ASK ALISON: IS IT A STORE OR A HOME?

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Freunde-von-Freunden-Apartment 2

Here’s the latest ‘Ask Alison’ guest post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP, on how brands are merchandising their store environments to inspire customers to feel at home

More and more digital brands want to lay down physical roots and create their own permanent stores. At the same time, retailers are ramping up online sales initiatives for increasingly digitally savvy shoppers. So now we have the trend to make showroom-style spaces resemble highly curated homes and apartments. Which makes us want to buy everything and move in.

LUXURY APARTMENTS
The trend for homely retailing has evolved over the last year or so, kick-started by luxury players such as Louis Vuitton with its decadent Hong Kong L’Appartement by Andre Fu (below), and the personal shopping bachelor pad at Holt Renfrew’s new-men only Toronto flagship. After opening their relaxed, sun-drenched LA flagship, complete with outdoor pool, The Row are eyeing a similarly homely retail destination in NY’s Upper East Side, according to WWD. Ashley Olsen described the LA store as ‘about setting it up as a home and just having the apparel be a part of the space.’

BELOW: L’APPARTEMENT LOUIS VUITTON In HONG KONG
L’Appartement Louis Vuitton

CURATED ROOM-TAILING
Stylists Vanessa Traina and Morgan Wendelborn set up US e-commerce site The Line in 2013 as a place to showcase their personal style across homeware, fashion and beauty products. They launched The Apartment (below), an airy Soho loft space, shortly after as a physical embodiment of the site, where customers can meet with the creatives behind labels stocked, and the pair host discussions, workshops and screenings. This form of curated, one-to-one apartment-style selling adds a valuable aesthetic layer to the online shopping experience, where customers are buying into a lifestyle not just a product range. Whistles has taken a similar approach, hosting its last two seasonal press days in penthouse lofts in London (below).

BELOW: THE APARTMENT BY THE LINE
The Apartment by The Line - home-style retail
The Apartment by The Line

BELOW: WHISTLES PRESS DAY
Whistles Press Day held at  Saint Martins Loft

Alex Eagle is the eclectic curator behind Soho House’s newest retail location, The Store in Berlin (below). There is a stylish lifestyle edit with bit of everything on offer, from designer fashion and accessories, contemporary furniture, homewares and organic food from The Store Kitchen as well as beauty services from Barber & Parlour. It’s designed in the style of a relaxing, homely loft apartment with soft velvet sofas and ‘shabby luxe’ workstations next to the library of books and magazines provided by Idea Books. There’s a florist by Mary Lennox and music by The Vinyl Factory. Everything is set over the spacious ground floor of the Berlin hotel location. ‘I wanted the space to be an open, shoppable private home for everyone to hang out in,’ Eagle said to T Magazine. Suitcase Magazine has a great interview with Eagle where she talks about sourcing localised, new talent across the creative design industries.

BELOW: THE STORE IN BERLIN CURATED BY ALEX EAGLE
The Store Berlin by Alex Eagle
The Store Berlin by Alex Eagle

SHOWROOM MEETS EDITORIAL
The worlds of interiors, design and even real estate are utilising an editorial, stylised approach to sell furniture and homewares. For the newly renovated, but still off-plan central London Saint Martins Lofts scheme, gallerist and designer Marc Peredis has created a warm, minimalist show apartment, exclusively utilising pieces from artists represented in his Soho gallery, 19 Greek Street (below).

Dutch architecture & design magazine Frame created a 3D rendition of its pages at a pop-up shop in the Felix Meritis building for Amsterdam’s temporary cultural festival, Felix & Foam, in 2014 (below). The space, designed by Dutch studio i29, was intended to be a mirrored universe, using reflective surfaces to create a sensory, immersive shopping experience. Frame curated a mix of new talent from the design world, showcased in modernist room sets, set against the grand backdrop of the building’s 18th architecture. In a similar project last year, German online magazine Freunde von Freunden (FvF) furnished a Berlin flat as part of a 3D editorial project for Swiss furnishings manufacturer Vitra (below and top).

BELOW: SAINT MARTINS LOFTS BY MARC PEREDIS
Saint Martins Lofts

BELOW: FRAME POP-UP AT FELIX & FOAM
Frame pop up at Felix and Foam

BELOW: FREUNDE VON FREUNDEN APARTMENT FOR VITRA
Freunde von Freunden Apartment for Vitra

DINING AT HOME
The idea of curating an ‘at home’ experience is also represented by restaurants, where patrons buy into the vision of the chef as much as the food. At my favourite new restaurant and bar, Old Tom & English in London’s Soho, interior designer Lee Broom has created a décor very much an ode to British decadence from a bygone era. The idea was to replicate a 1960s living room, where diners come to join an intimate cocktail party and stay for nibbles.

Danish restaurant Noma in Copenhagen is currently having some time-out from serving food, instead focusing on translating its worldwide reputation into a retail experience. Earlier this year it opened a shoppable pop-up store in Tokyo, selling locally made tableware and furniture in collaboration with Japanese designer and creative director Sonya Park of Arts&Science. And last month, US retailer Club Monaco moved into Noma’s original Copenhagen space for a curated offering of its men’s and womenswear collections as well as local New York-based furniture and homeware designs and vintage collectibles from around the world (below).

BELOW: CLUB MONACO IN COPENHAGEN
club-monaco-noma copenhagen 2
club-monaco-noma copenhagen

ASK ALISON: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Designing retail or restaurant spaces that replicate a home environment takes customers a step closer to imagining a selection of curated products in their own living space. Plus, it’s the perfect antidote to 2D online shopping, making the most of physical presence and tactility as an emotional retail experience.

Follow ALISON BISHOP on Twitter, read her previous guest posts on Disneyrollergirl and discover more of her retail insights on her blog, The Retail Planner.

The Chanel Coco Crush fine jewellery store at Netaporter is open

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Chanel Coco Crush fine jewellery netaporter

The Chanel Coco Crush fine jewellery pop-up shop at Net-a-Porter has been open for one hour and already pieces are sold out. (So if you were thinking of splashing £13,500 on the 18-karat yellow gold cuff, sorry you weren’t quick enough). What you can still buy (at time of writing) are the five gold rings. In white gold or yellow gold, they have the signature Chanel ‘quilting’ effect and range from £1,400 to £2,325. You can buy them from the pop-up e-com shop until 6th May.

Click quickly now…

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: CHANEL’S COCO CRUSH, BYREDO, REVLON, ESTEE LAUDER, AGNES B

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1) COULD CHANEL’S COCO CRUSH E-COMMERCE LAUNCH BE A GAME CHANGER FOR FINE JEWELLERY?

Chanel Coco Crush Netaporter fine jewellery

There’s more to last week’s news on Chanel planning to launch e-commerce. The big story this week is of a Net-a-Porter X Chanel digital pop-up that opens on Wednesday selling the new capsule fine jewellery line, Coco Crush. The simple shapes featuring Chanel’s signature quilting pattern in 18 carat gold will start at €1,970 for rings, going up to €19,000 for a cuff. What’s interesting (and clever) is that this lets Chanel dip a toe in the e-commerce waters with the help of the very best in the biz. Continue reading

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: CHRISTOPHER KANE X NARS, CHANEL E-COMMERCE, MONTBLANC, HILLIER BARTLEY

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1. GET READY FOR CHRISTOPHER KANE BEAUTY

Christopher Kane X NARS NEONEUTRAL

First look at Christopher Kane for NARS and it’s suitably punchy. Big on neon-y pinks, the ten-piece ‘NEONEUTRAL’ collection is aimed at the fearless fashion-forward girl although there are some wearable nudes and corals in the mix. It lands on counter 15th April. Continue reading

Gentlewoman style: Uniform Wares launches the C40 watch

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Uniform Wares C40 watch

How handsome are these new C40 watches from Uniform Wares? I’ve been trying out a ‘smart watch’ recently and I can’t help thinking that an electronic device will never replace a classic watch in my world. These unisex watches are the latest addition to the Uniform Wares Swiss-made stable. Continue reading

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: CHARLOTTE OLYMPIA SNEAKERS, YOHJI YAMAMOTO X SANRIO, NET-A-PORTER

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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1) IS AMAZON LOOKING TO BUY NET-A-PORTER?

Netaporter-Amazon-Natalie Massenet

The big news story of the week was the one that reported Amazon is in talks to buy Net-a-Porter. As Amazon has been desperate to carve a slice of the high end e-commerce pie for, well, ever, this is an interesting move. Business of Fashion has the best analysis*. (*Drat, BOF is down for maintenance! Forbes has the story here, with an update saying Amazon denies the talks…) Continue reading

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: THE CORNER, PORTS 1961, LVMH PRIZE, MARC BY MARC JACOBS

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Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…


1. PORTS 1961 GETS A REFRESH

Ports 1961 aw15 by new creative director Natasa Cagalj

I was invited to the Ports 1961 press day last week to see the debut womenswear collection by new creative director Natasa Cagalj. The brand is undergoing a bit of a reinvention thanks to Cagalj, who is set on delivering wearable, adaptable wardrobe solutions for women. She’s doing this with fantastic coats, jackets and shirts that have a little bit of masculinity in their tailored construction but not too much. Continue reading

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It’s all about the tech this week with updates from Google, Apple, Westfield and Farfetch. Read on for my latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, rounding up the brands buzzing on my radar…

1. WESTFIELD TO LAUNCH FUTURE FASHION EVENT

Westfield future fashion digital retail theatre

Westfield is always forward thinking when it comes to experiential retail. Coming soon is its London Future Fashion event, bringing the SS15 trends to life using virtual reality and ‘interactive fashion avatars’ (above). Continue reading

Throw open the windows

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Toast early spring 2015 book

…fire up the Nespresso and devour the Toast early spring book. Ahhh, doesn’t that feel better? Here are a few things I’ve earmarked…

TOAST PAINTERLY STRIPE PYJAMAS
2 Toast-Early-Spring-2015 Continue reading

The Porter pages

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Porter Magazine Ryan McGinley Natalia Vodianova

Porter has finally found its voice as a magazine for independent, cultured, grown up women. While it’s powered by Net-a-Porter, thankfully it’s not just another shopping magazine, the shoppable content is balanced with profiles and features on non-fashion subjects too. Continue reading

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