Valentino’s overhaul of an iconic space on New York’s Madison Avenue not only continues its refreshed design direction for investigating a site’s existing architecture, but incorporates a strong cultural element as well. The new three-floor boutique, which is best known for being the longstanding flagship space for Calvin Klein until 2019, has been transformed into a beacon of Italian style, not least from the soaring fluted columns on its neoclassical limestone facade from 1927.
Valentino Madison Avenue: a beacon of Italian style
Spread over a basement, ground floor, mezzanine and second floor, the mammoth 1,142 sq m boutique is a feast for the senses. Visitors through the grand double doors on the ground floor immediately experience the space’s monumental nature with towering seven-metre-tall ceilings and exposed steel columns juxtaposed by a statuesque green onyx display, trompe l’oeil marble carpets and sumptuous red velvet seating. Here, Valentino’s footwear and accessories are put on full display, while a separate jewel-box area clad with red velvet walls contains a taste of the label’s ready-to-wear offering.
A dramatic staircase constructed from a variety of marbles, including red travertine, white Bottinico and black Marquino leads up to the second floor, where the full women’s ready-to-wear collection is found. Defined by giant red lacquered wardrobes and an eye-catching black and white marbled checkered floor, the second floor is very much a continuation of the existing material palette downstairs for a harmonious atmosphere.
In the VIP areas, which encompass a private sitting room and dressing areas, bespoke chandeliers by Roll & Hill, chairs by the French architect Charles Zana and ceramics by Massimiliano Pipolo help to imbue a residential feel. This also extends to the men’s collection floor in the building’s basement, where a sprawling DeSede ‘Snake’ sofa from the 1970s and Mario Bellini’s Camaleonda sofas and poufs from the same era bring warmth to the space.
The New York flagship’s mezzanine floor has been dedicated to art and will present a rotating roster of local gallery presences, starting with the Magazzino Italian Art. The store’s opening coincides with an exhibition of large-scale paintings by Mario Schifano, to complete the ode to the house’s Italian identity.
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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.
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