When you enter Juicy Couture’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue, you’ll see the fragrance department straight ahead, at a counter emblazoned with the phrase “Smells Like Couture.” (Somewhere, Kurt Cobain is wincing.) The brand’s full line of fragrances and other beauty items is available, including two perfumes for women and matching body products — shower gels, lotions, dusting powder, and more — all ornamented with the brand’s logos and assorted pink baubles. Around the corner, several shelves display “Juicy Crittoure” fragranced products (“pawfum,” shampoo, and foot balm) for dogs.
Every element of Juicy Couture’s overall store design feels appropriated from somewhere else. (Even the stuffed peacock trailing his plumes above the perfume counter may have been inspired by the now-iconic decor of Aedes de Venustas.) The resulting pastiche is the visual equivalent of those Verve remixes that layer a present-day club beat over a classic jazz vocal.
In particular, Juicy Couture’s designers have gathered numerous motifs traditionally associated with the British aristocracy (hunting gear, cameo jewelry, portraits of royalty), and tarted them up with superimposed captions and hyper-saturated color. You might think this strategy lost its freshness when the Sex Pistols first slapped the word “Anarchy” over a shredded Union Jack; then again, many of Juicy’s shoppers may be too young to realize that this style isn’t new.
The store’s resulting atmosphere communicates “rock ‘n’ shopping mall”: one wall is plastered with stickers of David Bowie and the Velvet Underground, and another is artfully scrawled with the lyrics of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black,” but the merchandise includes Juicy Couture Barbies (fully accessorized) and Juicy Couture sweets licensed from Dylan’s Candy Bar. The wall above one ascending flight of stairs bears the elegant inscription “Up Yours.” If you’re amused by that sort of humor, you might also enjoy Juicy’s fruity-sweet floral fragrances.
Best seller: Viva La Juicy
Not to be missed: The canine coffret of a Scottie-shaped brass atomizer with Eau de Parfum refills, for the dog who has everything.
Details: 650 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10019, 212-796-3360, website.
— report & images filed by Jessica M.
See also: Perfume Shopping in New York City.