Ron Sylvester / Las Vegas Sun
Saturday, Dec. 22, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Las Vegas offers a shopping experience like few other places, and that's by design.
Retailers wanting to open swanky shops in retail corridors such as Crystals at CityCenter are required to design their stores to compete with the most fashionable shops in the world. It's not just the merchandise that attracts shoppers; it's often the look of the display racks. From LED lights to unique designs, many Las Vegas stores resemble art galleries in the way their wares are displayed.
"One thing we do when we negotiate our leases is we say we want the tenants to show off their best designs," said Farid Matraki, vice president and general manager of Crystals. "We don't want to be a shopping center with satellite stores. We want flagship stores that attract high-end customers. All of the stores are using the newest concepts and technologies in their designs and branding."
Here are a few of the most eye-catching racks to see on shopping trips to the Strip this holiday season:
Cavalli's flashy fashions have adorned Christina Aguilera and Charlize Theron on the red carpet, and you get a sense of Hollywood glamour just walking into the store on the first floor of CityCenter. Cavalli has told his staff that the Las Vegas store — his sixth U.S. boutique — is his favorite. The lights framing the shelves form gateways to a runway lined with mannequins, with clothing tucked back in alcoves on each side of the runway.
The Superdry store on the ground floor of Fashion Show Mall plays off opposites, pairing its name with clothes hanging from plumbing fixtures. Oak barn siding, reclaimed from a structure in Pennsylvania, exposed bricks, jam jars covering the lights and railroad ties add to the industrial feel, showing off British versions of vintage American fashions. Despite its presence in dozens of countries, Superdry comes by its rustic look honestly. Its owner, Julian Dunkerton, started at a market stall in Cheltenham, an English city of 100,000.
Vertu looks like jewelry displays at the Esplanades inside the Wynn Las Vegas, but it's not. It's actually an ultra exclusive cellphone store. When you’re looking for an $83,000 phone, this is the place. Some of them have diamond-encrusted cases and sapphire-sculpted keyboards and come with ringtones from the London Symphony. Prices start around $5,000.
Little nooks carved into the walls hold the French shoe designer's latest fashions in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Of course, there are bags to match, and they get special treatment in framed shadow boxes.
Rustic, distressed wooden pillars make Chapel Hats' colorful headwear stand out in the Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian. The shelves are made of thick logs, a contrast to the polished wood and shine of most Strip stores.
Racks shaped like lightning bolts and bright neon with movie-style lighting provide energy at Top Shop at the Fashion Show Mall. After picking something from the rack, shoppers can try it on and take a photo of themselves to share on Facebook in a modern how-do-I-look moment.
Racks look like flowing sculptures of modern art in Stella McCartney's third signature store in the U.S. The shop at CityCenter also includes a crystal sculpture inspired by the horse belonging to McCartney's mother, Linda. It's made of Swarovski crystals suspended from the 14-foot ceiling.
Da Vinci Fine Jewelry
Most jewelry stores have plain black and glass showcases. After all, it's the gold and diamonds that are supposed to sparkle. But at Da Vinci at the Grand Canal Shoppes in the Venetian, the jewels get their due in molded metal framing that gives a hint of an Old World feel to a store named after the ultimate Renaissance man.
La Scarpa at Bellagio
A swirling shoe display is built into the walls at La Scarpa, underneath a leather-padded ceiling. The store is quietly tucked away near the pool, on the way to the Bellagio's Gallery of Fine Art and convention center. Round pods are built into the shelves to try on shoes, displayed on the curving shelves.
Real wood, and lots of it, highlights clothing displays at Napoleon, which has been keeping men fashionable for 11 years at the Miracle Mile Shops. The shelves look like a classic den, helping create an old Vegas, Rat Pack feel. The company has the history to match, dressing up men for 26 years along the East Coast before Las Vegas became its first West Coast location.