Retailers and designers talk about creating an experience. These days there are a lot of nice stores; they look the part, they do the job. But how many leave you with that tingling, “What have I just seen?” experience?
Dion Lee and architectural partner Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative have delivered on this store-as-experience aspect of retail. It’s the perfect extension of the brand: smart and bemusing, but somehow still simple. But don’t be fooled. Being this minimalist requires effort and nous.
“It was crucial to develop a retail concept that was intrinsically linked to the brand DNA,” says Lee. “With the ability to evolve and be interpreted in different ways and spaces.”
On Level 2 of the just-landed-from-another-country Emporium Melbourne, Dion Lee Site 02 is all mirrors, chrome, concrete flooring, high ceilings and angles that distort and amaze. The infinity effect of a hall of mirrors adds to the other-worldly feel of the store. Lee describes it as a, “Balance of the luxurious and the unfinished [to create] an environment like a construction site.”
The racks are set high, challenging conventional clothing display. A super-thin light runs underneath each chrome beam, which can be remotely adjusted. This is not just a great party trick, it is also appropriate for the detail-driven Lee.
“I see each retail space as its own collection. Each should feel unique and have its own concept and experience,” says Lee.
Which brings us to the clothes. They shine, literally and figuratively in this space. A phenomenal leather biker jacket that is doubled layered and features leather strap lacing in the back is as amazing as it sounds. Lee’s signature body-con and twisted skirt shapes aren’t overwrought or tired. Simple shirts in beautiful white cotton are significantly detailed. The Quarter Shirt has plackets at the front, centre back and side seams and yet doesn’t feel overdone.
Detail, detail, detail is the mantra for this Australian, sports-luxe over achiever. And it is proven in every faultless, futuristic centimetre and stitch.
Dion Lee Site 02
Shop 2-034a 269–321 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
(03) 9663 3563
Sat to Wed 10am-7pm
Thurs & Fri 10am-9pm