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Marc Gobé Receives Retail Design Legion of Honor

He is well known in the fashion apparel industry as a branding expert, but he’s also known by major retailers for his retail store design.

Marc Gobé is well known in the fashion apparel industry as a branding expert, but he’s also known by major retailers for his retail store design.

Gobé’s efforts in the retail design world were celebrated earlier this month at an event hosted by the Retail Design Institute, which awarded Gobé its annual Retail Design Legion of Honor.

The awards ceremony at the Times Center Stage at the New York Times Building in Manhattan pulled in 500 industry executives, where Gobé cited several retailers and their store and product designs as among his most memorable projects: the Ann Taylor flagship in New York, the Express flagship in Manhattan and the bottle design for the best-selling fragrance by Victoria’s Secret, Dream Angels Heavenly.

“I had a 14-year relationship with Limited Brands and Leslie Wexner [chief executive officer and chairman] where I was part of a very tight group with Les, Ed Razek [president and chief creative officer of Victoria’s Secret] and Grace Nichols [former ceo of Victoria’s Secret Stores] where I worked on the [Victoria’s Secret] logo, packaging and later, all beauty products from 1985 to 2000,” recalled Gobé. “I did one of the fragrance [bottle] designs for Dream Angels Heavenly, which is still their number-one-selling fragrance….In 1987, I worked on the redesign of the Express store. The idea was to create an operatic kind of theater ambience. It changed  the perception of the store where customers felt as if they were onstage.”

Gobé, who serves as president of Emotional Branding LLC, an experimental think tank, described the design of the Ann Taylor flagship on Madison Avenue in the early Nineties as a “challenge.

“I gave the store a residential feel and transformed this modern building into a house, like this would be the home where Ann Taylor as a real person would live with beautiful fixtures and a beautiful staircase,” said Gobé.

Over the years, other projects have included the Godiva chocolates flagship on Fifth Avenue with its Art Nouveau inspiration that was expanded to retail units nationwide, the Fauchon gourmet food flagship in the Place de la Madeleine in Paris, and the modernistic first-class airport lounge format for Air France.

“My last project was the Telefonica store five years ago. But I’m open to new ideas,” he said.