When it comes to immersive, experiential retail, you can’t really beat Harrods and its epic store takeovers. Chanel and Dior have had their turn and this month saw the unveiling of Pradasphere, a fusion of shop windows (40 in total), pop-up shop, cafe and exhibition.
The exhibition on the fourth floor is the big draw. It starts with glass cabinets telling the story of the beginnings of the 101-year-old brand. Originally purveyors of leathergoods, we’re shown vitrines of ancient paper packaging, handbag frames and luxurious vanity sets for the travelling classes. All give an air of revered Milanese shopkeeper to the proceedings, nicely bringing us back to retail. Continue reading
Wow, what a month May is looking to be for retail! Last week, Harrods opened its Pradasphere exhibition-café-shop-windows takeover, Fendi unveiled its 3-floor Bond Street flagship, Jigsaw’s Duke Street Emporium arrived in Mayfair and Selfridges just launched its summer ‘Beauty Project’.
An epic nationwide store concept (online and offline), The Beauty Project is a look at beauty, not just from a product point of view but in a wider sense, giving us experiential retail and discussions around how we see beauty. Continue reading
So best dressed from last night’s Met Gala? Gotta be Tabitha Simmons in Dolce & Gabbana and Hamish Bowles and his outstanding cape-work, no? Plus a shoutout is in order for Hamish Bowles’ top notch pap work on Instagram…
The DRG Style Index has a bit of an art theme running through it this week. Here’s my ranking of the brand stories that grabbed my attention…
1. GAP IS PARTNERING WITH FRIEZE ART FAIR
This year, Gap has partnered with Frieze New York (opening May 9th) and Frieze London to produce exclusive merchandise in a ‘white cube’ setting that will double as a café. A joint effort with Visionaire, the US collab will produce limited edition tees from the likes of Alex Katz (above), Richard Phillips and Peter Lindbergh. Continue reading
Here’s a great three-way collab that marries experiential retail with personalisation and a hand crafted approach to design. Last week, Jo Malone London invited me to experience its pop-up screen printing studio hosted by creative collective Calm & Collected. The arty foursome have designed special graphic labels for five of Jo Malone London’s favourite scents (yay, Pomegranate Noir is in there!) and as an added bonus the guys are screen-printing complementary boxes to go with. Continue reading
If you want a life affirming experience, tear yourself away from the computer and get thee to Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern. Comprising around 120 of Matisse’s fragile paper works, this is the first time this many of the iconic cut-outs have been shown together. The opportunity has not been wasted, with the works displayed in airy rooms that give ample space to these energetic and colourful pieces. Continue reading
Introducing the DRG STYLE INDEX, a ranking of the brands on my radar each week. In order of impact, these are the brands grabbing my attention right now…
1. CELINE’S RETAIL WOW FACTOR
My first foray into the Mount Street store (above). Um, wow. The smell! The flooring! The merch! The ratio of sales staff to customer (3-1 on my visit)! At the till, mulling over a two-tone luggage Tote, was a Ghanian lady in full Vlisco-print gear, including headwrap. Oh to photograph her printed skirt against the patchwork marble floor tiles… But alas no, I got the feeling it’s a No Photos kind of store… Continue reading
Having seen the evolution of fashion blogs over the last seven years (this blog started in 2007), I’m interested in the shift from blogs to brands. Many of the fashion blog pioneers have extended their remit, transforming their blogs into successful creative businesses.
And this approach has spread beyond the bloggersphere to the wider world, hence these days, far from simply aspiring to ‘be a celebrity’ (how 2010!), everyone wants to ‘be a brand’. This thought was crystalised last weekend at the third Vogue Festival (in association with Harrods) at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Vogue, one of the biggest publishing brands is not content with being a print publication. It wants to be a multi platform destination, an event, a lifestyle brand. And as such it has created a means to engage with its future customers, who themselves have become pretty well versed in the stepping stones of brand-building. Continue reading
Sorry PRs but my big highlight of Paris Fashion Week wasn’t the shows or the parties but the new exhibition, Dries Van Noten: Inspirations. Showing at the Arts Decoratifs Museum until 31st August, Dries Van Noten and curator Pamela Golbin have coincidentally created an assemblage of exhibits that encompasses a number of my own favourite themes.
Downstairs is big on the foppish overlaps of masculinity and femininity, the romance of youth subcultures and a fascination with British monarchy and society. As you enter the exhibition through Azuma Makoto’s giant floral fantasia, you’re greeted by a room wallpapered with pop culture references. From camp Divine posters to Interview magazine covers, these are easily recognisable to anyone who grew up in the 80s. Dries Van Noten’s early designs from his student days at the Antwerp Royal Academy (his 1981 sun motif coat looks especially contemporary) sit alongside influential pieces by Kenzo, Mugler, Versace and Worlds End-era Westwood, culled from the museum’s own archive.
The subsequent vitrines are grouped in themes such as ‘Iconclast’, ‘Graphic’ and ‘Butterflies’ and display seemingly disparate items – a film clip, artwork or ancient textile piece – alongside examples from a chosen Dries Van Noten collection, to demonstrate his creative through process. It’s funny to think this is the first time a designer exhibition (it’s not billed as a retrospective) has been presented this way because it really makes a lot of sense in revealing the common passions and aesthetics of the brand and the man. Continue reading
What a surprise to see a Nigel Shafran shoot in Vogue. And styled by Joe McKenna too. Shafran’s last Vogue shoot was 21 years ago and he has brought his quiet observational style to the the UK title with this ode to consumerism (beating Karl to the punch), shot in the temples of Vuitton, Chanel and Celine on Avenue Montaigne… Continue reading