The film revolves around a disenchanted salesgirl, Mirabelle Buttersfield.Our heroine watches over the evening glove counter at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills. She does not actually SELL gloves, as this area of the bustling department store is rather empty most of the time, except to one customer - Ray Porter - who becomes her love interest.
For a full synopsis and review of the film, you can click here.The revealing write-up will give you a well-developed view of Mirabelle, Ray, Jeremy, other characters, and the storyline. Those definitely relate to the store design we see... and truly, that isn't a lot. The store environment is used only to provide a backdrop for the development of Mirabelle's character, not as a character itself. Still photos are few & far between. However, it holds a great lesson in how and why store design is an important part of your business 'story'...
[image from upscaleswagger.com]Saks Fifth Avenue department store is a venerable bastion of modern-day shopping in the retail mecca of Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive. The service is legendary, the amenities luxe, and the scope of merchandise displayed akin to a den of thieves treasure. More art gallery than superstore, items are displayed like precious jewels. It's exactly what one would expect a huge retail establishment on famed Rodeo Drive to be, and scenes of the store interior on the first floor - filled with expensive shoes, handbags, cosmetics, and fragrances - reflect this expectation.
Yes, I know this is getting a bit deep into the psychological state of the character... but the production /set designer took those cues and made them visual references. We feel the malaise that our heroine does - we imagine her spending eight hours a day, five to six days a week, stuck in this homogenized, muted world, and it saddens us. The store environment affects our state of being.
And THAT, my friends, is what store design can DO.
Take care in choosing your wall colors, your floor materials, your display cases and mannequins - because they combine to tell a story of your business, the main character in YOUR 'film'. Determine your 'voice' and what you want customers to 'hear', because as they walk into and around your store, the environment is speaking. LOUDLY. Make sure it's saying something you want it to say. And that's before ever pulling a single product out of a box.
Let's go back to that display case for a moment...
There is nothing more apt to make customers walk right by product as to display it in a way that is un-interesting and static. These are elegant evening gloves... and to sell them, they need to be displayed in a way that captures the beauty they will have when placed on a warm, moving, feminine hand. Set off by a sparkling bracelet, perhaps, or a single rose caressed between fingers.. Drape a pair of gloves over a stack of opera programs, and sit a pair of opera glasses nearby. (Remember the scene from another film, 'Pretty Woman', where Vivienne experiences her first opera? How her hands in the long, white evening gloves moved slowly to her face as she tried to hold back tears?) Make the merchandise come alive, and it will sell.
The story has its highs and lows, as does Mirabelle's psyche and her life. [This is a drama, not a comedy, despite being written by and starring Steve Martin.]
It's about becoming who you are meant to be,
not disappearing into the crowd.
A worthy effort - for a young woman AND for a business.
[images located via google image search and IMDB;
property of Touchstone Pictures]