Inside Balenciaga’s sprawling new Miami Design District store

You can’t miss the new flagship of the Balenciaga Design District in Miami: surrounded by palm trees, a twee coffee cart and all the design elements of a classic open-air suburban mall, the store emerges from within of Paradise Plaza, enclosed in silver metal columns: a brutalist structure sandwiched between two galleries.

The brand, which previously had two separate locations in Miami for its men’s and women’s collections, will reopen on Nov. 15 as a full store; its largest retail space in the United States to date. Design-wise, the two-story 8,500-square-foot flagship embodies what Balenciaga calls a “Raw Architecture experiential concept.” When I visited the multilevel store in person, just days before it opened to the public, that language—vague, but also beautifully lyrical—made sense.

The interior of the store has the feel of a decidedly unfinished piece of architecture, and this is intentional, Balenciaga reps explained to me. The first level, which still bears an Art Deco tiled floor from years past, is supposed to look in a state of decay (an idea that brings to mind Balenciaga’s spring 2023 show, which took place in a huge mud pit ). Overhead, beams are exposed, evoking a film set.

Inside the first floor of Balenciaga’s new Miami Design District flagship.

Photography by Noua Unu Studio

On the silver metal shelves is Balenciaga’s current lineup: its collaboration with Adidas, including tote bags, sock heels, Hourglass bags and (why not?) designer bowling balls; a selection of Crush and Cagole bags in every color imaginable; biker boots in a shade of traffic cone orange exclusive to the Design District store; and ready-to-wear looks this season, such as sumptuous faux fur coats, Batwing-style sunglasses, oversized trench coat with broken buttons and the glove-sleeved blue stretch dress Kim Kardashian wears in Kim Kardashian’s Fall 2022 campaign Balenciaga.

The stairwell from the first floor (which houses the female offerings) to the second (male) level.

Photography by Noua Unu Studio

Photography by Noua Unu Studio

Speaking of Kim, of course, she wasn’t too far from ground level. Up a spiral staircase (which features a ceiling light installation that changes color based on the time of day), a screen showing Kardashian in blue, along with her fellow campaign stars Alexa Demie, Khadim Sock and Kim Yeon- koung, welcomes you to the second floor, which houses the houseof the men’s category. (Though, technically, it’s worth noting that everything in the Balenciaga store is strictly genderless; I ended up spending most of my time at the top level trying on jackets with huge shoulders, oversized denim sets, and the Rhino, a clown proportions.) There you will find an original work by the artist Charlotte Thrane, who has created a pile of recycled mattresses and pillows placed in the center of the room, as well as bubbles of black resin that drip onto the floor, reminiscent of piles of volcanic goo.

The second floor of the Balenciaga Design District Store in Miami.

Photography by Noua Unu Studio

To celebrate its opening, the new store will feature a personalization service for its Le Cagole bag. Customers can opt for a monogram of their choice to be printed on the bag’s removable zippered pocket. But aside from the exclusive offerings, the Design District location is clearly a big part of this brand’s identity. The design concept represents a fusion of all the signatures that make Balenciaga what it is today, i.e. a central brand for pop culture. It’s a true reflection of Demna’s vision: totally singular, ubiquitous, rooted in celebrity, and, as always, perfectly flaky.

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