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Brief Published: 26 Sep 2016

Retail: US West Coast Openings

Zadig & Voltaire

From native brand flagships and new edutainment spaces, to new destinations for French fashion houses, LA and San Francisco are buzzing with new retail developments.

Home-Grown Retail 

  • Garrett Leight: Eyewear brand Garrett Leight has opened its second LA store on Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice. Floor-to-ceiling wooden slatted walls and low-level drawers display the US brand’s standard sunglasses range, while a speedy one-hour personalisation service for both regular and prescription eyewear takes place in the store’s lab. See also Elevating Eyewear.
  • Building Block: American accessories brand Building Block has unveiled its first standalone store in Chinatown, LA after existing almost solely online. The design references the 1934 Museum of Modern Art exhibition Machine Age – a show that recontextualised industrial equipment as art. The minimalist 500 sq ft space boasts a neutral-toned interior, polished concrete flooring and curvilinear white walls. Products rest on glossy monochrome plinths, while handbags dangle from a coil-like display suspended from the ceiling.
  • Combatant Gentlemen: Men’s formalwear brand Combatant Gentlemen – a ‘fashion-tech’ brand built on delivering accessibly priced suiting by selling purely online – has launched its first physical store in the upscale Santa Monica Place mall. Reflecting the brand’s industry-challenging ethos by eschewing formality, the expansive 2,200 sq ft interior features industrial accents such as exposed piping suspended above a chalky grey wall.
Garrett Leight
Building Block
Combatant Gentlemen
  • Elizabeth and James: NY-based womenswear label Elizabeth and James (established by actresses-turned-design-duo Ashley & Mary-Kate Olsen) has opened its first US store. Located in West Hollywood’s luxury shopping centre The Grove, the 1,200 sq ft space is anchored by an elongated cream table, while floor-to-ceiling windows flood the interior with natural light. Two oversized spherical paper lanterns amplify the residential sensibility also found in stores of the sisters’ other brand, The Row. See also Intimate, Democratic & Inclusive and Retail Domiciles.
  • Drifter: Hailing from Compton, ‘edgy basics’ fashion brand Drifter has opened its first flagship in the Costa Mesa shopping centre in Orange County featuring a suitably gritty, industrial aesthetic. A plywood cage-like display is the central focal point, while slick white walls are contrasted against plywood shelving and exposed ceiling pipes. See also Sports Grunge.
Elizabeth and James

French Brand Invasion

  • Vanessa Seward: Parisian womenswear brand Vanessa Seward has opened its first US flagship on Melrose – designed by French architect Laurent Deroo. The 1,000 sq ft store is a vision of retro chic – incorporating an accent wall in the brand’s signature midnight blue, wooden wall panels, golden pendant lighting fixtures, and sophisticated marble floor tiles and plinths. 
  • Zadig & Voltaire: West Hollywood hosts French fashion house Zadig & Voltaire’s first Californian store, where an oversized rustic wooden canopy hangs above suspended clothing racks. Minimal, unfinished walls provide a canvas for natural light that pours from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
  • Balenciaga: French luxury label Balenciaga has relocated its flagship to the upscale Rodeo Drive to mark the brand’s transition under creative director Demna Gvasalia. Inspired by brand founder Cristóbal Balenciaga’s original couture maison, the 1,883 sq ft interior features cotton twill upholstery. However, it also has a much tougher, modern side, illustrated by highly urban materials such as aluminium, glass and concrete, as well as a marble display case that mimics a wooden texture. See also Sensory Brand Spaces Part 2
Vanessa Seward
Zadig & Voltaire

Edutainment in San Francisco

  • Tartine Manufactory: Transparency is a key focus at San Francisco’s Tartine Manufactory, a 5,000 sq ft space celebrating artisanal practices. The expansive layout is divided into seven partitionless areas, including a bar, café, ice-cream shop and bakery. Wooden beams punctuate the dining quarters, while stainless steel appliances add an industrialised elegance. 
  • Razer: Following the success of its Asian stores, gaming company Razer has opened its first stateside flagship in its native San Francisco. Equipped with 20 gaming stations and a high-tech 16 x 9 ft screen wall playing branded video content, the 1,300 sq ft space serves as a key test hub for the gaming community. See also Tactics for Retailing Tech and Contextual Commerce.
Tartine Manufactory