Two years after taking her luxury e-commerce site The Line offline with The Apartment in New York, Vanessa Traina Snow opened its first West Coast location on Melrose Place in Los Angeles on Friday. The small, tree-lined street is no stranger to high-end retail, but The Apartment sets itself apart in concept and design.
The store isn't the easiest to spot—it is one of the only retail spaces on Melrose Place that is on the second floor and there is no particularly noticeable signage on the street. The subtlety outside continues as a theme throughout the space. Like its Soho store, The Apartment's LA outpost is laid out like, well, the impeccably appointed apartment of an exceptionally stylish woman of infinite means. Once you find yourself inside her perfectly curated abode, you move from her well-stocked washroom (with a tub that is about the size of a decent studio) to her enviable closet and bedroom to her spacious living room and brightly lit kitchen. Of course, everything — from her Alexandra Knight alligator Birkenstocks and Calvin Klein dresses to her Serge Lutens beauty products and her FLOS light fixtures — is available for purchase.
It is likely no accident that it feels like The Apartment's unnamed impossibly chic resident is Vanessa Traina Snow, the co-founder and executive creative director of both the store and its online home. The New York-based willowy blonde is a longtime fashion tastemaker who happens to be a longtime friend and muse to designers like Joseph Altuzarra and Alexander Wang. Sipping on a very LA smoothie and wearing a stark white Protagonist dress, Traina Snow chatted with us about her first West Coast store, curating her online and brick-and-mortar collections, and the aspirational aspects of The Line and The Apartment.
How did you pick this location?
I used to live in Los Angeles and I've seen Melrose Place grow and evolve over the years. It was almost a no-brainer to be a part of that and then to find a second floor space was kind of perfect.
I feel a bit like I'm in the trees in this space. Is that by design?
Definitely. It's important for us to maintain our intimate feel and the experience that goes along with that. We think we lose that feeling if we are on retail street level.
How do you feel this store is different from the New York store?
Naturally we responded to our surroundings. The space itself is brighter. It is the same general aesthetic and tone, but there is a lighter feeling to the furniture. It is definitely adapted to the environment.
Do you plan to have some things available only in the Melrose Place store?
We are working with some local vendors. But we didn't set out to find things specifically available just in Los Angeles.
We've also just launched online appointment booking. We want people to be able to experience the space as it is intended and kind of tailor-made to each customer. The idea is that you can go online, book an appointment to work directly with a stylist, come in whenever suits you and have items ready for you. Really, it's however [the customer] wants the experience to be.
Do you feel like The Line and The Apartment are aspirational?
In the context of the entirety of what we have, I definitely think there are some aspirational items here. But I feel there is such a varied assortment that there is really something for everyone. We've been having a lot of fun kind of tailoring things for our customers. On the online site, for example, we do "selections," which is a smaller, handpicked, personally curated selection for customers picked from larger selections. So you don't have to be in New York or LA to have an appointment with a stylist... It's a way for anyone to have access to a personal styling session.
The Apartment by The Line – Los Angeles is located at 8463 Melrose Place (on the second floor). It is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment.