A Hollywood hotspot for celebs and the paparazzi who stalk them, womenswear mecca Kitson on Robertson Boulevard offers the latest trends found on the pages of every star-studded magazine.
Now Kitson Men has joined the block. John Hirsch, principal for Space Intl. Inc., the Los Angeles-based firm that designs all of the Kitson stores, says the storefront is what gives Kitson Men its star quality. “We wanted the storefront to blur the line between private and public, much like in Hollywood,” he explains. “Customers are put on display as they try on clothes in translucent-fronted, steel dressing rooms along the street, playing into people’s voyeuristic tendencies.”
Equipped with a design concept that’s oh-so-L.A., Space Intl. then incorporated elements that would appeal to the male shopper, such as steel and wood, and a landscaped outdoor area that provides a masculine aesthetic.
“Men shop differently than women,” Hirsch says. “He has a specific destination in mind. Our design challenge was to create a cohesiveness among the different products.”
Plywood panels punched with odd-shaped holes on the ceiling and walls create that consistency. The holes take on a parallel meaning: The first impression the ceiling conveys is a natural pattern of sunlight through a canopy of trees. But the ceiling actually portrays a giant, pixilated version (the holes are the pixels) of a snapshot taken outside the store after a celebrity car crash. “We call this our ‘tabloid surface,’ an allusion to an organic occurrence mixed with something artificial – a constant in L.A.”
And if you’re a guy who’s a bit shy about shopping in the public eye? “I haven’t come across too many timid Los Angeles males,” Hirsch says. “But just in case, we placed a couple of dressing rooms toward the rear of the store.”
Client: kitson, Los Angeles; Fraser Ross, owner
Design/Architect: space intl. inc., Los Angeles; John Hirsch, design principal; Michael Ferguson, design principal; Kirby Smith, project architect; Gabriel Leung, design associate
General Contractor: Bonura Builders, Los Angeles
Audio/Visual: Music Imaging and Media Intl., LLC, Los Angeles
Ceilings/Fixtures/Wallcoverings/Materials: space intl. inc., Los Angeles
Lighting: DalSal Industries, Del Ray, Calif.; Garden City, N.Y.; Artemide Inc., Los Angeles
Photography: Joshua White, Los Angeles