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Published: 5 May 2016

LA Retail Openings: Spring 2016

Flagship retail is flourishing in LA this spring, with several European brands opening debut stores in the city. The well-established Melrose Place continues to grow as a key retail destination, welcoming an eclectic mix of stand-alone denim, childrenswear and luxury perfume stores. We select the highlights. 

The Harmonist

Debut Flagships

  • VIP, Events and a ‘Gentleman’s Corner’: Swiss luxury accessories brand Bally has opened its first US flagship. The two-storey space offers women’s apparel on the first floor and men’s on the second – including a Gentleman’s Corner, where customers can buy made-to-order shoes. The second level also includes a VIP area for personal shopping and exotic items such as crocodile-skin bags. The store’s roof space can be booked for events and performances.
  • Cool Interiors, NY Attitude: Adding to the area’s luxury credentials, NY/LA-based Italian-made footwear label Aska has also launched its first stateside flagship, located in Beverly Hills. The 800 sq ft gallery-style space is cool, sleek and minimalistic – a concept, according to founder and designer Kate Gordon, designed to bring “a bit of NY attitude to [LA’s] palm-tree-lined streets”. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a wealth of natural sunlight.
  • Luxury Urban Hot Spot: British eyewear brand Linda Farrow has opened its US store in Platform – a new luxury urban development in Culver City. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a mirror-feature wall frame the boutique’s sleek monochromatic interior while flooding it with light. Oversized polished marble blocks and floating rectangle-framed boxes showcase the label’s full ranges. 
Linda Farrow
  • Family Style: French childrenswear label BonTon has opened its first US store on Melrose Place, called BonBon. The 2,200 sq ft shop will carry the label’s main range of kids’ apparel, along with books and toys. It will also offer workshops for both parents and children. See also Active Flagships and Toy Worlds: Targeting Gen Me.
  • Feng Shui Seduction: Luxury French perfumery The Harmonist has opened its first US flagship on Melrose Place with a visually striking 1,000 sq ft space. The largely monochrome décor and contrast between traditional French furniture and sleek, glossy surfaces within the store relay the Chinese philosophies of feng shui and yin and yang that underpin the brand.

See also Evolution of Retail Flagship and Accessories Spaces: VM Trends: 2015.


Urban Casual

  • Streetwear Rising: LA-based menswear brand Stampd has opened its first bricks-and-mortar store on La Brea Avenue, the city’s rising streetwear hub. Designed by founder Chris Stamp and Brooklyn architect Snarkitecture, the 1,350 sq ft space boasts exposed air ducts set against exposed brick and marble tiles – delivering a frisson of urban luxury. The shop also serves as a gallery, showcasing and selling limited edition prints from selected photographers.

See also: Sports-Luxe: Kith x Snarkitecture and Kith’s Female Flagship.

  • ‘Inspired by London, Made in Los Angeles’: UK/US denim brand Frame has opened its first stand-alone shop on Melrose Place with a space bearing the hallmarks of its London and Californian roots. The 1,550 sq ft shop evokes the landscape of California’s Big Sur region with bucolic redwood ceilings and shelving, while the gritty elegance of London is introduced through smooth marble fixtures and stone flooring. To drive fans in-store, the flagship will carry exclusive denim items unavailable elsewhere, including online.

Spotlight on Books

  • Millennial Romance Readers: Building on the insight that millennials constitute 44% of romance novel readers in the US (Nielsen, 2015), The Ripped Bodice – LA’s first romance-only bookstore – has opened in Culver City. The shop will host frequent events and author signings in a bid to establish itself as the centre of a community for readers of the genre.
  • Downtown Literature: US art bookstore Hennessey + Ingalls has opened its biggest US shop in Downtown LA’s Art District. The 5,600 sq ft location carries a wide variety of art books and magazines, as well as printed tote bags. See also Print Media’s New Wave.
The Ripped Bodice
Hennessey and Ingalls
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