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When new designers take the helm at an established label, what comes down the runway isn't the only change consumers see — a revamped retail experience typically comes along as part of a package deal. That's definitely the case with DKNY, which quietly unveiled a new look for its Soho store over the weekend.
But if you were strolling down West Broadway in the past few days and didn't realize it was open, we wouldn't blame you; in some places, it literally looks like a construction site.
Creative directors Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne (whose also run their own label, Public School) leaned heavily into the "NY" part of the brand when reconceptualizing this space in regard to how the city feels like it's constantly under construction these days — you can hardly turn a corner without finding yourself under scaffolding or seeing a lofted crane in the distance.
That's why you'll see walls that look like they have yet to be painted, unvarnished wooden dividers, and display stands literally made out of construction material (think Tyvek paneling and concrete slabs under glass panels).
As a brand rep explained during a walk-through this morning, those wooden dividers are supposed to create the illusion of city blocks, letting customers zig-zag through the shop's long space and discover something new around every corner. That includes apparel. shoes, and accessories from the spring 2016 collection in a color palette that's almost exclusively black, white, and tan (some light blue is thrown in for good measure).
One section is dedicated exclusively to those right-from-the-runway tee-shirts with phonetic variations of how to pronounce "DKNY" — those will soon be joined by limited-edition sweatshirts, available only at this store and online, with the plays on what DKNY stands for, including "Don't Knock New York" and "Dazed Kids New York". Another is for the fitting area, which has exceptionally large dressing rooms and well-lit mirrors.
A long bench reminiscent of those you find in the subway is right outside of them, and smaller ones are dotted throughout the store as well as featured in the window. In the largest room, greenery peeks out between where the poured concrete floor meets the brick wall.
For the time being, this will be DKNY's only store in New York City; the Madison Avenue flagship closed in February.