Introducing Racked Miami, a new column we're trying out at Curbed Miami all about the Miami shopping, stores, and retail scene, helmed by writer and columnist Jennifer M. Wood...
High-end handbag lovers still mourning the Bal Harbour Shops' loss of Hermès to the Design District (and not willing to hop across the bay to get there) last month have reason to pull out their bright orange silk scarves and dry their eyes: after a top-to-bottom, inside-and-out facelift, Chanel is once again open for business.
Unveiled on March 21st, the "new" boutique boats 8,000 square feet of interlocking C-worthy ready-to-wear clothing, footwear, costume jewelry, timepieces, fragrances, beauty products, and handbags, including the designer's collection of Boy bags (a bold and brightly-colored departure from the quilted flaps that have become a Chanel signature).
New York City-based architect Peter Marino—who designed Chanel's Avenue Montaigne boutique in Paris and Louis Vuitton's Singapore outpost—was enlisted to spearhead the transformation, which aimed to modernize the space while still paying tribute to the brand's iconic past.
The store's lightbox-esque exterior gives way to, well, a lightbox-esque interior; both product and mannequin displays are backlit and showcased sparingly, making the entire space feel like an art gallery of sorts. (Which makes sense, given that much of the inventory could certainly qualify as works of art.)
Glass and gold are the most prominent design flourishes: merchandise is displayed in a series of hand-crafted glasses cases, while the accessories area is encased in a gold-woven, hand-applied wall finish (complemented by a Marino-designed carpet, meant to channel the Coco's signature tweed).
The classical palette continues into the vast ready-to-wear space, where shoppers can take a break from all the eye candy by kicking up their (couture) heels atop a custom-designed, gold tweed sofa. Throughout the store, specially commissioned works of art from an array of well-known artists, including Brooklyn-based Marc Swanson and Los Angeles' Liza Lou, provide an additional pop of color. Coco herself—who once quipped "Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions"—would be impressed.