Moschino, New York

Retailer creates an enchanted forest on West 14th Street, a whimsical setting for its fashion presentations.
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Posted December 7, 2008
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From the moment the customer grasps the red, heart-shaped handle of the front door and enters the new Moschino store in New York’s Meatpacking District, she becomes part of the story.

The once-crumbling walls of the Quality Meats butcher shop have been transformed into a selling stage for this Milanese fashion house’s complete lines, the first time that all the brands have been presented in one space, including Moschino, Cheap and Chic and Love Moschino, the new name of the contemporary line.

The store was designed by Vudafieri Partners (Milan) to tell the story of a young woman’s journey through an enchanted forest, with the signature Moschino heart appearing throughout the trip in various applications. The entrance features a series of custom stainless-steel lighting fixtures containing vertical clusters of frosted glass hearts. The fixtures are randomly placed on the ceiling, the store’s first wisp of whimsy. Other iterations of the heart include stainless-steel contour heart shapes inlaid in the floor and heart-shaped handles and hooks in the fitting rooms.

Overhead lighting bays constructed of stretched fabric over stainless-steel frames are suggestive of clouds. They identify merchandise zones and create a rhythm of form throughout the selling environment.

Another discovery along the journey is an oversized diamond ring, positioned as a presentation vitrine displaying an assortment of accessories and related merchandise under glass. Each presentation wall is adorned with a stainless-steel merchandise fixture evocative of the silhouette of a sprawling tree. Plexiglas boxes and Moschino merchandise resting on the ground suggest fallen fruit.

A walk through the accessories area uncovers a small peaked-roof cottage, surface-mounted to the wall and coated with a high-gloss, white lacquered finish. The cottage displays an assortment of eyewear, its internal lighting highlighting the merchandise and adding to the fantasy of the forest. A tree on an adjacent wall, displaying handbags, features frosted glass shelves, handmade in Italy with a bubble-filled glass backing.

The area rug in the front quadrant of the store evokes flora and fauna, rabbits and foliage living in harmony among the tufts. All of the walls in the store are padded with textured Italian paper to intensify the tactile experience.

Strategically placed Pucci mannequins divide the boutique in half. Just past this central presentation are the men’s area and Love Moschino, formerly known as Moschino Jeans. Men’s is defined by a pin-striped carpet and a black iteration of the wall-mounted cottage, in this case displaying ties. Brick tone-on-tone on the walls celebrates the Love Moschino collection. A red, tufted heart chair and a leather settee fashioned in the shape of an oversized handbag are two signature focal points in the center of the store.

While this may be an enchanted forest, there were some architectural challenges, such as a variation in ceiling heights and a 3¾-inch floor differential from front to back. Designers reduced the plenum in certain areas to achieve an even ceiling, and the floor was grinded down in a painstaking process. This, together with a slightly inclined welcome mat at the front door, changed the perspective of the entire environment.

The Moschino brand has always had a fun and ironic side, as if it doesn’t take fashion quite as seriously as so many of the other well-known brands. There was much anticipation to see what the company would do at this new, edgier downtown setting. It hasn’t disappointed.

Photography: Adrian Wilson, New York

Design:  Vudafieri Partners, Milan Deux L, Paris

Architect: Mariotti Studio, New York

General Contractor: Shawmut Design and Construction, New York

Fixtures: Kember Store Metal, Vaughan, Ont.

Audio/Visual, furniture, mannequins/forms, Props and decoratives: Aeffe USA, New York;  Ralph Pucci Intl., New York

Wallcoverings: Aeffe USA, New York; L & L Painting Co. Inc., Hicksville, N.Y. (installed)

Lighting: Lighting Management Inc., Harriman, N.Y.

Storefront: Clifton Architectural Glass and Metal, Clifton, N.J.