Store design in the Instagram age was in full effect at the opening party for Alice + Olivia’s Miami flagship last week. Guests jostled for the right angle to have their pictures taken on the stairwell off of a soaring, circular colonnade of white plaster etched like drapes. Another shot was looking down into the dramatic alcove from the second story. In the Design District’s highly competitive retail scene, requisite Instagram moments aren’t lost on Alice + Olivia chief executive officer and creative director Stacey Bendet.
“No matter what we’re working on, we always ask, ‘Where’s the girl taking pictures?’ Retailers have to realize they aren’t just selling clothes anymore but experiences,” she said, tapping interior designer Robert Couturier for the task. “This location presented a unique opportunity to build something from scratch.”
Occupying nearly 3,000 square feet at 99 Northeast 39th Street, Bendet’s 36th boutique introduces a two-story layout. It also premieres a cleaner prototype whose white palette — with the exception of black-and-white, zigzag floors, brass accents and red roses — gives the designer’s signature prints and artist collaborations room to breathe.
“Our clothes are getting more sophisticated since they’ve grown up with me, so I needed a grown-up store,” said Bendet, regarding 20th-century, French interior designer Jean-Michel Frank’s modernism as Couturier’s inspiration. “Each store will still feel like part of its community but with this new refined look.”
The opening event was timed with International Women’s Day. Suzani-embroidered gowns and candy-colored flats encrusted in chunky crystals from the recently relaunched footwear collection were among the products that resonated with customers. Bendet further wooed locals by delivering select pieces from spring last month before other doors. Staying at Faena Hotel, she planned to pick up some pointers at a temporary, Instagram-born experience across the street.
“I’m definitely visiting the Museum of Ice Cream,” she said.