Thirty-six years after Ron Robinson opened his eponymous enclave of shops inside the iconic Fred Segal building on Los Angeles' Melrose Avenue, the veteran retailer has expanded his store’s square footage and offerings to include three new clothing and lifestyle categories.
The 2,000-square-foot expansion includes women’s active wear, pre-teen clothing and kids’ footwear, which join his beauty boutique, Apothia fragrance, infant clothing section and StylObjects, a recently remodeled area of the store dedicated to home decor and gifts.
“We have a very curated group of brands that have been added to each section,” says Robinson, who designed and led the remodel and expansion. “They are smaller, directional and very Southern California labels.” VPL, R&R Surplus and a British brand of technical workout clothing called Lucas Hugh are a few of the lines being carried in the active wear section. Robinson is one of just two U.S. retailers to carry Lucas Hugh.
The children’s department brands read like those of a high-end department store, with kid-sized Zadig & Voltaire, Stella McCartney and Chloe stocked throughout. Robinson’s store is no stranger to celebrity shoppers, and he says that in the few weeks since the expansion, the new kids’ section has already attracted Lady Gaga, who has been in for posh baby gifts.
Robinson commissioned Christian Lacroix Papier to create a mural for the ceiling of the kids’ department. The high-end house painted a mural called “Butterfly Parade,” which features 3- to 9-inch butterflies and a dreamy expanse of blue, green and white palm leaves.
“The most important thing about this is creating the atmosphere and environment,” Robinson says. “You should feel comfortable, like a part of the room.”
He rolled out the rest of the decor in earthy neutral tones, framed by white concrete, mosaic wood and backlit glass as an accent that “pops.”
“I designed everything,” Robinsons adds. “Customers should feel like they want to stay or maybe even want to live here.”
As one of the city’s long-standing and influential contemporary fashion and beauty retailers, Robinson has witnessed the ebb and flow of the local retail scene, felt the effects of the recent recession and now says that the economy seems to be back, with a significant uptick in shopping at his stores.
“We’ve felt for the last two years that the economy is coming back,” says Robinson. “Our customer in town is shopping; we’re getting back our travelers. There is so much good energy in the L.A. brand right now.”
He cites L.A.’s vibrant food and art scenes as also having played a role in the renewed retail landscape of the city.
“With the art galleries in Culver City, the ‘Silicon Beach’ influence and the incredibly influential food scene, L.A is important, and all of it is very exciting,” he says.
Ron Robinson at Fred Segal
Where: 8118 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles.
When: Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday
Information: (323) 651-1935, www.ronrobinson.com