Vanessa Traina Snow, designer muse and stylish daughter of novelist Danielle Steel, has brought her home-as-store concept Apartment by the Line to Los Angeles, two years after opening in New York City's Soho.
Now open on Melrose Place, the second-floor store takes the retail trend of curation to a new level. Airy and light-filled, it's set up like a residential space except that absolutely everything is for sale, from the $50,500 Helmut Newton photograph hanging on the wall, to the $895 pair of exclusive alligator Alexandra Knight Birkenstocks in the walk-in closet, to the $8 Morihata charcoal toothbrush on the sink in the bathroom.
The concept stores are the brick-and-mortar incarnation of Snow's e-commerce site, the Line.
"We're following our customers based on purchase histories from the site," she says on a recent tour of the L.A. Apartment, pausing in front of the free-standing, round Lacava soaking tub in front of the window in the corner, with a hand-blown glass Lasvit chandelier hanging overhead. "Because who doesn't need a chandelier in their bathroom?" she laughs.
In the bedroom, a modern-looking, marine plywood and maple bed by L.A. furniture maker Doug McCollough, brother of Proenza Schouler designer Jack McCollough, is made up with blankets and ready for a nap. Again, everything is for sale, down to the gently loved paperbacks on the bedside table.
Has Snow ever had anyone come in and buy an entire room? "No, but that would be the dream," she says. "We do have a lot of people come in and ask if they can live here."
The walk-in closet is lit with a trio of fringed Hans Agne Jakobsson pendant lights ($12,000). "They are for sale, but I would cry if someone bought them," Snow says. On the racks are ultra-luxe basics that reflect Snow's minimalist style, including hand-knit sweaters by Protagonist, origami-folded skirts by J.W. Anderson, wide-leg pants by Lemaire, fluid suede dresses by Calvin Klein and loafer-mules by Robert Clergerie. Beauty items include fragrances by Regime des Fleurs, bath oil by Tulum-based spa Coqui Coqui, skin products by Sunday Riley and more.
"I always had a hard time when trying to shop online with whittling it down," says Snow, dressed in a vintage rose-hued slip, a Prada navy short-sleeve sweater and Hermes slides. "Our goal is to do the pre-edit, to act as stylists for our customers, and pick items with versatility and a timeless quality that you know you are investing in. It's not about the trendiest items of the season or picking up every designer left and right. It's very considered. These are the building blocks for your wardrobe and home."
The store launched on Oct. 15 with a celebration hosted by Snow and Calvin Klein creative director Francisco Costa. Guests included fashion designers Joseph Altuzarra, Jasmin Shokrian, Greg Chait and Gabriela Artigas, Haim band mates Alana, Este and Danielle Haim, stylists Rachel Zoe and Jessica de Ruiter.
The L.A. opening also marked the debut of Tenfold, the Line's new collection of soft and hard home goods designed by an in-house team, including bath towels that have "charcoal in the weave, which has cleansing properties," Snow explains. Tenfold also offers linen sheets, linen pillow covers, down comforter inserts, cashmere blankets, hand-spattered ceramic vessels, metal trays, circular marble canisters, chestnut milk hand soap and more. Prices range from $28 to $1,178.
"The way you decorate your home speaks to your personality just as much as your wardrobe does," says Snow, maneuvering past a $12,025 Fritz Hansen armchair to point out a $50 George Jensen tea strainer that is as much decorative objet as kitchen tool. "It was important for us to tell the whole lifestyle story."
The Apartment is open regular hours as well as by appointment, for a more private shopping experience. Snow also plans on using the space to host events and shoots.
Alfred Coffee, the popular spot down the street on Melrose Place, has plans to open a tea shop underneath the Apartment, Snow says, which she hopes will be even more of an incentive for people to come and stay awhile.
"There's so much here to discover," she says. "It's just fun to play around."
Apartment by the Line, 8463 Melrose Place, on the second floor, Los Angeles, (323) 746-5056. Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and by appointment.