INSIDE STORY: PLEASE DO NOT ENTER
BY INGRID SCHMIDT
The boutique-cum-design gallery is stocked with exclusive and rare art, fashion, furnishings, accessories, fragrance, books and more.
French art, design and fashion enthusiasts Nicolas Libert (an interior designer) and Emmanuel Renoird (a niche real estate broker, specializing in landmark properties) ventured from Paris to Los Angeles in 2014 to open the first Please Do Not Enter location. Housed in the 1921 Beaux Arts-style Pacific Mutual building in downtown L.A., the gallery-boutique hybrid offers their expert curation of covetable art, fashion, furnishings, fragrance, jewelry, accessories and design books. In November of 2019, South Coast Plaza invited the duo to open a pop-up shop for a few months with a mix of merchandise unique to this destination; the concept was so successful that Please Do Not Enter has become a permanent fixture on level one. Each piece is rare, limited-edition or one-of-a-kind. The fashion emphasizes emerging designers, primarily from Europe and Asia, sourced every season at Paris Fashion Week. Libert spoke to us about how discovery is central to the multi-brand design gallery and what’s in store for fall.
SOUTH COAST PLAZA
Q&A WITH NICOLAS LIBERT
OF PLEASE DO NOT ENTER
What is the story behind the name, Please Do Not Enter?
“We want people to have an experience when they come to the store. This Please Do Not Enter sign is, of course, reverse psychology. It is challenging you. Am I supposed to go in and what do they sell? We want people to be surprised, to have this exclusive feeling defined by some unseen, unexpected, really fun pieces. We love to work with this ambiguity. Is it a fashion store? Is it an art gallery?”
Tell us about your South Coast Plaza client.
“What makes the Plaza so different is that it’s a young crowd that travels a lot, so they have that experience of luxury, international fashion, and unusual finds. A perfect match for us! The idea of Please Do Not Enter was to curate a store with things you usually don’t find in the American market. It’s like a private collection that we open to the public. Many people who come in say it feels like a museum store. We exhibit our finds on white cubes and pedestals, and there is always an arty component to the displays.”
Can you talk to a recent window display at SCP?
“The latest display that we had at the Plaza was vintage jewelry–pieces by Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Dior from mostly the ’70s and ’80s. We asked a French hairdresser to make some sculptures out of real hair and we displayed these pieces on top of the sculptures.”
What brands and products are unique to this location?
“Our vintage jewelry collection from the ’70s to 2000 is only at the Plaza. We have a big lot of vintage Vivienne Westwood pieces coming soon, and an assortment of vintage apparel and handbags. Most of the fashion is by young and edgy designers. You’ll find basically all these designers that we pick at the Paris Fashion Week at this store. For fall, we will show fashion from Egonlab (France), Facetasm (Japan), Henrik Vibskov (Denmark), Walter Van Beirendonck (Belgium), Angel Chen (China), Lutz Huelle (Paris), Motoguo (Malaysia) and Feng Chen Wang (China). Fall jewelry collections at this store include Molism, Yavmin and Hanying (all from China), Rosalba Galati (Italy) and Samuel Coraux and Carre’y (France). We have a Hong Kong-based fragrance brand coming: Tobba Parfums by Jasper-Li Hong Lin.
We’ve been developing a collection of street art pieces, because there has been a really strong response here, and we have an ambitious selection of art, design and fashion books. Right now, we also have some amazing pieces by Brussels brand AP Collection—a limited $11,000 bench with sheepskin and grizzly bear plushies that is one of 50 in the world and three different stools. We have these highly collectible pieces that are art but also functional. And we are the only one in the U.S. to offer very limited-edition ceramic pieces by Hugo Meert.”
How else can you describe the PDNE shopping experience?
“If you come to Please Do Not Enter, you will always see new pieces. We usually have drops every week with new art pieces, new design collections. We want people to be excited, visiting us just to see what’s new, because it’s always changing!”