Chanel Architect Peter Marino Fetes New San Francisco Store

Coco would have been proud of Peter Marino’s architectural tribute to her Chanel empire in San Francisco’s Union Square. The new retail space debuted Thursday night (the public opening is Friday evening) during a private party with all the appropriate fanfare. Champagne flowed as San Francisco’s finest mingled and danced to the sounds of DJ Michael Smith under a tented Maiden Lane.

We’re not sure how Coco would have felt about Marino’s leather daddy attire (we loved it). But we’re certain she would approve of anyone who has paid a dozen years homage to her luxury brand in the form of gorgeous retail spaces in New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Osaka.

Marino, whose resume also includes architectural designs for Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Armani, Barney’s, and the list goes on, took a minute to chat before the next in a line of adoring fans begged for his attention. Regarding the SF space:

“The store is extremely narrow — in fact it’s the narrowest Chanel space I’ve ever designed in 12 years. So I created an ultra tall ceiling and staircase to make people forget about the narrowness. And it works! Everyone is looking up, and that makes me very happy.”

Marino referenced vintage Chanel aesthetics to inform the new space. The fabric covering the first floor stools and stairway carpeting is a nod to the label’s famous tweed. The costume jewelry display on the Maiden Lane side of the shop (it also has an entrance on Geary) was inspired by the Coromandel screens at Coco’s rue Cambon Paris apartment.

Marino, a New York City native also gave (well-deserved, we think) props to San Francisco, which sometimes gets ugly step sister treatment in the fashion world:

“San Francisco is very fashion-aware. The people are extremely educated in fashion; they know just as much as anyone in New York City or Paris.”

Luxury retailers clearly agree. Chanel’s Union Square neighbors include Gucci, Dior, Paul Smith, Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari, which is currently undergoing a remodel. We look forward to reporting back about that opening!

San Francisco Chanel Opening Party

Partiers grab their Chanel gift bags as they exit Maiden Lane. Photo by Jon Snyder. Stay tuned for more!