April 2, 2012
C. Wonder Store Opens Its Doors to Chic, Addictive, Eye-Candy Wares Aug. 25-26 at Lenox Square Mall
By Nancy Staab
A wildly creative and color-centric new retail concept C. Wonder, the brainchild of J. Christopher Burch (yes, that Burch) opens at Lenox Mall August 25-26 with a two-day party and massive give-aways….and we’ve got all the scoop.
A SNEAK PEEK OF C. WONDER CHIC
When C. Wonder opens its doors late Aug. 25-26 at Lenox Square Mall, Atlantans will be privy to a subtle but revolutionary new take on retail, not to mention a wonder-laden shop of affordably chic, color-saturated and curated set of wares, gifts, fashion, accessories and home décor pieces. In terms of content, think: J. Crew mixed with Kate Spade, while the décor recalls the geometric zing of David Hicks married to the flamboyant high-gloss of Dorothy Draper. This is retail Prozac for the style-set. The store’s lacquered, preppy-chic aesthetic also recalls a strain of Tory Burch’s bespoke boutiques and that’s no accident given that Christopher and Tory were once married and the couple were co-creators of the Tory Burch empire... but that’s fodder for other tabloids. Suffice it to say, venture capitalist J. Christopher Burch has very much set himself up like a modern day Willy Wonka and his “factory” of candy-colored goods is as fun and whimisical and irresistible as Wonka-land. In this case, instead of hawking everlasting gobstoppers, Burch is promoting masstige objets d’art and sunny fast-fashion. As circus leader, Burch, who's often clad in a pair of his monogrammed velvet loafers embellished with words like HE-ART or CO-OL, is only too happy to tout the unique details of his retail concept. C. Wonder is meant to astonish and delight on all levels.
For one, the average price of retail product in this store is under $40, and yet, the appeal is chic, fun, shiny, full of flair and decidedly stylish. This will no doubt lead to many impulse buys (and that’s OK too, because the store offers returns virtually anytime if you face morning- after or month-after regret). Burch and his team meticulously source the playful but high-quality inventory, including a set of nylon-zip makeup bags in pop-y shades like daffodil yellow and hot pink that are manufactured from the same Italian factory that makes those other, ahem, high-fashion nylon-zip bags. And a few surprise items will always be thrown into the inventory mix to keep shoppers on their toes, like a floral-patterned C. Wonder Vespa or adorable porcelain plates illustrated with a menangerie of zoo animals.
There’s graphic pillows and sets of china that mimic the Hermés pattern, but at a fraction of the price, so you can outfit your beach house in a breeze. There’s cute notecards that say things like “You Rock My World;” a custom charm bracelet station; monogram belts; easy jeans in every color in the Skittles rainbow; bejeweled flats and enamel bangles; foo dogs and candy-striped, nesting mixing bowls (the latter featured prominently in a recent issue of O Magazine) and even a pastel waffle press!
The fashions are all for women for now, but we wouldn’t put it past Burch to add men’s fashions at a later date.
If the New York-based store, which opened in 2011 in SoHO, is any clue, C. Wonder Atlanta will be divided into very specific and possibly changeable retail sections with distinct decors such as Palm Springs Modern, English Townhouse, Hollywood Regency (consisting of kelly green lacquer and graphic black and white); the American Dream Kitchen, featuring kitchen and housewares, or the Vail Cabin room embellished with birch tree wallpaper, calfskin throw rugs and rugged accoutrements. This recipe will probably be adjusted to Atlanta’s own vibe, but you get the drift.
The innovation does not end there. Rather than a check-out stand, roving sales personnel will check you out at any location in the store with hand-held devices. They are also likely to offer you a lemonade or some kind of refreshment like sweet tea. And when you enter your dressing room you can customize the music and lighting with one touch of the control pad. Should you need assistance in the dressing room, just push the help button, rather than put all your clothes back on and schlep back out to the store proper to find a helper for that other size you need. Were not sure what the “smart shelf” entails, but apparently when you place some of the inventory upon it, you will get additional information about the object.
With its editorial-friendly décor and objects, it’s no wonder that the glossy mags have already been touting C Wonder’s praises like InStyle, Martha Stewart Living, House Beautiful, O. Magazine, Vogue.com, Lonny magazine and People Style Watch. If we are lucky, Atlanta may be home to the first C Wonder shop outside New York and its suburbs, though D.C. might beat us to the punch.
For more info: C. Wonder, Lenox Square, 3393 Peachtree Road NE, 404.816. 3847, or www.cwonder.com The Grand Opening of C Wonder takes place Sat. Aug. 25 from 10AM to close and Sunday Aug. 26 from 11AM to 6PM.
SEE SLIDESHOW BELOW FOR A SNEAK PEAK AT C. WONDER’S NEW YORK STORES