If you don’t know Cult Gaia by name, you know it by virtue of Instagram. The LA-based fashion and accessories brand has a cult following, most recently making virtual waves this summer thanks in part to its popular ‘Ark’ bag.
Now, fans of the brand can experience it in a whole new way: via an experiential pop-up shop located in the iconic shopping destination of Melrose Place. Open now through December 31, the shop truly embodies the resort feel that’s come to be known as Cult Gaia’s signature aesthetic. It showcases the Resort 2018 line, an 88-piece collection featuring brightly-printed dresses and collapsible bamboo handbags.
In other words, everything that will inspire you to book a ticket to someplace tropical and get out of the winter cold ASAP, fashionable bag in tow.
And of course, the store’s interior is every bit as meticulously crafted as the stunning designs themselves.
“I wanted the space to look clean and for the fixtures to mimic elements that are evocative of what we use in our bags—for example, the maple, jade onyx, and travertine pedestals,” says Jasmin Larian, Cult Gaia’s founder and designer.
In fact, the architectural bags essentially function as decorative accents in their own right. They line every wall and every available flat surface, almost like mini sculptures.
According to Larian, the focus on the bags was completely intentional.
“There is so much information in our clothing and bags that I wanted the space to feel like an inviting backdrop for the pieces,” she explains. “The storefront is a nod to how our brand began and took off, which is with Instagrammable moments. The salmon pink is the color of our boxes and the green cacti are a nod to the desert and Los Angeles, where the brand was born. I wanted our girl to feel transported on holiday.”
Sticking to a largely neutral color palette with pops of the aforementioned pink and green, Larian designed the store to feel like a one stop shop for all vacation essentials. She even partnered with book publisher Assouline to incorporate wanderlust-inducing reads on fashion, art, design, and travel throughout the store.
And while this is the most recent way customers can shop the usually online-only brand, this isn’t Larian’s first pop-up rodeo. After launching Cult Gaia in 2012, she held a pop-up at Platform in Culver City. While she kept some similarities between the original storefront and this newest iteration—the beachy chairs are the same—Larian notes that she wanted the space to represent how much the brand has grown in the past three years.
“I was very cognizant of walking the line between being classic, clean, and approachable. Our brand has grown up so much since 2014 and I wanted to make sure that the space reflected that,” she says.
Want to check out the space for yourself and pick out pieces that bring a cheery resort vibe to your everyday (to distract from the fact that summer is a solid six months away)? Head to the pop-up shop and immerse yourself in the world of Cult Gaia.
The Cult Gaia pop-up will be at 8441 Melrose Place, Los Angeles between now and December 31. Hours are 10am-6pm Monday-Saturday and 11am-5pm Sunday.
Images by Brittney Christie.
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