THE DRG STYLE INDEX: BARRIE, KILGOUR, HARVEY NICHOLS, A.P.C, MULBERRY

On this week’s DRG STYLE INDEX, these are the brands that caught my attention…

1. BARRIE TO LAUNCH READY TO WEAR (AND A STORE IS IMMINENT TOO)

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The Made in Scotland ethos is gaining momentum with the launch of a new Barrie RTW collection next month. Designed by Chanel’s Odile Massuger using premium cashmere fibre, we’re promised twenty silhouettes merging clean lines with adventurous motifs and colours – I’m particularly intrigued by the description of handpainted porcelain buttons! Chanel acquired Hawick-based Barrie in 2012 as one of its métiers d’art (if you’e into factory porn, Susie Bubble has a heap of photos here). According to this BBC story, there are also plans to increase the workforce by 100 staff over the next three years, while a Paris store is rumoured for June. Exciting plans indeed…

2. KILGOUR’S RETURN

Carlo-Brandelli-Kilgour

Carlo Brandelli is back at Kilgour and planning to re-establish it as an innovator is menswear. For an early look at the new Kilgour direction (concealed fastenings feature), head to Mrporter.com which also has an interview with Brandelli.

3. HARVEY NICHOLS REVAMPS ECOMMERCE

Harvey-Nichols-ecommerce-site-relaunch

It’s been a slow slog but the long-promised redesigned Harvey Nichols ecom site is finally here. The homepage leads with bold, bright editorial and it’s big on multi channel retail, promising an equally efficient mobile and instore experience. And customer service has been ramped up too. You can contact style advisors online for instant advice, or arrange to have potential purchases held instore, alongside additional outfit recommendations. Personally I’m more of a ‘bricks’ than ‘clicks’ shopper so I’ll be interested to see if this changes my approach…

4. A.P.C TO OPEN IN LEXINGTON STREET

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A.P.C stores don’t stay in place for long. The Notting Hill branch was my go-to for years, then they disappeared from the West London scene, opting instead for Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. Then we had a Dover Street store for a while (until being ousted by Jimmy Choo) and now we’re in line for a store on Lexington Street, W1. This is good news for me as the streets around Carnaby Street are where I’m most likely to actually part with cash. I love A.P.C for its timeless products but equally for Jean Toitou’s unfashiony approach to the fashion biz. He also has great instincts so when he chooses a location for a store, that’s news in itself. All eyes on Lexington…

5. MULBERRY’S MIXED BLESSINGS

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I’m really hoping for a positive outcome for Mulberry. Last week we heard that its entry-level bags will be lowered in price by about £100 from June onwards as Godfrey Davis (its interim chairman) looks at ways to return the British brand to profit. I admit Mulberry lost my attention for a few seasons as its bags felt overpriced considering their ubiquity. (If you’re spending £1,000 on a bag, surely you want something special, not the same bag dangling from every socialite’s arm?) That said, I love an underdog, and I’m liking the new calf leather Kensal bag, an understated multi-pocket bag named after my very own neighbourhood. At £1,250, I’d be happy to see it drop in price by £100 – or more.

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