Staying afloat in the world of women's fashions is no small feat. For Lillie Rubin, the 50-year-old specialty clothing store chain that Caché Inc. (New York) bought out of bankruptcy, keeping its head above water required an all-out paddle, a fresh approach and a prototype redesign. Part of the new strategy was to bring in more business attire and sportswear, in addition to the special-occasion and evening dresses Lillie was known for. Then the retailer tapped Michael Malone Architects (Dallas) to conceive a fresh look that would attract new, younger customers without alienating the retailer's core, albeit aging, clientele.
The bright, open, 2100-square-foot prototype at the North Star Mall in San Antonio, Texas, sparkles yet is classic enough to accommodate the merchandise mix. A cream and black palette provides a luxurious backdrop to the clothing, which is displayed along walls, in flexible bins, on hang bars and faceouts. Black and stainless-steel floor fixtures spotlight dresses. And the cashwrap, which doubles as a jewelry and fragrance display, takes the shape of a grand piano, also echoed in the ceiling overhead.
Client: Caché/Lillie Ruben, New York -- Clifford Gray, vp, design and construction
Architect: Michael Malone Architects Inc., Dallas -- Michael Malone, principal-in-charge of design; Rob Romero, project manager; Talmadge Smith, project architect
General Contractor: Frandy Inc., Hackesttstown, N.J.
Suppliers: Vision Woodworking, Fridley, Minn. (fixturing); Lightolier, Fall River, Mass. (lighting); GranitiFiandre, Itasca, Ill. (flooring); Granata Sign, Stamford, Conn. (signage)
Photography: Jud Haggard Photography, Bellaire, Texas