After stopping by my absolute fabulous dentist in South Orange County, the next stop was a quick tour of The Shops of Mission Viejo (located in beautiful sunny California, which if you'd check out that sky is just another January day in the mid-eighties).
Time to park the car and head inside....Here is what the interior design and space looks like, and I have to add that this is a mixed-income area, but mostly those shopping on a Thursday afternoon were wealthy ladies that lunch or happy OC moms with beautiful children. On the whole, not so many people at the mall. Orange County is in the midst of a serious economic recession. My hygentist at the dentist office was the first to tell me how scary this year was fiscally, but how tragic is it have seen so many of their friends and patients loose homes, careers, cars, health insurance the whole she-bang.. I'm getting away from the point of this post, which is design in South Orange County. I will mention that there were beautiful spanking new ferrari's at the valet-so someone in OC is still doing quite well...Let's look at Mall architecture.
Spacious, light-filled, and clean. I love the stone tile choice for floors. However, this mall is nothing too unique and has all the token stores that you expect to find in a Cali mall, like Z Gallerie and Restoration Hardware.
I love the black canopies and black window casings. The black is truly the architectural detail that creates a simple and beautiful entrance to the store. The architectural firm that has worked with Z Gallerie, almost from the beginning, is Herschman Architects. They have blended urban elements with retail design and created a very successful corporate brand. I love this residential interior by Herschman that has a similar urban industrial feel.
On a side note, I recall when I worked from them as a teenager at their flagship Santa Monica store and the owners would return fresh from European shopping trips with tons of new stuff to sell. That was a job I enjoyed working for the time I was there, and I've always loved their taste in products.
At Restoration Hardware, the windows are traditional, which reflect the company's aesthetic values. One of my favorite dining room interiors is from an old HouseBeautiful, which has RH lanterns.
Back to the The Shops at Mission Viejo, so there is a Nordstrom's there, with a super squeaky small home section. The bedding was surprisingly neutral, and almost bland.
The shelves behind the bed were stocked full of insanely expensive objects, like a $100 salt shaker made of brass and crafted to look like a dusty rose. The trouble is that not many people would seek out a $200 salt & pepper shaker, but it was pretty to look at. There were similar objects, some of which I had seen at the discount shopping places like Home Goods and Home Sense. As far as it goes, I buy discount when I can. What girls doesn't want to stretch her dollar?
What I really loved at Nordstrom was one of their typical displays of featured clothing and recycled looking surfaces. The chandelier was fantastic and the mosaic table top just lovely.
Here is a close up on that chandelier...could I make that..?
The Pucci-inspired mannequins are so lovely at Nordie's. Although, I have to say it is disappointing to get to South Orange County and be stuck shopping Nordstrom's and the other big box store, Macy's. Even Macy's wasn't faring that well. The racks were really light and sparse, not much merch, and the aisles empty of people. I have always loved the collage and stacked look of framed photos.
I was also amused that Macy's has taken the star and branded it so heavily throughout the store. It kind of feels like being brain-washed, but hey that's life. I kind of believe that the use of the star was department store attempt to follow in the footsteps of that other famous red-dot retailer, Target.
Did you notice the stars? I think I need to escape the mall...which escalator do I need?
Okay! I made it! Time to eat! That Asian horse could mean only one thing...
P.F.Chang's is around the corner...too bad it's like three hours before Happy Hour, they have the best Mai Tai's in town!
Cheers to my Mother who has always inspired my ideas in art, beauty, design, and, of course, good food!
I'll be keeping Modern Girl Style updated on more Orange County resources and trends in the days ahead.