Thierry Dreyfus, the legendary lighting designer who recently chanelled his conceptual vision into ten dazzling covers for our November W*152 issue, has designed a new boutique for Robert Clergerie on new rue de Grenelle in Paris.
The footwear brand, founded in 1981, has had a lot of noise surrounding it since it was acquired by the Fung Brands group earlier last year. This is due to a high profile changing-of-the-guard: the appointment of Roland Mouret as creative director.
Mouret, who has been charged with bringing his slim-fitting cocktail dress sensuality to the footwear brand's 'Made in France' reputation and expertise, made his creative debut with brand recently with the A/W 2012 collection - a modern and directional take on cinematographic female icons. Think shoes inspired by the likes of Catherine Deneuve in 'Belle du Jour' or Faye Dunaway in 'The Eyes of laura Mars'.
The brand's rise into the contemporary spotlight is now being accelerated by its collaboration with Dreyfus. Mouret cites that he has been a huge fan of Dreyfus' work 'since the beginning of his art installations'. The resulting store, an intimate yet minimalist space, which Dreyfus says he conceptualised with the idea of 'a woman's shoe as part of a man's fantasy' in mind, attests a coherence between the two creatives' vision.
Dreyfus' boutique design for Robert Clergerie may be a one-off, but it has certainly made an impact. The designer once told us: 'Besides light, there is nothing more powerful than the mirror - a subjective hole inside reality - to attract the visitor's attention, thereby forcing one to dive into oneself.' The designer has played with this idea further in the tiny 20 sq m boutique, creating a 'game of mirrors' in which white lacquered surfaces interact with grey felted shelves and walls.
The minimalist space is injected with dramatic amethyst crystal light-boxes containing shoes, which Dreyfus confides were designed to mimick the idea of how jewellery is often displayed on plush velvet.
To give Dreyfus' foray into shop design some context - he has produced some of fashion's most memorable catwalk shows of the past decade for the likes of Dior Homme, Helmut Lang and Jil Sander. He also once transformed Notre Dame for Paris’ Nuit Blanche 2010. It seems there is nothing the philosophical lighting designer/artist can't do.
Was his approach to designing a shop different to that for his fashion show ventures? 'I don't think there is a different process for a different nature of creative project,' he says. 'When I see someone like Rei Kawakubo, I often why she continues in fashion; this lady could design a house, a city, paint, draw - her sense of colour and material is just unbelievable. My approach is more of a mental process of doing something.'