Hello everyone, it’s Ginny again with an introduction to a very fun project that we’ve got in the works over here at EHD. Last fall we were approached by Lanie List, the founder and all ’round awesome Girl Boss of a collection of bridal stores called Lovely Bride that sell INSANELY beautiful dresses. After seeing the design of the Ban.do Party house on Refinery29, Lanie emailed us and asked for some help to modernize and add some fun personality into the flagship NYC store. She wanted us to create an overall concept for new and existing franchise stores that would make them all feel more cohesive and branded. In the franchise world, when opening a new storefront, each store owner is given a brand guidelines document that is essentially a list of do’s and don’ts of how to set up the store in terms of design, decor, and overall vibe. Although Lovely Bride had one of these in place, Lanie wanted to revise it with a more concrete concept as some of the stores had gone off in their own creative direction and away from Lovely’s original brand guidelines.
Around the time of our initial discussions, I was in NYC for a friend’s wedding, so I met up with Lanie and the NYC store manager Erica to learn more about their existing concept. For the New York location in particular, they wanted to upgrade their entrance area to feel more welcoming and vibrant as it was not only a waiting area but the customers first impression of the store. As you can see, a lot of their existing furniture and lighting feels more romantic-vintage-meets-shabby-chic-meets-French-country which is something they wanted to get away from. Even at the time Lanie mentioned that the store had been quickly put together, but they did have common elements that ran throughout the space (i.e. the overdyed rugs, the crystal chandeliers, tufted velvet and Belgian linen, floral wallpaper, and their signature Lovely Bride paper picado). I was only there for a couple of hours and had to try really hard to not start moving furniture around to see if the layout could feel any better.
Each one of the fitting rooms had been designed to have it’s own theme and some of the elements I really loved – i.e. the floral wallpaper and the oversized gilded mirrors. Some rooms felt quite traditional, whereas others felt trendy with hot pink dots and gold sequin drapes. Everything was ready for some cohesion, both in the store and the booths.
Just so I could get a flavor for another store and to see how much it differed from NYC, I popped into the LA store that was in West Hollywood (now moved to Pasadena). This definitely felt more pulled together, probably because the store was a lot smaller in size and didn’t have as many fitting rooms. It also helped that the fitting rooms felt more “built-in,” whereas the NYC store had more temporary feeling fitting rooms.
One thing I loved about the stores were the wood floors- they used simple white oak which was a great base for us to work off, and feels modern and timeless. And the light pink moire paint color, soft enough without feeling too “baby” pink.
In the overall design concept, main elements Lanie wanted us to address were:
– The Reception Area: which would include a custom new wallpaper and reception desk.
– The Fitting Rooms: which would include new drapes and full length 3 way mirrors.
– Lighting: she wanted to move away from the chandeliers since they have been replicated in competitor stores now.
– Furniture: we discussed using a mix of custom pieces that we would design, some wholesale to-the-trade- only items as well as some off the shelf pieces.
With some of the stores having been opened for years by franchisees, Lanie wanted us to select items that could be slowly filtered into those stores. That way they didn’t have to fully redesign the whole store, which would be a costly thing to do for each shop owner.
During our conversations, words like chic, modern, sophisticated, romantic, and cool kept coming up, so that helped us to form the direction we wanted to take with the design.
Below is the design concept presentation for Lanie along with our concepts and ideas for each area:
Our aim with Lovely Bride is to place a sophisticated, modern filter over an already realized concept. One that can be rolled out to new franchises and existing stores alike.
From the storefront, to the reception and the fitting rooms, each area should feel unique, and most importantly, make the bride feel special as she navigates the space. That’s why we aim to make each area feel cohesive and individually balanced by using a select mix of colour with custom and signature pieces of furniture.
The colour palette will take on a moody tone, incorporating varying shades of fresh blushes with deep graphites, and saturated neutrals over a fairly minimalist backdrop, a more tone-on-tone style. We plan to expand the materials palette and introduce brass and rose metallic accents, innovative coloured marbles, thick lush textured velvets, lucite, soft worn leathers, and structured wool felt.
The furniture will take on a more clean and modern approach with organic silhouettes and straight lines giving the store a more refreshed and fun feeling.
The reception desk is the first point of contact once you step into the space. We envisage this to be a functional yet beautiful piece of custom furniture that can be adapted to suit each store layout.
We love the idea of taking the plaster moulding, which is an existing Lovely Bride element, but modernizing it in a way to create a simple, yet exciting cladding for the desk base. This will be further enhanced by the addition of brass or rose gold trim to the front of the moulding which will add another level of detail. Introducing a pink marble into the overall materials palette, we envisage this being used as the countertop.
Allowing this piece to be multi-functional, we suggest adding a glass display case lined with fabric for jewelry and accessories. This will also be designed to hide unsightly printers and other office essentials.
We love the idea of re-imagining Lovely’s signature picado into something more permanent and using more robust materials like laser cut wood, brass, or acrylic. This could be done in the traditional bunting style or elevated to become an illuminated screen behind the reception desk.
As a show stopper, we’d love to add a custom glass and metallic chandelier to sit over the desk which will help to really ground the area as a focal point.
With the reception lounge, we really want to create a tone-on-tone environment, where everything is just simply: a varying shade of blush. From the walls, to the custom sofa and rugs, we aim to combine different materials to create a subtle yet textured, feminine vibe.
We are recommending that the custom pieces stay within the wallpaper, sofa, rug, and neon sign, which can be more one of a kind and signature to the Lovely store. Combining these with existing retail pieces such as the coffee table, light fixtures, and side tables will create a good mix of custom and new.
The sofa will take on a modern silhouette shape with organic curves that help to make it feel more communal. Constructed as a modular piece it allows for flexibility as well as being adaptable to suit each store layout. Clad in a soft worn blush leather, this piece will be iconic to the Lovely stores.
Keeping the additional materials palette to a minimum, accent furniture will be a combination of brass/rose metals mixed with lucite, marble, or travertine.
Taking the traditional Moroccan style Beni Ourain rug and reimagining it with the Lovely colour palette, we can customize the rugs with different patterns and lines to suit each area of the store.
The neon sign in a tonal coral pink will simply say “Lovely Bride” staying true to the brand.
Keeping with that tone-on-tone style, we’re adding some darker colours to the fitting rooms to allow for some contrast and depth. With these areas being the most heavily trafficked in the store, we are proposing full floor to ceiling high drapes in a dark grey ribbed velvet. This gives a luxurious feel, and creates height within the space, whilst also helping with the privacy aspect.
We are proposing a custom three-way mirror wrapped in brass with a faceted bevel detail. Depending on the size of each store, this could be in all the fitting rooms or just be the focal point. We’d also love to add a custom podium using the Lovely wood floor finish wrapped in brass/rose metal.
Where there is need or an appropriate place, full height floor to ceiling mirrored walls could be created. This would help bounce light, add depth and could be done in a rose gold.
… All in all, the direction has been really well received by Lanie and her team and we still have much more to reveal to you with our ideas and plans for the custom furniture pieces, the details of the lighting, and everything else we have planned for them.
What do you think, would you want to find your perfect dress here?
P.S. if you are shopping for wedding dress we highly recommend it – rows and rows of temptingly beautiful and unique dresses.