Craig Kellogg | April 27, 2013
Asked to pose for a New York Times Magazine photo shoot in 1989, David Mann donned a fabulous silk-embroidered blazer. "I think I had hair back then," he jokes. He also befriended the shoot's fashion stylist, who recently recommended Mann's firm, MR Architecture + Décor, to Alber Elbaz, the art director at the French fashion house Lanvin. Impressed, Elbaz commissioned Mann with Lanvin's first U.S. stand-alone men's store.
The shop occupies 3,400 square feet on three levels of a town house. "At 18 feet wide, the building was very narrow for retail," MR senior designer Robin Corsino explains. Judicious demolition added visual spaciousness in the form of a double-height entry, where the staircase starts. The first flight, only four steps, terminates at a generous landing right behind the storefront, allowing displays to be staged there.
Concrete flooring, smooth at ground level, gives way on the landing to pavers mimicking parquet, a Lanvin signature. Flooring on the second level, where the clothes are more formal, is real oak parquet imported from Belgium. Pride of place here goes to a couple of 1920's chairs by Jeanne Lanvin's great collaborator, Armand-Albert Rateau. (Each flagship store gets a pair of them from the company's collection.)
On the top level, apartments before being annexed by Lanvin, a plush VIP lounge has taken over what was once a glam living space. "With a disco ball and a picture of Judy Garland. Or maybe I'm making that up," Mann quips. His redesign preserves the original neoclassical mantelpiece—now accessorized with Arik Levy's black-laquered faceted cocktail tables—set before a pearl-grey velvet-upholstered banquette. Très chic, monsieur.