The last thing Raf Simons wanted for Jil Sander's new Howard Street store in Manhattan was to plop an art installation in the middle of it.
Instead, with the help of artist Germaine Kruip, the Jil Sander creative director has created an ever-changing space with a wall of rotating mirrored panels and three mirrored dressing room cubes that continuously reflect the natural light streaming in from the boutique's bank of windows. In this flexible environment, shoppers can't help but see reflections of themselves at varying angles. The idea of movement appealed to Simons, who was leaving his retail imprint for the first time.
Simons said he wasn't driven by what other designers are doing, but was motivated to work with Kruip on the 6,300-square-foot space. Two years ago at the Armory art show, the designer was drawn to one of her pieces, "Counter Composition II," a mirrored mobile that disturbs daily light, and bought it on the spot. As it turned out, she used to live in Antwerp, Belgium, as he does now, and they knew each other through mutual acquaintances. His purchase, which now rests in his Antwerp home, borrows from De Stijl, a Dutch artistic movement led by Theo van Doesburg.
"Everything for me is about light and movement, bringing a certain energy without being wild. Everything has to be harmonious sliding into each other," he said. "This is not the typical way of showing product in a store. The challenge was to see how we could deal with that in a different way."
Rather than have shoppers see everything at a glance, the store is designed to gradually string them past the six mannequins standing single file in the center of the main floor, toward Kruip's rotating reflecting wall of mirrored panels and up the marble stairs to peruse the black racks with perfectly appointed ensembles beneath Serge Mouille's black mollusk-shaped lighting fixtures.
Creating a space with equal parts openness, privacy and loads of light is no easy feat, but Simons appears to have pulled it off. "We wanted to see how we could bring a certain intimacy to things," the designer said.
Three changing rooms, which look more like art installations, are interspersed in the center of the room and bounce light around the second floor. So much so that the interplay has even surprised Simons, who said he was at a loss for words when he first walked into the store on Wednesday. It opens to the public today."We also designed certain things I didn't imagine — how the store transports images," Simons said. "When movement is created in a very stationery space, it completely transforms the space."
And that idea of movement and energy is an extricable element of fashion. "I like things to be brought together as long as they feel natural," said Simons, who initially studied industrial design before pursuing a career in fashion. "Anything having to do with creation, I am interested in — design, art, architecture, music."
Before deciding on the store's design, Simons got to thinking about buildings that have stood the test of time, such as the Mies van der Rohe-designed Barcelona Pavilion. "With Jil Sander, the interesting thing is we want to certainly keep the classicism, but without being retro or historical," Simons said.
Wanting to use as few materials as possible, Simons decided on Carrara marble, wax-treated steel and Corian — "pure materials that don't show off like gold or chrome." Elements of the store's design will be incorporated into other Jil Sander stores. The dressing rooms, like everything else on the second floor, were designed to be moveable, a feature that Simons plans to exercise frequently. Video monitors may be used down the road, and Simons has designed 50 female mannequins so a runway collection can be shown in the store, if he is so inclined. "We do a show for a very limited number of people — press and buyers. But the real buyer [the consumer] has no confrontation with the show," he said.
Simons also has collaborated with two artists for his namesake company's two new stores, which will bow in Japan in September. Sterling Ruby is working on the Osaka location and Roger Hiorns will do the same in Tokyo. Art in general has long been an inspiration for Simons who, having blanketed Art Basel earlier this month, planned to hit some Manhattan galleries this week before heading back to Europe.
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
Not only does #TheProfit return to CNBC tonight, but @marcuslemonis has launched @shopmarcus, a new shopping and lifestyle retail experience in Aspen and Chicago, with more locations to come. The retail stores offer in-store stylists and a variety of contemporary womenswear selections.
“It’s life, I’m going to face it,” @mingxi11 sighed. “I fell, but you know, I think the most important thing is that I get back up. I had the love, the help from my sister — the girl next to me Gizele [Oliveira] — she’s so nice. When I went backstage everybody was trying to comfort me like ‘Oh Ming, it’s OK.’ I’m really, really touched. I think it’s them who gave me the courage to go back on stage for the finale,” Xi told WWD of her fall at the @victoriassecret fashion show. (📷: David Fisher) #wwdfashion #vsfashionshow #victoriassecret
@louisvuitton tapped @therealpeterlindbergh for its latest city-centric photo book, which is part of a series called Fashion Eye. The primarily black and white book captures the spirit of Berlin in 57 images shot between 1989 and 2019. “Berlin is an inspiration for me, more than a city. I mean @millajovovich is simply Berlin!” said Lindbergh. #wwdfashion
“You know, I think audiences expect a certain performance so I have to deliver to them what they’re expecting to a certain degree. But I’m also a different actor and a different person, I have my own spin on the character,” says @noahegalvin of his takeover of the leading role in “Dear Evan Hansen” following the departure of @bensplatt, who originated the role. Read WWD’s interview with the 23-year-old actor on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
For pre-fall 2018, @etro created richly-colored wonderland, using tapestries, textiles and wallpapers from the Eastern world at large. The line featured floral and graphic prints and jacquard motifs, like this two-piece look featured here. #wwdfashion (📷: Giovanna Pavesi)
@kith is moving into children’s. The men’s and women’s streetwear brand has launched Kidset, a Kith kids line located in New York at 64 Bleecker Street. The line includes mini versions of staple Kith pieces like the Astor bomber jacket and the Kith box logo sweatshirts, along with a wall that can display up to 120 pairs of shoes from @adidas, @newbalance, @timberland and more. #wwdfashion
“I just wanted to create this fully rounded character, but I do think what excited me most was just the opportunity to give a group of people representation that I feel needs it. I like to do characters in projects that stand for something and Karolina definitely does, so that was really exciting to me,” @ginnygardner says of her new role in @hulu’s “The Runaways.” Gardner plays Karolina Dean, a queer superhero, which is a rarity for @marvel. Read more about Gardner’s character on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @dandoperalski)