Apr 17, 2020 | By Carla Buzasi
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Feb 12, 2019
The uncertainty surrounding Brexit has done little to discourage a rich roster of boutique and contemporary stores from opening in London this season. With London’s West End attracting over 200m visitors a year, sheer brand exposure from that footfall is London’s calling card for labels looking to launch in the capital.
Of course, this season hasn’t been without its difficulties. The high street seems plagued by closures and cutbacks, with stalwarts like HMV and M&S set for more closures and job losses. Younger, digital-first brands are affected too: Missguided is set to close its bricks-and-mortar outpost in Westfield at the end of February 2019.
However, one overarching retail trend stands true – brands that go beyond the traditional store offering, and set themselves up as community hubs, are the season’s success stories.
In town for London Fashion Week? If you find yourself in-between shows this season – or you’re trying to dodge the Fashion Week frenzy – take a look at some of the best store openings across the British capital.
British tailoring brand Casely-Hayford has opened its first store in London’s Marylebone. It marks a shift away from the catwalks calendar for the brand and a rejection of the churn of seasonal collections. Founder Charlie Casely-Hayford’s wife, Sophie Ashby, led the store design, creating an intimate and welcoming feel throughout the space. All artwork and furniture featured in the store is available to purchase, alongside the men’s and womenswear ready-to-wear collections, with a personal tailoring service downstairs.
Stable Street, Kings Cross, N1C 4DQ | +44 (0)20 3883 2087 | coaldropsyard.com
The new Coal Drops Yard development in King’s Cross holds real significance for London’s contemporary retail market. Overseen by London-based practice Heatherwick Studio, original buildings and cast iron arches from the mid-1800s have been transformed into store space – lovingly restored and updated with glass. A market-style street of stores plays host to an exciting roster of indie and emerging brands including Universal Works, Bonds and Wolf & Badger, placing Coal Drops Yard as London’s new go-to destination for boutique shopping.
16 Chance Street, Shoreditch E2 7JB | Tel: +44 (0)20 7739 9444 | facebook.com/Gentlewench
Shoreditch is home to many concept stores, but its latest boutique, Gentlewench, feels fresh in its approach. Headed up by ex–Browns buyer Tijana Djordjevic and personal stylist Yue Wei, the duo have tapped into their contacts to build a range of emerging designers including Lado Bokuchava and Lemaire. Garments are grouped into colours rather than labels, allowing shoppers to naturally discover new brands. Decorative sofas by interior designers Fred Rigby and Dunstan James help make the space feel more living room than retail store.
27 Old Bond Street, Mayfair, W1S 4PD | Tel: +44 (0)20 7355 0088 | alexandermcqueen.com
Alexander McQueen has landed in the former DKNY store, with a new flagship conceived by creative director Sarah Burton. Spanning nearly 11,000 sq ft, it is four times bigger than the former flagship across the street, boasting monolithic, boulder-like displays, a sculptural staircase and soaring ceilings. Turning the traditional notion of a VIP top floor on its head, the upper level is an inclusive space for inter-active projects such as talks and exhibitions – a way for customers and fans of the house to discover more and feel part of a community.
8 King Street, Hammersmith, W6 9HW | Tel: +44 (0)344 736 900
The new H&M outpost in west London’s Hammersmith is a concept unlike the high street retailer’s previous offerings. A Mediterranean-inspired outfit, the store features flagstone flooring, plenty of greenery throughout the space, and a permanent florist in the entrance. The company’s newfound commitment to becoming more sustainable is evident in the ‘Remake and Repair’ station, where H&M club shoppers can get previous purchases amended.
40 Lexington Street, Soho, W1F 0LN | Tel: +44 (0)20 7199 8450 | byredo.co.uk
Millennial-favourite fragrance brand Byredo has opened a flagship store on a corner in central London’s Soho. Designed by Stockholm-based architect Christian Halleröd, a whitewashed interior and exterior makes the space stand out from its surroundings. Clinical table fixtures and glass and aluminium surfaces display the products, while a recent brand expansion into leather goods and accessories means handbags sit alongside the entire perfume range. The third floor is a dedicated gallery space set to host a rotation of exhibitions and events.
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