Architecture Meets Fashion: The World's Best Flagship Stores

The two art forms have a shared understanding of space, structure, and composition, giving them a lot of common creative ground


Fashion and architecture have experienced an unrivaled period of growth, with star architects and major fashion brands working closely to build architectural wonders around the world. But is this simply a classic commercial act or a romantic matter based on a natural affinity from both sides? Clearly, architecture is one of the most powerful tools for achieving corporate identity in the fashion world and, on the flipside, these buildings are the perfect catwalk for promoting architectural creativity at its most extreme. But while this partnership has been able to keep both parties commercially satisfied and conquering new territories, I see a more important social and cultural impact here.

This collection of buildings shows how fashion and architecture are in fact capable of enhancing each other's relevance in the world we inhabit; Architecture and fashion's shared understanding of space, structure, and composition mean the two art forms have a lot of common creative ground as a starting point for evolution.

OMA/AMO's prolific collaboration with Prada is a great example of how architecture -- having recently reached its conscious state of context-awareness and social sensitivity -- is affecting the world of fashion. The Prada New York Epicenter is an exclusive multi-functional public space defined by OMA as: "a part of OMA/AMO's ongoing research into shopping, arguably the last remaining form of public activity, and a strategy to counteract and destabilize any received notion of what Prada is, does, or will become."

Story continues after the gallery.

There was already a colourful flock of notable Prada stores even before OMA took over designing their buildings and AMO their catwalks, but the Italian fashion company went on to experiment by establishing a steady relationship with Rem Koolhaas's studio. Gary Wolf, a contributing editor of Wired, has stated: "Popular styles are ... quickly duplicated. What can fashion mean when all looks are available at all prices instantly? OMA's answer to that question involves stores that are beautiful public spaces offering local benefits -- and are largely free from labels. The Los Angeles Prada will have no name on it; New York's will incorporate cultural activities separate from the retail areas. Anybody can rip off a look, but a highly specific environment that offers something to the public without imposing a sales pitch -- in other words, a local landmark -- is a way to make a brand seem more substantial."

So what about evidence of fashion's effect on architecture? You just have to look at Omotesando Street in Tokyo, one of the foremost 'architectural showcase' streets in the world, featuring a multitude of fashion flagship stores designed by internationally renowned architects within a short distance of each other.

Modern architecture has long since departed from its beauty-bound origins in pursuit of higher conceptual grounds -- often preferring substance over style. But looking at the above examples of elegant buildings affirms a certain faith in fashion's possible contribution to architecture restoring its long-lost relationship with the classical notion of beauty.

View the complete OpenBuildings collection: Fashion Flagship Stores.

Image: Iwan Baan.

Presented by

OpenBuildings is a community-driven encyclopedia of buildings from around the world. It is a database of historic, contemporary, and conceptual architecture that exists as a website and applications for iPhone and Android.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.


Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.


The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.


Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.


Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses


Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Business

Just In