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After all, he’s a man whose tastes run toward black, minimalist interiors, bold infusions of sex, and a design aesthetic that toes the line between hard and soft. So it’s not surprising that his new Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche store is no exception.
Situated at 3 East 57th Street, next door to the mammoth LVMH building, the 11,400-square-foot space, which opened Monday, is a study in contrasts and reveals a sleek, polished interior with rustic, hand-carved accents.
“There’s a rough, handmade quality to the floors and the chiseled wood pieces,” said Ford in a telephone interview from London, where he was putting the finishing touches on his cruise collections for both YSL and Gucci. “The Saint Laurent clothes are so refined, yet there is always a handmade quality to the finishing….I always try to incorporate lots of details in the clothing so that there’s a certain complexity to it.
“I wanted the same sort of modernity, but with a handmade feel to some of the pieces in the shop. I also like that some of the polish of the clothes is offset with sort of rough, almost brutal furniture pieces and concrete floors.”
Of course, brutality in Ford’s world has a certain chicness not usually associated with its typical definitions. But a play on hardness emerges by his juxtaposition of a modern environ of sleek lines, smoky mirrors, white lacquer walls, charcoal accents and Art Deco references with rougher elements such as hand-hewn wood wardrobes, slate-colored concrete floors and ponyskin daybeds in white and black.
“I looked through the archives, pictures of Yves’ apartment and thought about my favorite collections at Saint Laurent and the ones that really stuck out, really defined the brand for me,” said Ford. “Throughout his career Yves came back so many times to the Thirties and Forties, which was of course the period he grew up in. For me, that period was the Sixties and Seventies, which was the period I drew upon when I was designing the Gucci stores. But YSL’s period influences of the Thirties and Forties were much more about verticality and skyscrapers and the future.