From Stephane Keilan’s new Madison Avenue store to Vanessa Noel’s 66th Street parlor, interior retail designs are getting down to earth in the ’90s. Natural woods and soft beige hues have replaced the marble and metal fixturing of the ’80s. Stores are warmer, more well lit and personal in their design. And whether it’s Noel’s Victorian living room chairs, which surround a fireplace, Cynthia Rowley’s dancing figurines trimming the boutiques’s walk, or the book pages lining the floor of Todd Oldham’s new store in Soho, designers both uptown and downtown are more interested in creating a distinctive and more casual ambiance for their customers.
Designers no longer feel the need to adhere to austere motifs which made so many stores look alike in the ’80s. “I do my stores completely differently,” says designer Patrick Cox, who accessorizes this two boutiques in London and Paris with French and English antiques. At Mare, on Spring Street in Soho, the company’s first U.S. store employs the same thematic designs as its other nine European stores. Glass fixtures, an undulating ceiling and shelves, and pale seafoam tones in all the units accent the retailer’s namesake image, the sea.

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