While this summer’s Barbie movie solidified pink’s big return to cultural prominence, another beloved fashion icon has been singing the colour’s praises for decades. Back in 2005, London-based fashion designer Paul Smith splashed the façade of his Los Angeles flagship in a flamingo-like hue inspired by the work of Mexican architect Luis Barragán. Since then, Smith’s Melrose Avenue boutique has become a prominent local landmark. (It helped that the social media crowd soon anointed the spot as its go-to photo backdrop.) Needless to say, when Smith closed the store for renovations earlier this year, expectations were high.

An exterior view of the Paul Smith Melrose Avenue flagship in LA, painted bright pink with a row of colourful cacti sculptures lined up next to the door.

Thankfully, the revamped boutique hasn’t gone green or pivoted to purple. But while the store’s exterior maintains its signature pink paint job (newly restored after the building adopted a temporary striped mural last year), it also features some new outdoor landscaping. To celebrate Paul Smith’s recent collaboration with Italian furniture brand Gufram on a limited-edition “Sunset” version of Guido Drocco and Franco Mello’s cactus-shaped coat stand, a row of the sculptures is now planted next to the entrance. 

In LA, Paul Smith Refreshes a Retail Landmark
In LA, Paul Smith Refreshes a Retail Landmark

As it turns out, this ends up being a bit of a teaser for the revamped interior, too. Not only do the cacti continue indoors (past a new, glossy red entrance hallway), but the space around them has become a playful study in desert modernism.

A retro-looking wood-framed sofa upholstered in striped fabric looks through a transparent partition to a wall of shoes inside Paul Smith's Melrose Avenue store in LA. The ceiling is framed with wood beams.

The shop’s new visual identity and layout take inspiration from LA’s Case Study Houses — specifically, the designs developed by Charles and Ray Eames during the post-war building boom. In turn, an open plan defined by built-in shelving and clean-lined partitions reflects the free-flowing version of modern living presented in these mid-century residential prototypes.

A funky mauve velvet sofa sits across from a wood-framed green armchair in front of a rack of colourful suits in the Melrose Avenue Paul Smith store in LA.
A metal-framed chair with a funky silhouette sits between a clothing rack and a wooden door.

While a mix of vintage furniture pieces (many reupholstered in fabrics from Maharam’s Paul Smith collection) add to the retro-domestic feel of the space, the quirky silhouettes of these designs also imbue each room with a welcome hit of contemporary edge. Another sculptural showpiece: a display table assembled out of some 12,000 playing dice.

A series of wall mosaics depict palm trees in orange and yellow tiles.
A mauve velvet sofa sits in front of a wall partition featuring a mosaic of an orange cactus.

On the walls, sand-coloured tiles set a warm but restrained backdrop, while charming travertine stone mosaics by Charlie Sheppard speak to the California landscape.

A display of handbags arranged on a bleacher-style stepped display in front of a glass-topped table on funky flared wooden legs.
A yellowy-green armchair sits on a blue rug in front of white metal shelving featuring a selection of table lamps and design curios.

Along with highlighting Paul Smith’s clothes, shoe and accessory lines, the store is also an opportunity to showcase some of his domestic offerings. A lounge chair from the designer’s ongoing collaboration with DePadova holds court in one corner in front of a shelving unit that showcases one of Smith’s customized Anglepoise Type 75 lamps.

A wood-framed sofa upholstered in striped fabric sits in front of a clothing rack showcasing colourful velvet suits.

Together, the Melrose Avenue store’s attention-grabbing exterior and sophisticated interior achieve a dignified exuberance that feels perfectly Paul Smith. And for anyone seeking to pay homage to Luis Barragán with their wardrobe, there’s plenty of hot pink to be found on the shop’s racks of flashy — yet finely tailored — suits.

The post In LA, Paul Smith Refreshes a Retail Landmark appeared first on Azure Magazine.

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