“Go big or go home” could be the motto of Peter Simons, president and CEO of the fashion retailer founded by his ancestors in Quebec City in 1840, with stores in Quebec City, Montreal, Laval, Saint-Bruno and Sherbrooke. Deciding to expand the business beyond “la belle province,” Simons chose for the first foray the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in North America and the 10th largest in the world. To freshen the brand and design the new, 115,000-square-foot store, he chose Toronto-based firm Figure3, whose retail projects are among the country’s most adventurous (think Umbra in Toronto or the Telus Generation 2 Store in Laval, Que., both raking in multiple design awards).
As for Figure3’s motto, on this project it may well have been (après extensive consumer-behaviour research) “give ‘em what they want” – “they” being Simons’ four main target demographics, characterized by its private-label brands: trend-setting young women in their late teens to mid-20s (Twik); cool guys in the same age range (Djab); woman over 25, whether fashion-mad (Icone) or a tad more trad (Contemporaine); and men over 25, whether hip (Le 31 urban) or apt to be a little square (Le 31 traditional).
Thus: in the Twik and Djab departments, “Photostar booths” resembling giant iPads linking pretty young things and skater boys to Simons social-media sites (for immediate feedback from absent friends); on the Twik side, remote-control “pop-down” fitting rooms for busy periods; on the Djab side, gaming stations and port-a-potties transformed into cheeky, bright-red fitting rooms; for Icone and Contemporaine, a curated boutique environment with white glass and light oak finishes; for Le 31 urban and Le 31 traditional, a blue-on-blue, valet-inspired space, including fitting rooms in high-gloss petrol blue (with bright knit animal trophy heads providing a whimsical men’s club reference).
My favourite space? The Icone fitting rooms (equipped with iPad technology and offering ample room for stylists): glassy, glossy green, with high-gloss interior finishes and eye-popping furniture. Yowza.
The store launched in October to great fanfare. Thanks to Figure 3, Simons says “this is where it’s at.” cI