Night at the Museum: Inside Bode’s Epic New LA Store
Designed by Green River Project, the interiors company co-founded by Bode’s husband and collaborator Aaron Aujla, Bode LA doesn’t look like a store at all, aside from the dozens of lace shirts, embroidered jackets and sweaters in cashmere hung on the shelves. . “We wanted you to feel like you’re entering a museum,” says Aujla. A natural history museum, to be exact. The large 3,000 square foot space is lined with custom walnut bookshelves punctuated with dioramas as you might remember from a school trip back in the days when: a pair of blue suede loafers float in the interior of an underwater habitat surrounded by latex coated kelp and an alpine scene sits above a clash of green checkered sweats. Several million-year-old mastodon ribs – removed from a real natural history museum and salvaged by Aujla at an auction – are displayed above shelves labeled with genus names, near of a convincing plaster cast of a dodo bird skeleton.
At an opening cocktail party on Thursday, many guests entered via Melrose Ave with wide eyes and dropping jaws. Aujla’s concept is one of the most surprising and fun shopping experiences in town, and at the party, Jeff Goldblum, Omar Apollo, Alex Olson and even Bobby Flay couldn’t resist browse the shelves. (Doesn’t an evening at the museum sound better than an evening simply purchases?) In the age of e-commerce, successful stores must offer an experience that is interesting enough to allow you to get rid of your computer. A few blocks from Bode’s flagship in downtown New York City, you’ll find a store that looks like an elevated confectionery (Susan Alexandra), and another that looks more like a quirky fashion dry cleaning operation ( Café Forgot, where DIY clothing whizzes by on a customer-operated track). But Bode’s boutiques have a different, almost majestic energy, reminiscent of the famous meticulous construction of the world of Ralph Lauren. Bode and Aujla simply take it to a new level of expense and specificity.