PARIS — A boxing gym theme with some skulls and bones thrown around for good measure is hardly a typical formula for a designer fashion shop.
But no one ever thought Rick Owens — the rock star-like designer with a proclivity for strolling around Paris in high-heeled platform shoes while listening to opera on his iPod — would open a typical shop.
The American designer’s first retail foray here — a 2,000-square-foot unit in the picturesque Palais Royal — shows that Owens, known for his edgy silhouettes, is out to develop the business he transplanted here from Los Angeles a few years back.
“It was about time that I took the step,” he said. “It’s a way to move the brand into a next phase. I don’t advertise, so this is my press. It’s a way to show people what I do and what I’m about.”
The shop, which opened over the weekend, showcases his signature men’s and women’s designs, as well as fur pieces that he designs for furrier Revillon.
To round out his universe, the store will stock pieces of the furniture Owens designs as well as a selection of CDs, books and curios — like the skulls and bones the designer said he likes to buy over the Internet.
Owens declined to give sales projections; however, sources estimated the store would generate volume of about $2 million in its first year.
“I also plan to develop a line of home objects to sell in the store, as the furniture’s so big it’s hard to shift,” said Owens. Limited-edition products are also planned, and there is a lamé capsule collection in the pipeline for November. In addition, the designer is working on a pop-up book project, based on fringe characters from Seventies Los Angeles.
When Owens found the shop, which used to be occupied by fashion retailer L’Eclaireur, he was unsure it would fit his post-industrial mentality. The Palais Royal is one of Paris’ most quaint addresses, known for its formal gardens and surrounding arcades.
But Owens managed to make it his own by covering up the colorful mosaic tile inside with a wall-to-wall, dust-toned carpet and wrapping the pillars in felt and cashmere.
Clothing hangs on metal rail racks against peeling white walls; seating is crude plywood boxes clothed in velvet mohair. Accessories sit on plywood crates.
Although no official store opening is planned, the designer will stage his October fashion show just outside the store — a move bound to bring in foot traffic.
“What more beautiful place to hold the show?” asked Owens, gazing across Palais Royale’s tree-lined garden, where another American designer recently opened a boutique. “Who knows?” he jested. “My neighbor Marc Jacobs and I are probably going to play a round of petanque [lawn bowling] outside later on.”