By  on December 19, 2008

MILAN — New York’s retail scene is about the get a bright new cube: Giorgio Armani’s sprawling Fifth Avenue flagship is set to open Feb. 18.

Armani describes the concept store, which brings under one roof his Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and Armani Jeans lines, as “a special project requiring a degree of courage.”

“I was determined to send out a clear message of change, interpreting the current trend for mixing genres and juxtaposing items in different price brackets,” said Armani.

The designer stressed he chose Fifth Avenue because, while it may be less exclusive in “character than comparable addresses, it has a democratic mood which I’m certain represents the future.”

Once again, Armani turned to architects Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas to help him plot out the 43,000-square-foot glass cube.

The main concept behind the building is that of a fluid space that exudes a sense of movement via curved walls. A grand staircase made with rolled calender steel covered in a plasticized material enhances its sculptural, vortexlike form.

The colors are Armani-esque, with a plethora of beige and black with flashes of glossy metal and special lighting.

The four-level store develops vertically, spanning from casual to posh. Sportswear by EA7 and Armani Jeans sits in the basement, while Emporio Armani and Giorgio Armani accessories are housed on the ground floor. The farther up customers go, the more sophisticated the selection becomes — including red-carpet gowns.

The second floor will be the beauty realm with the designer’s cosmetics line and fragrances, while the his complete men’s wear selection from his different lines will be on the third level.

The flagship also will have dedicated areas for Armani Casa and Armani Dolci, plus a restaurant and bar on the top floor overlooking Central Park.

The designer has created special capsule collections of accessories and clothes for the store for both Giorgio Armani, which are limited edition pieces, and Emporio Armani, with exclusive Armani/5th Avenue tags.

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