Replay the Stage . New York
In 2013, Replay partnered with Roman and Williams to explore an expanded Retail experience, starting with a flagship location expressive of an overall effort to re-establish the brand’s position as the top tier in Italian Denim and Global Fashion. As a result of immersive sessions in the brand’s history and values, and factory visits to study the process involved in both denim design and heavy processing signature to Replay’s products, Roman and Williams conceptualized the vision for The Stage for Replay Milan. Inspired by denim’s connection to rebels of all kinds, from Hollywood to Homestead, The Stage is the first time since starting their firm that Robin Standefer and Stephen Alesch have seized directly on their own deep experience in set design and art direction in the film industry. Roman and Williams has developed the concept of the working Soundstage as store, showcasing both the Sets themselves and the spaces, equipment and back-of-house departments that together embody the filmmaking process itself.
At a grand, two-story space just steps away from fashion’s Corso Como, Guests will enter onto a rough-polished concrete floor, from which they will see a grid of film lights hanging from the blackened out ceiling above. The backs of ‘flats’ all around contain various stage sets within: a humble Midwestern house with vintage wallpaper about to be enveloped in a tornado, an abandoned American barn, at once sun-cracked and aged in the desert but mysteriously full of jeans, a proper 1928 Manhattan Tailor shop somehow transported to Milan. Each set allows for an element of surprise – the tornado is actually a swirling kaleidoscope of brass butterflies; the barn includes framed window views out across a dessert landscape to a scenic sunset that is actually an elaborately painted backdrop. On the reverse, the Tailor Shop in not merely a set but a working shop, where Guests can be measured and have a custom pair of jeans constructed. Artfully composed and well-lit sets highlight feature moments of the retail collection while the wide variety of product will cross the line between front-of-house and back-of-house stage spaces, invading the dense racks and shelving of the wardrobe department and the darker areas between the painted backdrops, featured at the front as well as the back of the construction of flats. The textural quality and toughness of these sets in a modern retail environment reflects the durability of the cotton weave, able to take the rich indigo dyes and destructive processing at the core of Replay’s collection.
At the center of the space, Guests ascend a large, open, industrial steel staircase, and from the landing they will see the dense layers of equipment and elements that make up a true Hollywood stage – from catwalks and bands of cables to a camera on a boom rig and robust lights and ladders – taking in the multiple worlds of an epic American story, an expansive narrative where even the propeller of the Titanic appears to fly overhead! At the top of the stairs, another perimeter of the backs of flats gives way to a glamorous and classically modern Restaurant, at once absorptive and reflective, the curved African Mahogany ceiling conveying a sense of being inside the belly of a boat, newly constructed and cleanly varnished. Here the warm tones and glowing lighting pair with the menu of fresh fish crudo and light bright vegetables in a celebration of the glamorous and the lively, so well expressed in the Milan lifestyle. On the opposite side of this floor, across a steel bridge or through porthole windows, Guests can catch a glimpse of the Bar, kitted out with curved seating in creamy leathers and refined stitching, unlacquered brass and clear glass shelving and wood surroundings as rich, elegant and comfortable as a Riva cruising the coastal Riviera.
Following Replay’s goals as a brand, Roman and Williams has created a signature retail location where Guests will be immersed in the Product, the Process and the Brand-as-Lifestyle, a multi-level experience that is meant to be transportive, fun, and convey a sense of access to movie magic and the creative process. Replay Milan will expand both the definition and popular conception of the retail experience for years to come.