The ambiance of Rome comes to Waikiki

Renovation of the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center could not have come at a better time for Fendi, where a make-over of its Waikiki boutique was unveiled earlier this year.

“It was perfect timing,” said Patrick Gey, general manager for Fendi. “A new concept had just come out a little more than a year ago, first in Rome, then New York, and nationwide, the stores are remodeling on this concept.”

That is, to bring the ambience of Rome to Fendi locations internationally.

The boutique’s mod Baroque concept was conceived by architect Peter Marino, who mixed antique sepia tones and rough materials with a modern aesthetic to emphasize Fendi’s essence of luxury, sensuality and innovation in the design of furs and leather goods.

Outside, the boutique is framed in rust-colored aluminum, a color reminiscent of Rome, where the house was founded in 1918. Inside, white ribbed stucco walls curve and flow, guiding shoppers throughout. In contrast, black San Pietrini stone floors present a sleek, dark gray surface evoking Rome’s cobblestone streets after a rain shower.

Sinuous movement suggested by the walls’ design are echoed in countertop displays of Roman Travertine stone cut into curvy slabs, emphasizing the sensuous nature of the Fendi brand.

On a back wall, Fendi’s cinematic glamour, past and present, is expressed in projected images and film clips of Hollywood starlets wearing Fendi.

Throughout, earthy and contrasting colors were selected to accommodate the seasons’ parade of handbags, shoes and accessories. They work as well with Fendi’s signature chocolate-colored logo jacquard, as with fall’s new gleaming metallics. Spring and Summer 2007 silvers and golds have given way to purses and foot-wear accented with vibrant iPod-inspired colors of electric blue, magenta, orange and red details with the appearance of polished aluminum.

The store’s environment inspired change in the products as well, with handbags, wallets and shoes now made from materials simulating the look of polished stone.

As Waikiki continues to be reinvented around the boutique’s fresh facade, Gey said, “I think it’s fantastic. Everything looks new and clean and beautiful. People love to walk down the street, and I think local people are enjoying rediscovering Waikiki.

“People are very attached to the environment, whether they are aware of it or not. It’s instinctive.”

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