Dries Van Noten‘s LA store takes over two buildings that sit on a huge parking lot along La Cienega Boulevard. The first building is a two-floor property that has been dubbed Big House, the second, called Little House, is a 1950s-era bungalow completely shrouded by ivy.
Together the buildings measure 8,500 square feet (790 square meters), making this the Belgian fashion brand’s largest retail space to date.
Clothing collections are presented inside Big House, with womenswear on the ground floor and menswear up on the first floor.
The brand’s in-house design team took charge of the interiors – founder Dries van Noten, who was stuck outside the US due to coronavirus travel restrictions, would “visit” the space every evening via FaceTime calls with staff members.
Simple white-painted walls and concrete flooring appears throughout. A few elements in the store, like the accessory display plinths and chesterfield-style sofas, are a sunny shade of yellow – a colour deemed synonymous with Dries Van Noten’s brand identity
Decor is provided by striking artworks from a roster of local and international creatives. Some pieces, such as the mixed-media collages by LA-based artist Jan Gatewood, have been executed directly on the store’s walls as murals.
“I didn’t want to have that gallery feeling where everything is mercantile…it’s more like graffiti,” Van Noten explained.
“While showcasing the Dries Van Noten collections this place will be a haven for creative encounters and gathering experiences that embraces the creative pulse of Los Angeles and its creative and fashion community” added the brand explained in a statement.
“These experiences can be as light-hearted as they can be profound, yet they will always be welcoming to all and informal.”
Big House additionally includes archive rooms which are haphazardly plastered with old catwalk and campaign imagery of Dries Van Noten designs.
Here customers are able to purchase pieces from past collections – some of which date back to the 1990s – and once health and safety restrictions have been lifted post-pandemic, re-sell garments from the brand that they no longer want.
“It’s not only about sustainability reasons, but it’s the whole idea that a beautiful garment stays beautiful even if other people have been wearing it – and I like the idea that you have new clothes and old clothes all together in the same store,” added Van Noten.
To access Little House, shoppers must walk past a series of plant beds overspilling with tropical foliage, which were included in homage to Van Noten’s passion for gardening and the brand’s frequent use of botanical prints.
The bungalow acts as an exhibition space which, going forward, will showcase different furniture, textiles, ceramics and photography from both established and emerging creatives.
Currently on display is a collection of porcelain tableware created by Van Noten’s longtime friend, fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester, and Belgian brand Serax.
The brand also hopes that, in time, the parking lot can host large-scale events, and has plans to transform it into everything from a drive-in cinema to a food-tasting space.
Dries Van Noten’s Los Angeles store joins branches in Tokyo, Osaka, Singapore, Paris and a flagship in Antwerp – but the brand’s founder already has his sights set on opening the doors to a store over on the east coast of the US.
“Of course the space is very important, it really has to be the right building – the moment we find that, we’ll be in New York.”
Photography is by Jim Mangan unless stated otherwise.