Fashion apparel powerhouse BCBGMAXAZRIA Group has opened a new retail format that combines fast fashions with a boutique experience. Targeted at young women ages 16 to 26, Lola has a cool, hip vibe and eclectic flair.
The prototype, at Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn., is designed to recall the sort of urban apartment that a young woman might rent, and comes complete with fireplace, daybed, spiral staircase and closet. It was designed in house by BCBG.
“To all of us, Lola was a real person,” said BCBG designer Amanda Thevenot. “It was more like helping my little sister decorate her apartment than it was designing a store.”
All the elements in the space, from the music to the wall decor, are intended to reflect the tastes and personality of the fictitious Lola, whose profile was developed by the BCBG team. The 3,000-sq.-ft. store is meant to be her at-home world brought to life in a retail setting, and is comprised of a series of “rooms,” with a living room, bedroom and closet.
BGBG partnered on the project with fixture company idX Corp., which built a model store at its St. Louis showroom. (Lola served as the launch pad for idX’s new program that allows fixtures to be shipped directly from its China manufacturing facility to the store. The program allows considerable time savings, critical to this project.)
“idX were true partners on the project,” said Chris Love, VP architecture and construction, BCBG, Vernon, Calif. “We went from concept to reality in six months, and we couldn’t have pulled this off without their hard work and resources.”
A spiral staircase ranks among the store’s visual highlights. It vertically enhances the space and breaks up the horizontal lines of the fixtures, while also providing a creative way to display accessories.
The living room area features a fireplace, complete with a mouse running into a hole beside it. In the bedroom area, the cashwrap is designed as the dresser, and some merchandise basics are displayed on a daybed. The closet serves as the fitting room area.
On the walls, the design team pasted relevant cut-out magazine photos, poems and other items. The storefront is set off with salvaged doors for a slightly Lower East Side feel, and trompe l’oeil hand-painted architectural details and hand-drawn graphics.
The fixtures are specifically designed to work with Lola’s fast-fashion merchandising. The wall displays were produced to clip in place and provide architectural detailing without making dramatic changes to the architecture. Clever details make the displays flexible and easy to merchandise.
Since making its Mall of America debut, Lola has opened a second location, at Plaza las Americas, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The company plans more stores going forward.
“Sales are far better than expected,” Love said. “Because the vibe is so cool and the salespeople are trained to relate to the customers, girls don’t want to leave the space.”