Things appear to be going well for Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel. Within the last year, Mansur Gavriel’s collection of handbags and shoes, done in minimalist lines and prices that sit at the minimalist end of luxury, has expanded into a full see-now-buy-now line, driven by mostly outerwear and knits, for fall, with two retail spaces of their own in which to showcase it. The company opened a pop-up on Madison Avenue in October and a space on Wooster Street in SoHo in November 2016, which also debuted as a pop-up, but has been extended indefinitely.
Now they’re bringing retail to the West Coast with their first Los Angeles store opening next month at 8475 Melrose Place. Finding the location was “semi-serendipitous,” said Mansur. “In summer 2016 we happened to walk by the space. We had been considering where to open our first retail store, and the space immediately spoke to us. It felt very on brand — private from the exterior, warm and intimate once you entered. There was an opportunity for an interesting relationship between architecture and nature with the quiet patio and indoor interior garden open to the sky.”
The total space is 5,000 square feet that is designed with “experiential retail” in mind. It’s been under renovation for the past year. It breaks down into 2,500 square feet of custom-designed and furnished indoor space and 1,300 square feet allotted for a courtyard garden and outdoor porch. The aesthetic is anchored in mineral tones and the space is filled with plants. It also features exposed beams, a vaulted ceiling and skylight, an interior roofless garden with a pond, a porch flower shop and indoor/outdoor café seating. The adjoining café, Café Flora, will serve simple dishes such as tramezzini soups and salads. The menu has been developed in collaboration with chef Scott Boggs. Inside, the main shop space features two rooms — one for ready-to-wear and accessories, and another containing a marketplace for hand-selected items, such as tableware, furniture, linens, glassware and ceramics.
Los Angeles is often the second stop in a growing brand’s U.S. retail expansion strategy after New York. Such is the case here. “In the U.S., L.A. is our second-biggest market after New York,” said Gavriel. “We had always dreamed of having a store there and are very excited to have a direct-to-consumer presence in the market.”
But there’s something more personal at work here. “We met in L.A. and developed the early concept of the brand back in 2010 between L.A. — where I lived — and Berlin, where Floriana lived,” said Mansur. “L.A. was definitely an early inspiration: the nature, architecture, food, texture, colors.”