L’OCCITANE, the prestige beauty company with high-quality skin care, body care, and fragrance, redefines the shopping experience with the opening of its new Flagship store in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. The revolutionary store presents a new shopping model designed for today’s consumer, addressing their varying needs for information and immediacy, all the while channeling the rich heritage, natural beauty, and art de vivre of Provence.
“We are thrilled to open the first store of the future at L’OCCITANE Flatiron, one of our flagship stores worldwide and a premier shopping destination in Manhattan,” said Paul Blackburn Associate Vice President Design & Construction, North America. “From entry to exit, the multisensory boutique works collectively to create both an immersive and individualized shopping experience, offering clients an unparalleled assortment of product and service.”
L’OCCITANE commissioned the young, cutting-edge brand creative agency, School House, as lead designers who created a modern interpretation of abstracted design, art, digital and cultural and environmental innovations – forcing a re-invention of brick and mortar retail and elevating Provence from a location to an experience.
In partnership with School House, the new L’OCCITANE Flatiron is a celebration of time, inspired by the Provençal culture, with multiple layers for an immersive, yet individualized shopping experience. It begins with the exterior façade where bright golden L’OCCITANE shutters—a brilliant contrast to the neighborhood’s cityscape—open wide to invite everyone in. Upon entering, each guest is part of a modern day Provençal open air market with a community board expressing the boutique’s in-store services, and a selection of the brands bestselling and top trending products. Venturing into the store, guests experience a more sensorial journey where they can discover and enjoy L’OCCITANE’s extraordinary collection of products and fragrance. All experiences take place under a 400 sq. ft. trellis, a beautiful, architectural framework that expanses the boutique, running down the middle of the ceiling, with seasonal changes to feature new ingredient stories.
Inspired by today’s shift in ultra-beauty customization and with a focus on skincare innovations, the store features the first L’OCCITANE Smart Beauty Fitting Room, where clients can explore, discover and personalize their shopping experience on a digital platform which allows the customer to browse products in a private, digital format that many are more comfortable in, while complimenting with a physical, and sensorial product sampling experience. To continue to honor the brand’s tradition of hospitality, L’OCCITANE Flatiron will also feature person-to-person concierge offering amenities and services from sparkling water to fragrance engraving and custom gift creation.
According to Christopher Skinner, founder of School House, “Beauty is a category that comes with a litany of challenges from an activation, creative and retail experience. Our multi-disciplined approach allowed us to design an experience, one that touches on architectural and fixture design, but is rounded out with digital, cultural and merchandising evolutions for the brand. We aimed to challenge the existing retail structure and antiquated working style for the next generation of consumers. Representing the heart of the brick-and-mortar retail transaction, the staff and its culture are vital to transmitting this neo-Provençal aura and to establish the community aspect of the store. Staff training pivots on the ‘Art of Living’ where little distinction is made between work and play. The attitude and hospitality they project creates an air in the store that brings Provence into a most human dimension—an aspect impossible to replicate in e-commerce.