India Mahdavi’s chain of stores for Red Valentino channels the brand’s romantic muse
LONDON – Dominant and deliberate versus soft and fanciful: Valentino’s concrete New York flagship by David Chipperfield (Frame 102, p.96) may seem like the antithesis of India Mahdavi’s plush new concept for its so-called ‘younger sister’, Red Valentino. Both schemes, however, centre on scenography. The London Sloane Street outpost is Mahdavi’s third in the series – it follows the premiere in Rome and a La Rinascente shop-in-shop in Milan – and adheres to the designer’s theatrical approach, a by-product of her early interest in film. ‘I think each project is all about telling a story.’ At Red Valentino, that story is a reverie. ‘The Red Valentino girl was defined to us as being young, eccentric and rebellious,’ says Mahdavi. ‘But she’s also a romantic dreamer. We decided to create that dream.’
A circular floor pattern in shades of pink and brass drifts in and out through the space, while a pink velvet staircase leads to anywhere. ‘It could take her to the moon,’ says Mahdavi. ‘Or maybe not.’ Lunar-inspired circular mirrors are dotted on frames alongside playful display units. Resembling blank Rubik’s Cubes in rotation, the objects remind Miss Red Valentino that ‘she’s not far from childhood, whereas other, rougher pieces tell her to be naughty’.
Completing the sumptuous dreamlike setting are Mahdavi’s own Charlotte chairs, which will strike a familiar chord in those acquainted with London’s Sketch restaurant (Frame 100, p. 91). Although they won’t make another public appearance, apart from their use in Red Valentino stores, Mahdavi has added the chairs to her furniture collection for private purchase.
Photo courtesy of Red Valentino