Togah Life Boutique
Simple naked beauty
''As I reveal the concept behind the vision I
created, I am reminded of the stories that
brought us here and of the appreciation for the
relationships I’ve built in the design projects and
the processes involved'.
Togah Life Boutique is so much more than a boutique. It is a dream and it is a story. Unveiling the unique Togah Life Boutique fills me with so
much joy. As I reveal the concept behind the vision I created, I am reminded of the stories that brought
us here and of the appreciation for the relationships I’ve built in the design projects and the processes
Eva, the founder of Togah Life Boutique, approached me to actualise her 20-year dream of a
flagship store, to offer her the guidance to achieve something higher than her greatest expectations.
Given the current social, cultural, and business climate, we put our innovative minds to the test to
manifest this dream. Deciding to swim with the present, rather than against it, Eva and I knew we had to be ready to have the project realised for post-pandemic women. But this “full-steam-
ahead” was a delicate process – this project needed to be handled with fragility, with consideration for every design chosen, and every decision made in
light of the financial risks. Despite, or perhaps even because of the challenge, this is a project I was only
too happy to be a part of.
After many years of experience in the industry and international awards I have won, this resonated with me – that all forms of design should be enjoyed by everyone. At the heart of this vision is a place where post-pandemic women can visit and return to beauty. Capturing this essence of Eva’s mission has been most rewarding as we transform what was just an idea into a timeless business with longevity.
Togah reflects her uniqueness and her ability to make fashion selections beyond and ahead of her time. The eclectic mix of loungewear, daytime florals, and stunning evening dresses appeals to many different women and clearly shows her belief that all women can and should feel amazing. As a designer, I seek to create an atmosphere and environment that reflects our client Eva’s beliefs by connecting the design to support her personality, her pride, her joy, her expertise, her subtle yet
heated passion, and her strong-minded soul. A new way of shopping was created. And with that, her passion and her uniqueness needed to radiate throughout the store. The design evokes simple naked beauty, welcoming real women from all walks of life. Understated depth carved into the
creation present in the textured walls that surround the store and provide a blanket of European culture. This finish was applied with many hours of studio work, making selections for the perfect colour
and texture. Working with trades collaboratively was paramount to conjure the European subtly. The entry draws in your eyes with linen cascading fabric from floor to ceiling, curving around a backdrop to the immaculately dressed mannequins complimenting the original rounded glass shopfront, all of which suggest the elegance of a 1950s dressing room. Omni cement bricks set and angled add a welcoming entrance.
In combination with the chic wall treatments, the
travertine marble furniture was selected to compliment the natural, pure beauty of the refined
atmosphere. And my what a makeover! The original design of the store was very dark, drawn, and cluttered. It required the knocking down of many walls and fresh, innovative carpentry design to transform the spacial elements. The arches that
open from the main room into the lounge space have been cleverly situated on an angle to allow the
customer to gracefully flow to the back area. A welcoming sense of curiosity, a pathway beautifully lit, textured arches like a building at dusk on the Greek islands – a true reflection of Eva’s Greek heritage. We wanted to promote a pure, intimate sense of nakedness in the change rooms. Nude tiles with loads of texture that add small-scale depth
and a flesh tone do just that. Yet the textured wool carpet sits underfoot for comfort, providing a sense of ease to a fragile naked body in a change room.
Commissioning the artist to tell the story that dressing oneself is a form of Art. Light on the naked wall emulating a dress on flesh. To express the customers’ quirkiness and bold contrasts to help make wonderful purchases. As you approach the change rooms, you are ushered in through doors
that are designed to feel like a 1950’s partition screen, suggesting a sensual, feminine feel. Natural,
sustainable linen fabric meticulously pleated by the in-house seamstress enhances the custom-made doors, designed to suit the space specifically for the area. The frame of which is covered in the treatment of unique bronze, conceived with the utmost care and design consideration. The Lounge is my favourite – evoking a comforting cheer through the use of cheery mustard tones and playful textural boucle fabrics. With its luxurious scale and proportions, furniture designed by Sarah Ellison
added promise to the strength and personality of the design.
The Skin Lab extending from the lounge adds a warm tone and a contrast to the stone walls. A beautifully placed natural stone basin, with brass accents and timber display shelves, nestles in a dramatic ‘curtain call’ like setting. This theatrical
feel is enhanced by the glistening warm lights hovering over a stone presentation bench. Making every woman feel special.
As designers we are always careful not to overpower the concept and to ensure that the product and brand stand out beautifully. We are here to set the stage of which the product is worthy. This concept informs each and every decision, even down to the arches, of which the bronzed detailed rails and
glass shelves create the perfect canvas for our clients centre stage. As the store was at its last
stages, I remember so clearly the moment of
happiness I felt from Eva. I walked in for a regular site visit and there with her Greek music on,
tradespersons everywhere, cloth in one hand, beautiful clothing in the other. I knew I nailed it. It wasn’t just the amazing design and how I felt being in there, or how the design came alive with every element executed perfectly, but it was the smile on her face that revealed to me that we have just realised her dream.
Embracing that sense of fulfilment of a job well done, I was transported back in time to when I first met Eva. When we started, I was given an image of Eva’s most prized possession, sourced from her travels to Italy: a ceramic face, a figure of a bold woman, strong with mixes of eclectic patterns and
colour, shiny and proud. Eva declared:
'This is me. She is me. She is everything. She is the emotion, the knowledge, and she serves as a reminder of my power, strength, and beauty.’
She made it to the store and now sits on the entry display table, with pride and encouragement to all who enter. Togah’s design honours this woman,
honours Eva, honours all women.
Best Retail Design 2021
Design and Documentation
Materials and Finishes
Furniture and Fittings