Friday, May 20, 2011

Does my bum look big in this?

Around the world, fitting rooms are getting a make over in order to make you look and feel good about what you wear, and assistants offering first class service fit for a queen! 

Below: The VIP changing room at Dsquared features walls
of birch trunks and pictures of the forests of Canada,
home of Dean and Dan Caten, the twin designers of
the brand.

Below: The “infinity fitting rooms” at Alter are mirrored on both sides
of the wall, creating a never-ending reflection.

Below: Dior Homme’s dressing rooms feature black-and-white photos
of Chinese men from the past six decades

"Lily Ren will never forget the moment when she was in an Yves Saint Laurent store in Los Angeles last summer. She was standing on a platform surrounded by three huge mirrors, trying on a dress from the French fashion couture house’s latest collection. Two sales girls were busy assisting her: They zipped her up, brought her a pair of matching high heels and placed a necklace around her neck for a refined, finished look. 

“I felt like I was a Hollywood star in a private salon from the old times,” recalls the Shanghai shopper in her 40s. “It was the best-ever luxury shopping experience.”  Delighted and also feeling very important, Ren ended up buying not only the dress, but also the shoes and necklace the shop assistants had recommended. Nowadays, more and more fashion retailers in Shanghai have also come to realize the importance of a special dressing space. 

“Fitting rooms are very important for retail spaces,” says Sonja Long, founder of Alter, a high-end multi-branded fashion boutique in the new Xintiandi Style mall. “They allow the clients to be alone with the items they want to try on ... so it’s a very personal, almost intimate experience.” The two fitting rooms in Alter feature mirrors on opposite walls, creating a never-ending reflection and one can see herself or himself reflected over and over again. “We call them the infinity fitting rooms,” Long explains. “Alter is a playground for adults and we have also brought this idea into the fitting room. It’s almost like a fantasy, like a digitally manipulated image but it is real. You can definitely have a lot of fun in there!” 

Space, design, lighting, comfort, privacy and mirrors are all important factors for an ideal dressing space. “Poorly designed fitting rooms can discourage the customer from purchasing the merchandize,” Long adds. Stepping into the VIP changing room at Italian fashion house Dsquared’s new store in Pudong’s IFC Mall is like entering a pristine forest. “I ‘wowed’ when I was led to the room for the first time,” recalls local fashion writer Toni Chen. “It is very spacious, featuring walls of birch bark and pictures of the natural forest. It makes one feel peaceful and at ease, especially in a luxury shopping mall where all the branded stuff seems to shout ‘Buy me, buy me, buy me’!” “A taste of home, where Canadian woods meet Italian design” is how shop manager Caroline Zhong describes the new store concept. The furniture such as the deer antler chandeliers and the walls of birch bark were carefully chosen to evoke the forests of Canada, home of Dean and Dan Caten, the twin designers for Dsquared. 

Downstairs on the first floor of the IFC Mall, Dior Homme has invited renowned Chinese artist Wen Fang to design the two fitting rooms for its second retail space in Shanghai. The walls are covered with bricks featuring black-and-white photos of Chinese men from the past six decades. Each brick is one-of-a-kind. Some of the subjects are very easily identified, such as Chairman Mao Zedong, Bruce Lee, China’s pioneer rocker Cui Jian and Hong Kong star Andy Lau, while the others are images of ordinary people Wen collected from her family and friends’ archives. 

“When a Chinese customer enters the room, he most likely feels happy and surprised,” Wen says, explaining her idea behind the project. “A foreign customer, on the other hand, would think that it is a Western fashion brand that understands and respects Chinese culture. “But it will make the changing experience much longer if he takes a close look at all the pictures,” she says laughing." 

source: China Daily 4.5.2011

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