A Day with Dylan Lauren
By Bill Kearney
2 p.m.—The Store at the W South Beach
Dylan Lauren strolls into the boutique, scans the shelves, then suddenly arrows to the most colorful objects she can find—jeans in hues of creamy lavender and robin’s-egg blue. “I’ve had my eye on those two pastel shades for a really long time,” she says like a hunter who’s finally cornered its prey, then points to the reduced price. “And what’s a girl’s favorite four-letter word? Sale!” After setting the jeans aside with the store manager, Lauren tries on some vibrant blue earrings by Amrita Singh. “I’m a turquoise person, but I have so much turquoise jewelry,” she says. “I’m excited for a different shade.” Before leaving, she happens upon some of her private-label candy bars on the shelves. “Can we position these a little better?” she asks the store manager, then pulls them off the upper shelves and arranges them at eye level. And there’s another issue: The wholesale rep is supposed to sell a set of 10 flavors, so the full rainbow array of packaging is seen. Lauren types off a quick e-mail to him, and we’re on our way to taste-test adult beverages for the Miami location of Dylan’s Candy Bar.
3 p.m.—Hyde Beach, SLS Hotel South Beach
As we walk through the hotel lobby, Lauren and her senior merchandising manager, Liad Cohen, conduct a meeting of sorts (their meetings are often walking affairs, and you must keep up). They rifle through inspiration photos on their phones: She’s fallen in love with some poolside seating at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach; an employee’s striped sneakers might be right to sell at the store; the shelving units in the LA store are too high. They devise where to put the Election Collection candy featuring donkeys and elephants in red, white, and blue. “I’m very into making [the store] like an art gallery and curating it perfectly,” she says as we sit down at the Hyde Beach bar.
Did she ever want to follow in her father’s (designer Ralph Lauren) footsteps? “I like fashion, but I get to combine my love of fashion, art, and pop culture with candy,” she says. Fittingly, her stores are colorful amalgamations of rare, novel, or nostalgic candy, art, and lifestyle goods. Esteban Ordoñez, the Caliche rum mixologist, crafts four different candy-themed cocktails for us. After tasting all four, Lauren and Cohen brainstorm names for a drink made from rum, apricot purée, rosemary, and an apricot gummy bears garnish. Grin and Bear It or Rose-Beary? She decides to save Grin and Bear It for something spicy
5 p.m.—Dylan’s Candy Bar, Lincoln Road
We walk into the raw construction site that’s supposed to be ready for business by early December. Scaffolding rises to the ceiling, and there’s a six-foot-deep ditch cut into the travertine floor with standing sea water at the bottom. Lauren immediately walks the path a customer would take into the store and asks why the store’s centerpiece, a 15-foot-tall lollipop tree inspired by Dale Chihuly, is so close to the entrance. The construction team explains that the city mandated an elevator, which has compromised floor space and delayed workflow. Once Lauren grasps the challenges, there’s a bit of fence mending, and a realistic schedule is set. “Just the energy alone, in dealing with you, I can tell you, we’re inspired,” says Barry Brodsky, president of Brodson Construction. They toss around the idea of a special event for Art Basel, and commit to opening winter 2013.
6 p.m.—Britto Gallery
Lauren flits from piece to piece in Romero Britto’s gallery, as if color were like a drug for her. “It is, I just love it,” she admits. “All these colors, all these possibilities!” She was an art history major at Duke University, is a Pop Art fan, and collected Britto’s work before she met him. (He’s since painted a portrait of her, and she sells his work in her Manhattan location.) Britto walks in and it’s hug-hug-kiss-kiss. Today she’s looking for pieces into which she could put candy and sell exclusively at the Miami location. She pulls a few ornaments from the shelves and takes photos as Britto pitches ideas: a picture frame filled with candy, a Britto-fied Mickey Mouse cookie jar, an entire Britto cabinet filled with candy. Lauren’s busy writing notes. “Can you imagine?” he says with the intensity of someone with visions of sugar plums dancing in his head.
9 p.m.—Cecconi’s Miami Beach
Lauren sits down to dinner with friends Jaime Orozco and his wife, Carolina Argiz Orozco. Without missing a beat, Lauren begins picking their brains for Miami knowledge, and gets a synopsis of the Rat Pack ’50s, the fashion model/ bohemian ’90s, and the scene today.
What iconic Miami symbols should she include in her bag of Miami-specific gummies? “Flamingos,” says Argiz Orozco. “What about alligators?” Lauren asks. “You gotta throw the manatee in there,” offers Orozco. And Latin culture? “Different cultures come to Miami for safety,” says Orozco, regarding political turmoil in Latin America, and advises her not to miss marketing to them. And then there’s the candy. He suggests Colombia’s Bon Bon Bum, a lollypop with a surprise in the middle.
What’s your favorite candy?” Lauren asks Argiz Orozco. “For Easter I like the little marshmallow bunnies,” she says. Lauren nods knowingly. “The sugar gets in my teeth—I love that!” she says as if she were 6 years old. The dessert plate arrives, and Lauren is ready to dive in.
photography by Michael Dweck