In Kenneth Cole's Las Vegas store, even the walls are wearing the latest fashions. LD Ira Levy can be credited with this design, which uses cutting-edge technology to adorn the walls of the shoe czar's showroom. Textured light patterns, catchy phrases, and mammoth shoe prints keep the decor in stride with the rest of the entertainment-oriented city. Periodic light shows, complete with a jazzy audio track, entice window shoppers and enrapture Cole's fashion-elite customers.
Kenneth Cole, a New York-based company, needed something special to attract regional consumers who were not familiar with the brand name. Levy was hired to revamp the shoe store's standard appearance. "They decided that they wanted to give that whole Vegas experience to the store: People would be shopping and all of a sudden the lights would just start going wild."
While the shoe industry relies on leathers and fabrics galore, the tools of Levy's trade are relatively minimal: three Martin MAC 500s and two MAC 600s decorate the entire store with the aid of prisms which multiply the projected images. A blank 40'x15' (12x4.5m) wall serves as Levy's canvas; using MAC 500s with specially designed gobos, images and phrases are projected every 20 minutes in a light show which includes a custom-made soundtrack by Greg Sciullo. Both the light designs and the music include quotes from Cole's corporate identity, such as "Watch your step" and "The shoe must go on" (pictured).
Levy had only five weeks to design and implement his project, which appeared in the store in time for New Year's shopping. The entire display is DMX-controlled, with a timer that turns it on and off. The MIDI interface and custom software, designed by Christian Choi, allow the system to be accessed and changed over the internet.
The design will change with new shoe lines. Says Levy, "The seasons will be about portraying vibes. The colors and imagery will change. The fall line will have darker, earthy tones to create a really noticeable feel in the room. Right now, during summer wedding season, there's a bridal theme--with pink roses and appropriate quotes, like 'We've been standing up brides for years.'"
Not only is the lighting eye-catching, but "the fixtures themselves look like little robots, and people can actually see them and watch them move--a lot of people look at the lights themselves rather than what we're projecting."
The retail lighting industry has come a long way from the days when companies were just projecting their logos on the floors. "Some people have taken it to the next level--it's not just lights on the ceiling anymore," explains Levy, who has launched a website, at www.levylighting.com. "I see it all the time--I think it's really what's happening now. Color and projection are becoming just another part of retail lighting."