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Store review: Glossier’s new flagship store dazzles with LA-themed displays

With clean lines, close-ups and pink and cream florals, the interior of the new Glossier LA store balances form and function. Marking the second of three physical storefronts the brand plans to open post-pandemic, the space draws inspiration from Hollywood and larger-than-life designs. (Sakshi Joglekar/Assistant Photo editor)

Glossier LA

8523 Melrose Ave

West Hollywood, CA 90069

By Zinnia Finn

Nov. 18, 2021 5:28 p.m.

This post was updated Nov. 22 at 10:07 a.m.

In hopes to make it big, Glossier LA used the city as its blueprint.

Opening Thursday, the storefront marks the second of the brand’s three permanent brick-and-mortar locations, which are set to be unveiled post-pandemic. An online-only store at its 2014 inception, Glossier had a Los Angeles foray in 2018 and a previous pop-up location on Melrose Place. Solidifying its mark on the city, the new permanent flagship easily allows customers to test products in real time and is an aesthetically pleasing and functional companion to the shop’s virtual scene.

Through the glass entryway, the front of the store is occupied by the brand’s take on the Globe Fountain at Universal Studios Hollywood – a glistening chrome installment of its three-eyed smiley face, complete with bubbling water at the base. Surrounded by a coral-and-gray-marble seating area, the opening view is dramatic but constructed with clean lines and cool tones so that it doesn’t feel over the top. The first of many LA references, the display is the focal point of the space and sets a polished tone for the shopping experience.

(Sakshi Joglekar/Assistant Photo editor)
Modeled after the Globe Fountain at Universal Studios Hollywood, the focal point of the store is it’s glistening three-eyed installment and surrounding amphitheater-style marble seats. (Sakshi Joglekar/Assistant Photo editor)

[Related: Alumnus grows Instagram platform, promotes positivity through skin care, makeup]

Besides this, though, the interior decoration is kept to a minimum, with the primary sources of art being an oversized skin care dropper suspended from the ceiling and a 17-foot tube of Boy Brow, the brand’s cult-favorite eyebrow pomade, leaning against the wall. These gargantuan products tie into the larger-than-life theme, which playfully integrates customers in an “Alice in Wonderland” style that infuses a lightheartedness into the overall experience.

Beyond the oversized makeup and Instagrammable interior, the store shines with its attention to detail. Featuring corrugated, millennial pink surfaces and glass-shuttered display cases, the space is catered toward the products – rather than the products being formulated for the space. The grooves of the standalone tables are molded to house brow gels and lip balms, with each station accompanied by hand sanitizer, cotton pads and the occasional built-in sink.

To increase the functionality, the store is divided into skin care and makeup sections, with merchandise spread out among multiple mini tables. This creates a flow that encourages customers to navigate between the crowds and test products while glancing at one of the tabletop mirrors or oversized wall-mounted vanities. The fully reflective surfaces serve a double duty as they also add to the illusion of the space being even bigger, with floral arrangements and rows of products stretching across the floor.

(Sakshi Joglekar/Assistant Photo editor)
Complementing an already expansive interior, oversized vanities and towering makeup products augment the store’s larger-than-life atmosphere, playfully dwarfing customers. (Sakshi Joglekar/Assistant Photo editor)

Despite the interior’s thoughtful and functional design, however, the store does have a particular, almost museumlike ambiance. For prior Glossier customers, stepping into the space is as natural as applying a favorite Balm Dotcom lip salve. But for those just stopping by, the niche aspects of the store may seem overwhelming. That isn’t to say the space is unwelcoming – the natural light and soft pink walls create an atmosphere of invitation – but the meticulous organization of it all could feel too curated to interact with.

Adding to this air is the cavernous interior and concrete floors, which are minimal to the point of bordering on sterile. Luckily, as a shopping experience and not a showroom, these colder elements could be canceled out by the bustle of customers, providing ample room for product testing and idling while decisions are made. There is even a separate pickup space to the side of the store that is accessible from the street, allowing customers a chance to sleep on their choices before committing.

(Sakshi Joglekar/Assistant Photo editor)
Although spacious, portions of the store are centered around displays and could cause customers to feel the need to emulate the caution they would exercise at a museum. (Sakshi Joglekar/Assistant Photo editor)

[Related: Restaurant review: Lulu elevates the museum cafe, hammers home environmentally conscious menu]

Bordering the building is yet another element of the LA flagship: Glossier Alley. Crafted as a space separate from the shopping, the outdoor area is meant as an atrium where Angelenos can congregate with no retail strings attached. However, the space is still explicitly linked to the store with a Glossier crest and a soon-to-come Alfred coffee shop serving Glossier-themed drinks. The more cynical may find this annoying, but for most patrons and previous fans, the pervasive branding only adds to the formulated experience and novelty.

Tying the store together, everything connects back to LA, with Easter egg elements such as the pink gates of the alleyway reminiscent of Beverly Hills mansions and the flip phone keychain begging for a matching Juicy Couture tracksuit. Even the store’s exterior mimics the Hollywood sign, with large letters covering the side, spelling out Glossier with a subtext of presence and intent. The signage announces that the brand has stepped out of its digital sphere and created a cohesive experience from a handful of products.

And nothing is more LA than that.

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Zinnia Finn | Lifestyle editor
Finn is the 2021-2022 lifestyle editor. She was previously an Arts columnist and reporter from 2020-2021 and was a member of PRIME’s first intern class. She is a third-year neuroscience student from San Francisco, California.
Finn is the 2021-2022 lifestyle editor. She was previously an Arts columnist and reporter from 2020-2021 and was a member of PRIME’s first intern class. She is a third-year neuroscience student from San Francisco, California.
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