When New York-based architect Steven Harris was designing Dolce & Gabbana’s first outpost on the tropical island of St Barts, he was thrilled to discover a shared passion for Riva Aquarama speedboats with the brand’s Italian founders. ‘Growing up in Florida in the fifties, I spent a great deal of time on boats’ Harris explains. 'The world of marinas and docks, dinghies and tenders was part of the everyday landscape.’ His sailing-inspired store concept fuses the island architecture of the Caribbean with that of the Mediterranean.
Upon entering the two floor 314 sq m boutique, guests are greeted with a space that evokes mid-century Italian interior design. White marble floors take inspiration from Casa Malaparte on the island of Capri, and Gio Ponti’s Villa Planchart in Venezuela (Ponti's chairs also feature at its Via Montenapoleone flagship store in Milan, which opened in autumn 2016).
Marble table tops also house footwear and women’s accessories on the ground floor, alongside antique brass shelves. Transparent glass sculptures in azure blue show off Dolce & Gabbana jewellery, evoking stones on a beach or pieces of treasured coral.
Dolce & Gabbana has opened its first St. Barts based boutique, designed by architect Steven Harris
These are juxtaposed against more Caribbean focused finishes, like deep chairs hand wrapped in rope and upholstered in natural hemp, and palm trees that cast shadows on the opulent pink and green onyx and white calypso surfaces.
To access the exclusive men’s and women’s beachwear collections on the second floor, shoppers ascend a staircase with an oceanic blue vellum handrail, resembling the sterns of Harris' and Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s beloved speedboats. Wicker bags, silk scarves and t-shirts feature in the tropical collection, printed with parrots and idyllic beaches lined with hibiscus flowers and huts.
With a barber shop in Dolce & Gabbana's New Bond Street location in London, it is clear that the duo gravitate towards a lifestyle encompassing retail experience. For the St Bart's outpost, they feature a Martini Bar housed in a ground floor courtyard and swathed in an oasis of palm fronds. Featuring the same flourishes of dusty stone and coloured vellum, its pink onyx bar is over six metres long. Time to drop anchor.