I recently read about the opening of Reese Witherspoon’s new store Draper James. What intrigued me was its interior design, done by Mark Sikes, who also designed her home. However, it also bears a striking resemblance to Kate Spade and Tory Burch, as well as C. Wonder (which was based off of Tory Burch). Aside from the issue of overlapping design identities, I have to wonder if this is a case of spatial gendering which is not a new concept but which is now currently being challenged (see Target’s recent move to eliminate a boys and girls section in the toy aisles) while at the same time being promoted (this case by Bain and Company shows luxury brands creating men’s only stores).
All four labels are devoted to womenswear so these spaces will be, primarily, inhabited by women. Thus, not only could we imagine women’s bodies inform the way that the space is designed like kitchens of the past and present, but also that women may begin to claim certain aesthetic touches as their own. For example, will stripes be considered ‘feminine’? Giving gender to inanimate objects to define a space for a certain gender is a curious phenomenon, if not one which has been explored before in material culture (“Pink Think: Becoming a Woman in Many Uneasy Lessons” is a great example).