Stefanel Image 01

Sybarite Architects Stefanel Womenswear Retail Luxury Fashion

In the 80s and early 90s, Stefanel was flying super high until Benetton had its controversial change of strategy and, subsequently, for 25 years, Stefanel was in the wilderness. Then they employed Mario Testino to shoot a new campaign.

He brought in Giselle to model, a whole new team of designers for the collection, an agency to look at Stefanel’s branding and, as part of that, he convinced Mr and Mrs Stefanel to hire us to come up with a new store concept. It was a clear brief, they had 700 stores worldwide, 40% were partners or franchisees, a lot of them were small — only 40 square metres — but some of them were huge 100 square-metre, double-height stores such as the ones in Frankfurt and Milan. We also knew they didn’t want to close the stores for long and they had to be fitted out super quick. So the design concept necessitated adaptability to a variety of sites. 

Sybarite Architects Stefanel Hamburg Germany Womenswear Retail Luxury Fashion 02
Sybarite Architects Stefanel Frankfurt Germany Womenswear Retail Luxury Fashion

We created a series of wall pieces in 21 different geometries, and we’d have right angle, concave, convex, all different angels so they could fit the space. Within these four units there were socket systems; and everything was interchangeable – mirrors, doors were in the modules, free-standing furniture, lighting was pre-fabricated, so the only bit that had to be done on-site was spraying the ceiling black and levelling the floor, and then the geometries would be delivered and would click into place. 

Designing a modular system employing natural shapes, fluid curves and subtle layers of colour and texture achieved complete flexibility without sacrificing aesthetics. The kit of components could be customised to suit shop locations of any size and for any budget and could be easily and cost-effectively installed on site in a matter of days. 

In Frankfurt we fitted it out in seven days. That was the same system for every store, we also had to come up with a different mannequin system. There were some stores that just painted the store in new floor colours and bought a couple of mannequins and the free-standing furniture, and they had the look’ for a few thousand euros. It was brilliant.

Sybarite Architects Stefanel Florence Italy Womenswear Retail Luxury Fashion
Sybarite Architects Stefanel Womenswear Retail Luxury Fashion Hanger