The RSVP Gallery recently opened its doors in Chicago, Illinois to the delight of numerous consumers and art connoisseurs in Chicago and across the United States. The space serves as both a luxury boutique and art gallery that carries some of the most exclusive brands and artists’ work from all over the world. RSVP is short for Résponde si vous plez (or please respond) and the store’s name is an invitation for guests to not only visit the space, but to participate, get inspired, and respond.
The design of the boutique/gallery features bars of green neon Green lights accented against a black painted ceiling that exposes only the brick walls and floor. Various limited pieces of art from the private collections of some of today’s biggest names line the walls of the space, all of which were commissioned by RSVP. The idea was to channel the store’s design concept of pairing pop art with luxury.
Art from Mark Newson, Stephen Sprouse, Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, KAWS, NoPattern, and more is on display throughout the gallery. Additionally RSVP is proud to carry some of the top apparel and footwear brands from across the world including KaiKai KiKi, Ambush, Dee & Ricky, Super, Rizzoli, OriginalFake, Casio G-Shock, Incase, Kdia, Head Porter, MEDICOM TOY CO., CLOT, Lupe Fiasco’s Trilly & Truly, Vane NYC, Boxed Water, and more.
We recently had a chance to sit down and speak with two of the partners of RSVP Gallery, Marc Moran and Virgil Abloh, to get a better understanding of what RSVP Gallery is and what they are aiming to do. Additionally Freshness is proud to present some exclusive images of various upcoming products from Ambush, KaiKai KiKi, Super, Trilly & Truly, and of course RSVP Gallery.
1753 North Damen | Map
Marc & Virgil, how are you guys doing today? If you don’t mind would you care to introduce yourselves?
We’re Marc Moran and Virgil Abloh, and we’re 2 of the 3 owners and partners of RSVP Gallery.
Congratulations on opening RSVP Gallery, can you guys share some of the insight behind the store? What was the reason for opening the space? What does RSVP represent?
In opening RSVP gallery, we were hoping to bring an elevated retail experience to both Chicago and the US. We wanted do something different by creating a space that could double as luxury retail boutique and a pop art gallery. So as the project developed, the name was the most difficult part for us to decide on. We ended up settling with RSVP Gallery because we felt is accurately represents the experience we’re trying to create with the store. RSVP stands for respondez s’il vous plait, (French for “please respond”). We want the store to elicit a response of emotion and ideas – in both the artistic and retail aspect.
While Chicago is home to Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, and of course to a certain extent, Michael Jordan, the city has often been overlooked when it comes to discussions around creative people, brands, or retailers, did you feel that there was a void in the Chicago area for a space like RSVP?
Absolutely! We love what Chicago already has going on, but we certainly wanted to add to it and bring something you might expect from Paris or New York, but could only have access to in Chicago.
Why was the decision made to open this space in Chicago and not a city like New York or Los Angeles?
We’re both from Chicago are very proud of our city. So as two native Chicagoans, it brings us great joy to be able to launch a project like this here. We feel Chicago needs this kind of space, and it deserves just as much creative attention as any other city.
Marc and Virgil, knowing that the store has already been tied to Kanye West, can you take this time to clear up some of the rumors regarding Kanye and his involvement with RSVP?
We think that a rumor of that kind only speaks to the great taste the store has and offers, so we take it as a compliment. We offer a lot of products associated with Kanye and definitely respect his work and style.
RSVP carries a number of brands, can you highlight some of your favorite brands and tell us a little bit about them?
The store is kind of a collection of our favorite brands from around the world, but if we had to name only a couple, we might say Super Sunglasses for their incredible quality and subtle, modern take on classic designs. And Ambush for its pop art appeal!
We noticed that you guys are the first US retailer to carry various Asian brands such as, CLOT, Ambush, Silly Thing, etc. Knowing that a lot of American brands have succeeded in Asia, do you feel that times are changing and that more and more Asian brands will be able to cross the various culture barriers and succeed in the US?
The cross pollination of cultures and products has been very interesting to observe. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by how many people were already familiar with these brands, and to witness their excitement for actually seeing them in the US has been great. Even more rewarding, though, has been the ability to introduce our customers to these brands. So of course we hope that the appreciation for brands like these will grow in the US.
The RSVP Red Box project is one of the most interesting we’ve seen from a retailer yet, can you tell us a little bit about how that project came to life? How was it to work with Lupe Fiasco? What are some of the upcoming RSVP Red Box projects that you have coming out?
Red Box was an idea that came about rather naturally. We had an existing relationship with Lupe because of other projects we had worked on with him. We thought to do a store collaboration with Lupe as a way for him to showcase some of the really cool design projects he’s been a part of. Doing Red Box just made sense. It compliments both Lupe’s work and RSVP’s store concept and aesthetic. Our latest Red Box installation is a collaboration Lupe did with his line, Fall of Rome and the hand-screen duo, False. They call the collection “Fallacy of Rome.”
RSVP also currently carries a few RSVP branded items (t-shirts and pins) can we expect a full collection of apparel and accessories from RSVP in the near future?
Yea, we are very excited to be launching some great collections in the near future. The store is very young and we are still working very hard to develop it and the brand itself.
What are your favorite items in the shop at the moment?
Hard to say because really, it can change on weekly or daily basis…but if we had to pick right now it might be the Kaikai Kiki plushies. To be designed by as talented an artist as Takashi Murakami, the plushies are a fun, creative way to display art. You can have a great piece of art in your home without having to frame it or put it in display case. They’re a great addition to anybody’s room.
We’ve talked a lot about the retail part of RSVP, but we know that RSVP also serves as an art gallery, what are some of your plans in regards to housing various exhibitions/shows at RSVP?
Still working on that part.
Aside from the various brands and artists that we shoppers can expect when they visit RSVP, is there anything else that we can expect to see at RSVP in the near future?
We are very excited to be bringing in the Comme des GarÃ§ons PLAY collection this winter.
Thank you for your time, if there’s anything else you’d like to say please feel free to share it with us.