Kick Up Your Heels
Edie Cohen -- Interior Design, 4/1/2006 12:00:00 AM
no stranger to high fashion around the globe, David Ling Interior Design has designed Alberta Ferretti boutiques in London, Rome, and Paris as well as a multi-brand shop for Jean Paul Gaultier, Moschino, and Narciso Rodriguez in Florence, Italy. So why would David Ling want to work in Las Vegas? That was the question that hotelier Steve Wynn posed when interviewing Ling for Shoe In, a high-end boutique on the casino-level promenade of the luxury mega-resort Wynn Las Vegas.
"Because I think Las Vegas is an American cultural phenomenon," Ling responded. And was hired on the spot. That settled, the conversation shifted to culture on a higher plane, specifically Wynn's collection of old masters and modern paintings and how to frame his prized Le Rêve, the Pablo Picasso portrait after which Wynn had originally planned to name the entire resort project.
From there, Ling took the idea of art and frames—and ran with it. "I treated the store as a gallery and the shoes as art," he says of the 3,400-square-foot space. "The resulting whimsy is Sir John Soane meets Le Corbusier at Ronchamps."
Ling used traditional gilt or silver-leafed picture frames to set off display niches in varying sizes. In lieu of artwork, each niche holds this season's shoe gets, lined up on tempered-glass shelves and lit by halogen spotlights and xenon strips. The surrounding walls are covered in a textured, shimmering platinum. Underfoot is an expanse of ecru wool cut-pile carpet, inlaid with champagne-colored Chinese silk "rugs" in a guitar-pick pattern pulled from Le Rêve.
Neon lamps and halogen spots, all recessed in the ceiling, pump up the gallery allure. (In Vegas, there's no such thing as daylight. Anywhere.) And call the boutique's centerpiece Richard Serra Lite: a pair of long, slim, waist-high platforms with gently curving sides of acid-etched tempered glass, internally lit with white neons. On the structures' tops, Shoe In lines up sandals from Christian Louboutin and Alexandra Neel this season, boots from Giuseppe Zanotti come fall.
"The cases take up the radial geometry of the promenade," Ling says. His subtleties and wit may escape Vegas revelers, but there's no missing the cunning Shoe In signage. Standing in for a canopy are supersize Kate Spade–style black high-heeled sling-backs that Ling fashioned out of glass-reinforced polyester—right down to the scuffed soles of well worn favorites.