When John Gerhardt, Holt Renfrew’s creative director, received a bright green wallet as a gift last year, he was inspired. Now the result is in, and it comes in the form of the store’s new, brightly lit, colorful, redesigned contemporary floor.
“I had this wallet, and every time I took it out of my pocket I was just happy,” Gerhardt said. “I couldn’t figure out what made me so happy when I looked at it, but eventually realized it was the color — color has such an amazing way of transforming a mood.”
And so, Gerhardt, who had already been planning to give the Toronto flagship store’s contemporary area a facelift, decided to make color — mostly primary Pantone colors — a focal point.
The 8,928-square-foot space has gone through a complete metamorphosis, Gerhardt said. Before, the idea was to leave the walls a basic white in order to bring attention to the clothes on the racks. Now there are splashes of color throughout — an orange cheetah-printed wall is the backdrop for D&G’s spring mix, while giant disco balls hang over fixtures displaying more of what the season has brought in. Mannequins are seen throughout the floor and some can almost be mistaken for browsing customers — one is pushing a shopping cart, others are decked in motorcycle helmets wearing Alexander Wang dresses and another is enclosed in a giant neon-yellow metal cage. Whimsical art influences from such creatives as Dan Flavin, Shepard Fairey and Barbara Kruger can be seen throughout the space in oversize sculptures and paintings.
“We made it so the color enhances the clothing and works with the clothes, not against them,” Gerhardt said. “Right now we have an Eighties theme going on, but the floor will continue to evolve every season with new fixtures and artwork coming in. We will be changing it much more than we used to.”
The floor, which only took about a month to complete, was a true construction project — walls were demolished in order to create more open space, new electrical wiring allowed for brighter, more vivid lights and giant sculptures were brought in to bring more life to the space.
New brands were purchased for spring including Current Elliot, LaRok, Larsen Grey, Opening Ceremony and Erin Wasson X RVCA, to mix with the floor’s range of brands such as Elizabeth and James, 3.1 Philip Lim, Alice + Olivia, Rag and Bone, Mike & Chris, Seven For All Mankind and William Rast.
To help bring in more customers, the store is hosting an event every Saturday, ranging from designer appearances, manicure stations and art installations to guest DJs, graffiti artists, surprise musical performances and fashion shows. While the new design has only hit the retailer’s Blor Street flagship location, Gerhardt said Holt Renfrew is planning to roll it out to all nine locations throughout Canada, including the two others in Toronto; Ottawa; Montreal; Quebec City; Vancouver; Calgary, and Edmonton.
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye