The latest iteration of Cole Haan's evolution from staid seller of men's footwear to hip home of shoes and accessories for both sexes is on display at the Fashion Show mall in Las Vegas.
The 3000-square-foot Cole Haan prototype on the mall's upper level is a collaborative effort between the retailer's New York-based in-house team and designers from Callison Architecture (Seattle).
The new design builds on concepts Cole Haan unveiled about 18 months ago at its New York flagship. "The New York store represented the first time we intentionally delineated the men's and women's environments," says Scott Fedje, Cole Haan's director of image design, "providing a more distinct and elegant look for our new women's products (which include coats and handbags). The men's section was given a more 'clubby' feel, complementing a new coat line as well as leather goods."
Cole Haan worked with another outside design firm on the New York flagship. The prototype on display at Fashion Show and about a half-dozen other locales represents the retailer's first collaboration with Callison.
"Our basic goals in this design," says Callison project manager Cindi Kato, "were to enhance the quality and richness of previous designs to strengthen Cole Haan's brand message, while keeping the overall cost per square foot to a minimum so that it would be suitable for regional shopping environments."
Fedje notes while Cole Haan has been selling women's footwear and accessories since 1979, "it has been ramping up its offerings along those lines in recent years. To help create a truly feminine experience within the new prototype, the women's salon uses ivory lacquer and pearl-tinted walls."
But while the Cole Haan-Callison team wanted to make sure the new design was as inviting as possible to women shoppers, it also wanted to capitalize on the retailer's ties to Nike, which has owned the company since the late 1980s.
The Fashion Show space gives Cole Haan ample opportunity to display G Series, a new footwear line for men and women that incorporates design features developed in Nike's technology labs. "G Series combines Nike's technological prowess and Cole Haan's craftsmanship," Fedje says.
The Las Vegas store is divided into four major rooms, from front to back: an entry/display zone; the men's salon; a cashwrap/accessories area; and the women's salon. To draw customers through each space, a central aisle with a focal point at the end was installed.
"All the rooms reflect a modern residential aesthetic," Kato notes. "The idea is to create a space that shoppers can feel comfortable in, as they explore each of its areas."
The store's façade is 22 feet high and features wood columns made of reconstituted teak and large glass display windows that create a dramatic entry to the space. In the windows, merchandise is displayed on antique tables from the mid-century era. "That helps create a residential feel, right at the outset of the space," says Fedje.
The men's salon repeats the reconstituted teak along with bronze as the main finishes, with Cole Haan's signature green used on the accent walls. This room's homey touches include carpeting and custom-designed display tables, risers, lamps and chairs.
The cashwrap/accessories area is openly framed with bronze metal grid screens. "A change in the flooring material, from carpet to terrazzo tile, along with a raised ceiling with coffer detail, gives this section the feel of an outdoor Palm Springs patio," Kato notes.
A signature red accent wall with an Asian-inspired frame helps draw the customer's eye to the cashwrap. This room also features small leather goods and a watch collection.
The women's salon sports what Kato describes as "a very living room-like" environment, featuring carpeting, a daybed and a mid-century-inspired shell chandelier. The space also houses three-tiered mosaic tables that offer increased merchandise capacity.
"There is also a feature fixture at the back wall that's used as the main draw to get the customer to the back of the store," she adds. "The fixture can house displays for mannequins and merchandise, and outerwear can also be hung from it."
Next for Cole Haan is its new store in the AOL Time Warner Center in New York, scheduled to open in the late fall. "There we'll have the opportunity to see how our prototype elements work in a larger, two-level space," Fedje says.
Client: Cole Haan, New York - Gordon Thompson, executive vp, creative director; Scott Fedje, director, image design; Meiling Leung, design director; Michele Schnitzel, director, retail operations
Design: Callison Architecture, Seattle - Erie Stone, principal-in-charge; Cindi Kato, project manager; Joe Webber, Anneka O'Connell, project architects
Suppliers: DMX Music, Northboro, Mass. (sound/music vendor); Cameron Lasswell, San Diego (music composition); Goebel Fixture Co., Hutchinson, Minn. (fixturing); Constantine Commercial, Dalton, Ga. (carpet, women's salon); Karastan Contract, Kennesaw, Ga. (carpet, men's salon); Wausau Tile Inc., Wausau, Wis. (terrazzo tile); DK Display, New York (Bonaveri mannequins); Priority Sign Inc., Sheboygan, Wis. (signage); Standard Electric, Wilmington, Mass. (lighting); Gecko Designs, Brighton, U.K. (custom pendant fixtures); Downtown, Los Angeles (custom furniture design/chandelier); GDM Concepts, Paramount, Calif. (interlocking tables); Design Within Reach, San Francisco (stools); Seattle Curtain Design, Seattle (fitting room curtains); Engineered Products Inc., Seattle (storage shelving); Security Source, Peabody, Mass. (keys, lock core); Rolland Safe Co., Dallas (safe); ADT Security Services, Beaverton, Ore. (security)
Photography: Chris Eden, Callison Architecture, Seattle