WWD.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/auer-s-is-worth-looking-into-748014/
government-trade
government-trade

Auer’s Is Worth Looking Into

The decor at Denver boutique Auer’s is as tasteful as the wares it sells.<br><br>In the past year, Auer’s, a high-end boutique in Denver, has been emphasizing edgier designers such as Balenciaga, Chloé and John Galliano to complement...

View Slideshow

The decor at Denver boutique Auer’s is as tasteful as the wares it sells.

In the past year, Auer’s, a high-end boutique in Denver, has been emphasizing edgier designers such as Balenciaga, Chloé and John Galliano to complement its more traditional selection of Oscar de la Renta gowns and St. John suits.

The store’s recent renovation reflects that combination of classic and modern. “We’re in the fashion business and fashion means change so you’ve got to cater to a new audience,” said owner Richard Auer.

Auer, a West Point graduate, likes his store to shine, so he tends to redecorate every five to 10 years. During the last big renovation, in the mid-Nineties, the store had a very conservative, classic look with a lot of black, brass and cherry wood, said Fran Stamper, Auer’s vice president and buyer. The new design uses lighter colors and more feminine fabrics. “This is more modern,” she said. “It’s a breath of fresh air kind of look.”

This is the fourth time Auer has remodeled since he opened the 11,000-square-foot store in 1979. The boutique is located at 213 St. Paul Street in Cherry Creek North, one of Denver’s most exclusive shopping districts. When the store first opened, it had 9,745 square feet and the walls were covered with deep burgundy velvet. Display cases revolved around a set of restrooms in the center, which were later removed and relocated. In 1984, Auer’s built an addition onto the back to create a new stockroom for the shoe department. By 1997, Auer’s added its bridal salon, with top designers like Badgley Mischka and Vera Wang. Soon, Auer’s became a major player in Denver’s special occasion market.

This most recent renovation — which began in January and was completed in September — reflects the store’s growth, Auer said. He and his staff sat down to reassess their needs before the architects and interior designer, Andrea Lawrence Wood, drew up their plans. They discovered a need for more space in two key areas: the shoe salon and the bridal boutique.

In the new shoe area, $1,200 embroidered Oscar de la Renta boots keep company with simple satin wedding shoes by Stuart Weitzman and a pair of gold silk beaded cocktail pumps by Judith Leiber for $540. The shoe salon, which has tripled in size, has three walls covered with well-lit white display shelves.

An extra 100 square feet and new brushed aluminum racks helped open up the bridal salon and made it less cluttered, Auer said. The interior designer added plush sofas with luxurious white and gray silk pillows for visitors waiting to help the bride make up her mind. The sportswear salon also has a cozy new seating area, where customers and sales associates can flip through fashion magazines together to come up with just the right look.

One of the store’s best features is the spacious 8-by-10-foot dressing rooms, appointed with raw-silk upholstered cushions, large mirrors and flattering lighting. Auer said his high-profile customers, including Betty Ford, appreciate the privacy these rooms provide. They were purposely laid out to avoid contact with other shoppers.

While such comfortable touches abound behind the scenes, Auer invested in some dramatic glamour up front. As customers come through the door, they are greeted by a bold expanse of carpet, with a large floral pattern in beige, coral and turquoise contained by a geometric border. The wool carpet was made by the same company that provides furnishings for Buckingham Palace.

Inside the carpet’s borders, customers find luxurious accessories, from evening bags to cashmere gloves and silk scarves displayed on a round lucite table and glass cabinets. The area is set off by a new wall decorated with columns and a jute covering. Large new blonde wood and glass displays full of European cosmetics flank the accessories area.

To the left, the cash wrap area has a sumptuous, Venetian look. Auer commissioned a local artist to embellish a large cabinet with a hand-painted green marble pattern. The artist made the front look like inlaid burl wood. More jute gives the walls behind the counter a warm, natural look.

Auer’s feels more spacious after the redo. In fact, the architects were able to add about 300 square feet without knocking down any walls, Auer said. To avoid a harsh glare, Auer chose a combination of track lights and smaller spotlights that show off the clothing without blinding the customers. “I didn’t want it to look like a department store,” he said. “I think we’re one of a kind, so I wanted the store to have a real different feeling.”

An extra 100 square feet and new brushed aluminum racks helped open up the bridal salon and made it less cluttered, Auer said. The interior designer added plush sofas with luxurious white and gray silk pillows for visitors waiting to help the bride make up her mind. The sportswear salon also has a cozy new seating area, where customers and sales associates can flip through fashion magazines together to come up with just the right look.

One of the store’s best features is the spacious 8-by-10-foot dressing rooms, appointed with raw-silk upholstered cushions, large mirrors and flattering lighting. Auer said his high-profile customers, including Betty Ford, appreciate the privacy these rooms provide. They were purposely laid out to avoid contact with other shoppers.

While such comfortable touches abound behind the scenes, Auer invested in some dramatic glamour up front. As customers come through the door, they are greeted by a bold expanse of carpet, with a large floral pattern in beige, coral and turquoise contained by a geometric border. The wool carpet was made by the same company that provides furnishings for Buckingham Palace.

Inside the carpet’s borders, customers find luxurious accessories, from evening bags to cashmere gloves and silk scarves displayed on a round lucite table and glass cabinets. The area is set off by a new wall decorated with columns and a jute covering. Large new blonde wood and glass displays full of European cosmetics flank the accessories area.

To the left, the cash wrap area has a sumptuous, Venetian look. Auer commissioned a local artist to embellish a large cabinet with a hand-painted green marble pattern. The artist made the front look like inlaid burl wood. More jute gives the walls behind the counter a warm, natural look.

Auer’s feels more spacious after the redo. In fact, the architects were able to add about 300 square feet without knocking down any walls, Auer said. To avoid a harsh glare, Auer chose a combination of track lights and smaller spotlights that show off the clothing without blinding the customers. “I didn’t want it to look like a department store,” he said. “I think we’re one of a kind, so I wanted the store to have a real different feeling.”

View Slideshow