Gucci's Latest Retail Concept Is for VIPs Only
Sure to be frequented by celebrities, Gucci Salon harkens back to the house's 1970s heyday.
Los Angeles has a prominent new luxury storefront — but you'll probably never get inside.
Not long after Marc Jacobs vacated the iconic ivy-covered, billboard-topped Melrose Place corner with which it was long associated, Gucci took over. First, it was a pop-up for its Adidas collaboration, before the space was fully Gucci-fied.
Today, 8400 Melrose Place has reached its final form: Gucci Salon, a new brick-and-mortar concept that takes luxury retail to a new level. Its doors will only be opened for VIP clients with appointments, but members of the press were given a sneak peek on Tuesday.
Gucci Salon is located at the intersection of Melrose Place and Melrose Avenue — a highly trafficked shopping area of West Hollywood. Melrose Place, in particular, is one of L.A.'s toniest stretches of retail. Neighbors include Balmain, The Row, Oscar de la Renta and Chloé (most of whom followed Marc Jacobs to the quaint area). However, Gucci's new concept is designed to feel less like a store and more like a lavish apartment filled with your dream wardrobe. The brand's VIP clientele can skip the plebeian store experience altogether and instead book an appointment for Gucci Salon, where the entire space will be merchandised specifically for the individual. Whether they're looking for suits or a custom gown, the racks will be filled accordingly.
This location is the first of several that will roll out in other big cities, either as standalone Gucci Salons or dedicated sections within existing stores. And while the name is new, the concept has a bit of an historical origin story.
In 1977, Aldo Gucci (son of Gucci Gucci) opened the first Gucci Galleria, which he imagined as "perhaps the most luxurious place to shop in the entire world," per a press release. It was located above the brand's Beverly Hills boutique; another opened on the fourth floor of its Fifth Avenue store in New York City in 1980. Both were accessible only to select clientele "via a crystal and bronze elevator, opened by a leather-wrapped brass key."
The retro decor at Gucci Salon is also inspired by the house's first Los Angeles boutique, which opened in 1968. The brand worked with a longtime collaborator: set and production designer Gideon Ponte, who sourced gorgeous vintage furniture from all over the world. There's plush, wall-to-wall carpet, bamboo chairs with velvet upholstery, art-deco crystal chandeliers, mirrored columns and a massive orange lacquer dining table. Purple and red suede curtains decorate the decadent fitting rooms.
While certainly opulent, the decor doesn't distract from the merchandise, though.
On my visit, mannequins were dressed in an assortment of recent red-carpet gowns: Jessica Chastain's from the 2023 Oscars, Michelle Williams' from the 2023 Golden Globes, Dakota Johnson's from the 2021 Venice Film Festival, Jodie Turner-Smith's from the 2021 Cannes Film Festival. On the racks were an array of colorful, intricately beaded and feathered dress samples ready to be customized to a client's exact specifications. Inside cabinets were high-end accessories and pieces from Gucci's High Jewelry collection. (A PR rep pointed out that these high-ticket items would be locked away behind glass in a traditional store, but here they are out in the open to touch and feel.)
From the garments to the furnishings, the space has an almost theatrical feel. Intended to showcase the brand's most exceptional, one-of-a-kind creations, it was entirely devoid of anything one might consider "stealth wealth."
Aside from big-spending clients, the store will also cater to celebrities and is certain to become an A-lister hot spot when awards season rolls around. Additional Gucci Salons are set to open up in New York, Paris, London, Milan, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo throughout the year.
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