Alfred Angelo is known for offering designer-style bridal wear at less-than-designer prices. So when it decided to move from a mail-order business into bricks-and-mortar, the company tapped Cowan + Associates Inc. (Worthington, Ohio) to give it a retail look worthy of a trip down the aisle.
"They realized there's a big emotional experience that takes place inside the store," says Thomas Morbitzer, Cowan's design director.
For starters, designers created a custom fixture system that could accommodate the weight and size of wedding gowns – which weigh, on average, 30 pounds.
The 2-by-2-inch metal framed fixtures are powdercoated with a metallic finish for a soft, feminine touch and feature built-in casework for merchandising and cross promotion, as well as removable lifestyle graphics.
To keep the much-anticipated shopping experience enjoyable for brides-to-be, designers relocated the fitting area to a central location within the store. Keeping the experience intimate, however, are podiums surrounded by mirrors that hide individual dressing rooms, which themselves are curtained off.
A new sitting area also accommodates the many "helpers," such as the mother of the bride and wedding party attendants, who typically accompany the bride on her quest for the perfect gown.
Setting a modern, residential tone is a palette of soft blue-grays and dusty pinks on the walls and floor. Lifestyle graphics mounted around the perimeter walls help draw shoppers throughout the store, while a separate area houses the retailer's stock of bridesmaid dresses and prom attire.
"It's comfortable but not intimidating," says Morbitzer.
Client: Alfred Angelo Inc., Delray Beach, Fla.
Vincent Piccione, president
Michelle Piccione, vp
Ivor Hodis, manager, West Coast operations
Linda Pollack, director, merchandising
Joe Welz, vp, finance
Design: Cowan & Associates Inc., Worthington, Ohio
Thomas Morbitzer, design director
Bruce Moody, vp and division manager
Jennifer Crawford, interior designer and design documentation
Stephanie King, interior designer and design documentation
Peter McIntosh, marketing director
General Contractor: The Stone Co., Ramona, Calif.
Ceilings: Armstrong World Industries Inc., Lancaster, Pa.
Fabrics: Momentum, Irvine, Calif.
Carnegie, New York
Fixtures: , Waukegan, Ill.
Flooring: Fortune Contract Carpet, Dalton, Ga.
Furniture: Loewenstein, Pompano Beach, Fla.
Graphic Production: Alfred Angelo, Delray Beach, Fla.
Lighting: LBL Lighting, Chicago
Laminates: Nevamar Co., Hampton, S.C.
Mannequins/Forms: Acme Display Co., Los Angeles
Wallcoverings/Paint: Sherwin Williams, Cleveland, Ohio
Signage: Western Sign Systems, San Diego
JC Signs, Tomball, Texas
Photography: Barbara White, Barbara White Architectural Photography, Laguna Beach, Calif.