Since Barneys New York closed in 2019, its Los Angeles store in The Grove has sat vacant until luxury lifestyle bikini brand owner, Gigi Caruso scooped it up. Caruso has officially opened the Gigi C showroom and offices in the space today.
There’s nothing worse than having a large retail space shut down in a major retail area. Gigi C is bringing life back to a space that has been dead for four years. “It is important to us to uphold the legacy of the old Barneys location, to the space that was once home,” says Caruso. “It was an iconic destination for years, and we are so proud to be taking over and breathing new life into the location.”
She chose to partner with LA-based celebrity interior design firm Maison Ko, founded by David Samuel Ko, who has worked with the likes of Hilary Duff to tell this new story. “The style of the space is complimentary of the Gigi C product. It is chic yet minimal while representing the brand ethos and my personal style. The layout of the showroom floor was designed specifically to show the product in a unique way. We worked closely with Maison Ko to help bring the brand’s aesthetic to a physical space, and the outcome is an embodiment of what Gigi C truly is,” she says.
Ko designed the 5,840 square foot space with clean and minimal lines, gravitating towards a black and white color palette inside, and ash oak floors which align with the brand’s core colors. The windows are done in black steel and the partitions contrast the brass clothing racks. “We’re known for our core black and white color palette, and this is definitely evident throughout the whole space. We mixed textures and tones while remaining within that color palette to really let the Gigi C styles pop within the Showroom on the beautiful brass clothing racks that adorn the first floor,” says Caruso.
The showroom downstairs is where private wholesale appointments will take place, as well as editor and stylist visits- and events which will also take place in the space. The California-born designer also designed the office upstairs, which opened earlier this month.
Caruso is hopeful that the offices will translate into successful and innovative business taking root for the brand. For her, it was important that Ko be able to design a place where the workspace blends well with the showroom to form community, allowing people to come together and connect with Gigi C. A brand should be more than just its products, it should also have the mindset that it’s a community bringing people together while meeting consumer needs.
Launching in 2017, Caruso has been able to establish a brand that resonates with women. The quality of the swimwear and activewear is top notch. “When I look back, I think about how opening this space is the biggest milestone in my career. I started Gigi C at home, and it’s incredible to see the growth and community we’ve built in the form of this showroom and office space. Every time I walk through the doors of the new Gigi C headquarters, the first thing I think of is just how far we’ve come as a brand and team, and so much more is yet to come!”
And it’s something she’d do again, knowing all the ups and downs that come with launching a fashion brand- if she had to. “The more complex a process is, the more rewarding it becomes when it is completed. One of my favorite things about growing my brand is when you have an idea, put it on paper and then get to see it come to life and share that with the world! I feel incredibly proud and grateful to everyone who contributed to creating this beautiful space.”
With a new showroom and office, also comes a new fall sport collection that will launch in October. This collection is an expansion of the Gigi C aesthetics activewear line and it’s inspired by all thing’s ballet. Looks include delicate crop tops, sleek leggings, elegant skirts, and a jumpsuit, with design twists of keyholes tie-detailing that looks ballet-esque. The collection is done in a color palette that ranges from sage to black, and made with the new Gigi C Power Rib, a performance-driven fabric.
“Our athleticwear has always represented strength – conveying a very strong and powerful energy. I felt that the art of ballet introduced a softer and more interesting take on how strength can coincide with femininity and softness,” says Caruso.