In the beginning
After four years spearheading the in-store shop program with Marithé & François Girbaud, I was recruited to join Giorgio Armani to help bring Armani Jeans to the U.S. By the time we finished, we had an award-winning new brand with stores in every major city in America. A|X Armani Exchange now has over 200 stores around the world.
This was a breakthrough role for me and was my first true experience in comprehensive brand development.
I had the privilege of collaborating directly with industry leaders in fashion, retail, and interior design, gaining more real-world creative insight in a single meeting than you’d find in a semester of college.
Pierre Charreau’s Maison de Verre for the overall style, translucent wall panels, materials, and details
Pierre Charreau’s Quonset Studio for Motherwell for space and form
Pantelleria (Mr. Armani’s island getaway) for lifestyle and weathered finishes
Army Post Exchange (PX) for organization, presentation, and eventually the name of the store
Milan for overhead cables and lighting (real Milan streetlights were imported for the early stores)
Green grocers and butcher shops for bins, butcher wrap, and stickers
I had a broad range of responsibilities, working on every aspect of the store concept and roll-out:
Concept Development :: Branding :: Fixture Design and Engineering
Materials and Finishes :: Lighting :: Sound Systems
Custom Air Fragrance Development :: Music Programming
Packaging Development and Sourcing :: Equipment Design
Staff Training :: Training Materials :: Merchandising :: POS Collateral
Visual Display :: Signage :: Stationery :: POS Systems :: Store Roll-out
I thought of the hangers as an extension of the store fixturing and so incorporated the same weathered metal finishes as we used throughout the store. Rubber shoulder pads were added to carry the garments and the A|X logo was embossed into the metal neck plate.
A|X had a huge range of silhouettes, fits and washes. Instead of a typical training manual, I created a set of flashcards for the employees so they could easily quiz themselves and each other as they learned about the products. Games make learning fun.
ISP/VMSD Interior Design Awards 1992
Store of the Year
ID Magazine, 1992
Gold Award (for my hangers)