A work in progress implies something that’s unfinished and unpolished, but for DKNY, the term is the theme of the brand’s retail prototype.
Unveiled in March at the DKNY flagship on West Broadway in SoHo, the design has been applied, with some iterations, to the completely redesigned 1,468-square-foot store at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, which reopened on Friday.
DKNY’s renovated stores reflect the evolution and transformation of the brand under the creative direction of Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow. The founders and creative directors of Public School, presented their first DKNY collection on Sept. 16 during New York Fashion Week.
A DKNY spokeswoman said their first collection was an ode to what Donna Karan was doing with her first collection. “It was very clean, where you started to see a little more of DKNY come through in the fall collection,” she said. “The fall is a completely different collection. There’s more mixing and different fabrics. It’s true to what DKNY is. One of the reasons the guys were selected is that they understand the sensibility of DKNY. They are able to stay true to that, but with their own twist.
“The slipdress is really important this season,” the spokeswoman added. “There’s the double-breasted sleeveless jumper and pinstripes have continued. They’re a brand code. We’ll have footwear, handbags, watches and eyewear. The palette is dark, rich and seductive. The clothes are deconstructed and reconstructed layers that juxtapose the finished with the raw and frayed.”
Such opposing themes are apparent throughout in the store’s design. There’s tension, vis-à-vis hard and soft, and construction and deconstruction. The store also plays with the ideas of polished and imperfect, and past and present.
Materials are intended to represent a city that’s always under construction — just like Manhattan, which has long been the inspiration for the brand. Raw materials such as plywood and Sheetrock are re-contextualized and elevated in the store. Layers and composites reflect city materials and textures contrasted with a soft, glowing corrugated fiberglass wall.
Through clear display fixtures, layer upon layer of raw materials can be seen, like a diagram from geology class of a cross section of the layers of the earth.
Bringing an artistic element to the store, the Las Vegas unit will showcase versions of the iconic New York City subway bench in unexpected materials and a twist on the industrial I-beam is expressed in mirrors and polished chrome.
The subway benches are similar to the props in the SoHo store. The company said these elements serve as a reminder of DKNY’s ties to New York and the brand’s synergistic relationship to its surrounding elements.
“We chose the New York City subway bench because we wanted to something different,” the spokeswoman said. “We’ve had taxi cabs in advertising campaigns before. You see the subway bench throughout the store and in our window.”
There’s an art theme running through the store as well. Mannequins are of the type favored by artists and art students — wooden and with articulated joints.
The New Women’s Project, a partnership with the New Museum, has been keeping the SoHo unit in art. Installations at the Las Vegas store relate to the subway bench, such as a video art display of subway tiles on flat-screen TVs.