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“[Customers] use their wardrobes to express who they are.”

When it comes to shopping, Donatella Versace’s quip isn’t purely about the product, but the environment in which it’s displayed. Shoppers choose brands that align with their attributes and style, which is why a recognizable brand personality is key to customer retention in 2019. For apparel stores, fixtures offer many of the elements that make up brand identity: distinctiveness, familiarity and communicability.

Personality Traits
Versace | Photography: Alessandra Chemollo, Venice, Italy

BUILDING AN ICON

For Florence’s new Versace store, the design directive was to deliver something that was “iconic by itself.”

“Trends were not part of the creative process,” says Nicolas Gwenael, President at Curiosity (Tokyo), the firm charged with the store’s design.

Creating the store within a centuries-old palazzo meant “the architecture offered the possibility for drama” – a word that perfectly encapsulates Versace. Uplit shelving is almost stage-like, thrusting the product into the forefront. Royal blue velvet couches and curtains envelop, lending a sense of comfort to the fitting room. A bronze sculpture of geometric lines covers a wall in the accessories department with jewelry merchandised on its shelves, creating a “total fusion between product and display,” says Gwenael. It’s aspirational luxury from every angle.

This effort to marry fixtures with the image of the brand marks a direction toward conveying an identifiable personality through even the smallest of details.

DRAWING ON THE PAST

In the South Coast Plaza store in Costa Mesa, Calif., Allen Edmonds’ steep history has been woven into the brand image through its fixtures. “We didn’t build in anything – all the display solutions are fixture based,” says Mitch Pride, Senior Associate at MG2 (Seattle).

Personality Traits
Allen Edmonds | Photography: Chris Eden, Seattle

The graphics are magnetic and are able to be layered, making them movable  and adaptable to fresh spaces that morph and change constantly. An industrial tabletop for footwear display calls on the Wisconsin factory’s industrial heritage, while the new world, craft feel of bleached wood and raw steel say “made in the USA.” Cloth mannequins are used to outfit the product, displaying apparel alongside footwear to create an image the customer can overlay on their lifestyle, “revealing the brand in a tangible way,” says Pride.

It is this that 2019’s fixtures are seeking to achieve: an environment in which the customer can truly imagine themselves with the product, where they authentically connect with the brand.

Personality Traits
Versace | Photography: Alessandra Chemollo, Venice, Italy

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