs by Fer­nando and Hum­berto Cam­pana hang in the women’s leather goods area along with two or­ange and navy leather Raw Edges Con­certina chairs and a ta­ble. Paulo Gior­dano’s Ethno Eames bronze chair sits next to a scarf dis­play. A Carlo Mollino Reale ta­ble and Borge Mor­gensen ta­ble, made in the For­ties and Fifties, re­spec­tively, hold small leather goods and note­books and stand in front of a long dis­play of red, black and pink hand­bags.

Fahrad Moshiri’s “Girl with Or­ange Lips” de­picts a woman hand-em­broi­dered in beads on can­vas with her hair turned up in a retro ’do and wear­ing a head­band and dress with or­ange dots that match her lips. She shim­mers down on a pair of Pierre Paulin Pump­kin chairs that hap­pen to be the ex­act shade of the work’s back­ground. Segue to women’s ready-to-wear, with two mus­tard-col­ored chairs that look as if they’d seat a per­son-and-a-half jux­ta­posed with a dainty ruf­fled pink dress, a pale pink skirt with sil­ver swirls, and a white dress and white high-heeled lace-up san­dals.

Marino said Louis Vuit­ton’s phi­los­o­phy re­gard­ing art ex­tends to fur­ni­ture.

“We al­ways work to select art­work that rep­re­sents dif­fer­ent coun­tries and con­ti­nents,” he said. “Louis Vuit­ton is a very for­ward-think­ing com­pany when it comes to its en­gage­ment with the art world. It thinks glob­ally. Since Louis Vuit­ton opened its foun­da­tion in Paris [the im­pres­sion the brand aims to leave with con­sumers] is that it sup­ports the arts to the fullest. That’s sig­nif­i­cant. Dis­play is also cru­cial. It’s the same phi­los­o­phy as to why art must be of the high­est qual­ity — vis­ual stim­u­la­tion and en­joy­ment count for a lot.”

Louis Vuit­ton’s new store at South Coast

Plaza is spread across a sin­gle floor.

Louis Vuit­ton’s

Pe­tite Malle with se­quins, ex­clu­sive to South Coast

Plaza.

Mono­gram Star Trail boot with batches, only avail­able

at South Coast Plaza.

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