We Can’t Get Over Irene Neuwirth’s West Hollywood Store

It might be the most beautiful space in L.A.

By: Laurel Pantin
Photography: Emily Knecht

Here are a few things we love about Irene Neuwirth: her personalized pet portraits, every single thing she’s ever made, and the design of her West Hollywood flagship store. Not to get too Stefon here, but it has everything; a giant wooden donkey, a kitchen (where strangers actually hang out), a pink couch, and tons and tons of jewelry. It’s literally one of the most beautiful spaces we’ve ever seen. And we’ve been in a lot of spaces.

If you’ve ever been, then you know what we’re talking about. And if you haven’t been, then now we’re *kind of* bringing you.

Click through below to see just how magical this shop is, and to read all about how it came to be and exactly what that hippo planter is doing in there. And if you want to see it for yourself, head to 8458 Melrose Place.

 

“When we signed the lease for the store, which happened really quickly, I was walking down the street in Beverly Hills by one of the fancy, traditional jewelry stores, and they had a bunch of men outside holding trays of champagne for people. I thought of how I could create the exact opposite experience of that; how to create a store where it really felt like a home.”

“I think that people just feel really comfortable and safe [in the store]. It's really funny because people come in and take their shoes off, like they think they're entering someone’s home. They're like, ‘What is this place?’ And then we've had people try to come in and make a reservation to eat. It's been really funny.”

“Pamela Shamshiri was the interior designer for the store. We became really close friends, and it was just such a natural fit for the two of us. She has really impeccable taste and I wanted things to be really fun and colorful. It was my idea to put a kitchen in half of the store, and then we worked with Clare Crespo, an artist, to make the case that has the birds in it. They're all out of suede and cashmere. She worked on it with another woman named Marine Panossian.”

“The store, I think, has such warmth to it, and I think my jewelry is very warm. The colors are warm. It’s playful, but at the same time everything is really thought through. From the day I started my fine jewelry line, I wanted people to feel like they could try it on, or dream of having it one day and not have that intimidating experience of, like, walking into a store and not being able to touch or feel something. I think that the colors in the store are really complementary to the colors in my jewelry.”

“I’ve always had this funny thing with animals. I think that animals are so playful and I really love them. A long time ago, that beautiful Harry Winston campaign came out with all of the animals. It’d be like a bird holding a diamond ring in its beak. I just think there's something really neat about that combination, so we worked with all of these really incredible artists [on different areas].”

“This ring was never supposed to be in my collection, and it’s a huge part of my business now. I work with this amazing carver and painter in Germany, and he and I met in Arizona, and he paints these really traditional things and I was like, would you ever paint my dog for me? It was kind of as a joke, but that would be the one piece of jewelry that I would wear. And then we did it and it became really viral. I bumped into Lena Dunham and she was like, 'I need one of my dog' for her book tour, and then she bought one for Taylor Swift and then... I just forgot how many people really love their pets. So I started putting them online, and people started really wanting them. It takes a very long time to make, and it's a total labor of love. We sit it on abalone and mother of pearl behind them, and then put diamonds around. But it was just kind of this fun, kitschy project that turned into a real thing for us.”

“Pamela [Shamshiri] is a dream. I love her. It's really funny. We were set up basically through a mutual friend of ours who was like, ‘If you do a space, you have to work with [the design firm] Commune, and in particular you really will get along great with Pam.’ I get really obsessed with an idea, so I started sending her all my ideas—I sent her that amazing campaign with the animals, and then I sent her all of these dioramas that I had. I knew what I really wanted it to look like—she just stepped it up a big notch. Right away, she was like, 'Oh my god, I'm obsessed with this idea.' I think that we just hit it off so famously that it was a match in heaven for the two of us. We've become such good friends. She's such a genius. It was fun to have my ideas and then have her amplify them. [laughs].”

“I had collected all of these antique mirrors for a long time, and one of my favorite gifts that my boyfriend ever gave me was this really beautiful Aaron Morris painting of all of these animals, so I gave him my mirrors and had him paint all of these different amazing landscapes and animals and sea life and things on the back of them. Those are really special.”

“I'm so proud of the whole space. I feel like it's such an alternative way to shop. People really want an experience now instead of going into a traditional store. And people will come and hang out there all day long. They will bring their computer and sit at the dining room table and have a coffee, which we don't have for sale, but we always treat everybody like they're in our house.”

“Everything is really custom. The rugs are custom and all of the cases we had built and there's that large hippopotamus that's made into a planter.”

“I thought about what I love most about my house and it's that everybody gathers in the kitchen, so we built a really beautiful kitchen in the store and I just really wanted it to feel whimsical and playful—and like my jewelry, which is really fine but at the same time really tangible and approachable.”

“I love the bathroom. We had this guy come and hand-draw all of these leaves on the wall, and then Clare Crespo also did a case on the bookcase. There's a little tiny miniature polar bear and all of these little flowers and leaves and we drape jewelry in there. I think that's so special.”

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