THE DOSSIER: NAME: Citizens of Humanity. TRADE: Apparel. STYLE COHORTS: COH's Creative Director Noam Hanoch and Creative Consultant Rene Holguin of RTH. VIBE: Luxe bohemian. WHEREABOUTS: West Hollywood, CA.
"The clothes are not the most important thing here," Noam Hanoch tells us upon entering the Citizens of Humanity showroom. It's a surprising thing for him to say--namely because the Israeli-born fashion designer is creative director of the apparel line. But, as he explains, the space is an exercise in decor-fueled merchandising--a dream brought to life via paintbrushes in apothecary jars, cinematic imagery and exotic textiles.
A CINEMATIC INFLUENCE "It's Jane Fonda's '60s Malibu mixed with French and Moroccan accents," Hanoch says of the aesthetic, noting that COH owner Jerome Dahan embodies said heritage. "It's that 'Oh, I was just walking on the beach and found this driftwood, why don't I just throw it next to my vintage rug' look" he says, pointing out examples of both. A monumental bookshelf showcases retro photos--a candid of Brigitte Bardot in French film¬†Vie Privee, a smoldering Bettmann shot of¬†Warren Beatty--and coffee table books including¬†Patti Smith: Dream of Life and¬†Herb Ritts: LA Style.¬†"The lifestyle [we're emulating] is jetset but relaxed; it's refined hippie," Hanoch says. "It's hard to get that feeling with just a pair of jeans, but if you put the jeans in the right environment anyone can experience it." Creative consultant Rene Holguin embraced the element of fantasy in his choices; "The floors were concrete, and we liked the material but wanted to add some California color," he says. "I love shades of turquoise so we went with it. It feels a bit like you're in an empty swimming pool or walking in the sky."
THE SOCIAL EXPERIMENT Doubling as the company's publicity and marketing headquarters, as well as a concept shop, the one-year-old project is experimental in its design approach, with workspace decor that lends itself to a dinner party mentality and a floorplan that encourages conversation. There's an open kitchen with an Illy espresso and prosecco-stocked bar, and nearby, a pair of cotton linen George Smith couches¬†function as the room's lounge, complete with an array of pillows made from Turkish and Persian antique rug remnants.¬†"The whole intent was to have people come in and want to stay," Hanoch says.
KEEPING ONE-OF-A-KIND IN MIND Holguin channeled Dahan's vibe with items that meld organic elements with luxe materials; the '50s malachite snack trays trimmed with brass, discovered at Fat Chance, for example. "We love to mix ethnic with a bit of shine. That's what creates the richness--and differentiates it from a yoga studio," Hanoch says. Exposed industrial bulbs drop from the whitewashed farmhouse ceiling, and palm and fig trees green each corner. A wall-encompassing moodboard is layered with Dennis Hopper's portrait of a young Diane Baker, one of Hanoch's own sketches, and a "Nothing But Blue Skies" mantra Hanoch ripped from a magazine. "It's nice, no?" he asks. We can't help but agree.
¬†The COH concept shop is open now through¬†August 2013 at 8747 Beverly Boulevard, West Hollywood 90048. For more info, visit citizensofhumanity.com.
Photographs: Justin Coit