Tag Archives: Ask Alison


Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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.

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.’


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).



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.


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).




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).


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.

Ask Alison: Finery London’s creative pop-up showroom

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Here’s the latest ‘Ask Alison’ guest post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP, on last week’s experiential retail pop-up from FINERY LONDON

A good pop-up still has its place and this one blends a few retail trends at once. As a taster prior to its launch onto the ‘premium high-street’, last week online fashion site Finery London opened a week-long pop-up showroom that mixed physical creativity with digital experimentalism. Continue reading

Ask Alison: Shopstyle and American Express collaborate for ‘Style Inspiration Hub’

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Here’s the latest ‘Ask Alison’ guest post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP, on the new editorial ‘hub’ from ShopStyle.

It seems like the whole *social-curation/discovery-commerce/influencer-marketing (*choose your term du jour) trend has been crystalised with a new collaboration between ShopStyle and American Express. After a soft launch in November, the Style Inspiration Hub will be live for six months and hosts a range of curated content from fashion and beauty bloggers, industry insiders and online retailers. Susie Bubble leads the charge, writing about her signature eclectic style.

Of course everything is instantly shoppable and there’s new ‘style influencers’ content every week. Continue reading

Ask Alison: How beauty brands are getting up close and personal with digitised stores

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Here’s the latest ‘Ask Alison’ post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP, looking at the emergence of interactive digital stores coming from the premium beauty sector

It’s official; Covent Garden has become London’s Beauty Quarter when it comes to stores. Luxury brands Chanel, Dior and Burberry all opened mini beauty flagships here in the last couple of years while Marc Jacobs followed recently with its Tweet Shop pop-up. Now prestige beauty brands Clinique and Bobbi Brown (above) are experimenting with new, highly personal store concepts. Continue reading

Ask Alison: Digital runways and the evolution of live-streaming at NYFW & LFW

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Here’s the latest ‘Ask Alison’ post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP who unpacks her physical-meets-digital findings so far from the SS15 fashion show season…

The fashion show is dead. Long live the interactive, digital brand experience now taking place during New York and London fashion weeks, where consumers, influencers and their collective social media clout are the preferred global audience. Continue reading

Guest post: Experiencing the Fragrance Lab at Selfridges

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

DRG contributor ALISON BISHOP reports on FRAGRANCE LAB: a searching personality profiling experience that distills your creative preferences into a scent

Someone said to me recently this is the decade of personalization, and that’s so true, especially when it comes to retail. Brands are looking to create ever more personalised experiences in stores to counteract the lure of convenience from online shopping. The appeal of a shopping experience that is not only personalized to you, but one that is tactile and sensory wins in my book hands down. Continue reading

Ask Alison: The Shazamification of fashion

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

This month’s column from regular DRG contributor, fashion & retail insights expert Alison Bishop explores the latest moves in how taste-making got shoppable…

Since fashion is now shared instantly across social media, it’s no wonder how we shop for it has become more instant too. From Instagram to Pinterest and Tumblr, these platforms have become a visual marketplace for fashionistas, brands and retailers. Most important are the style leaders or ‘taste-makers’ that other users follow – and they’re the ones responsible for a new Shazam-style of shopping.

Snap it, search it, buy it
Just as another season’s month-long fashion week circus kicks off, there is a raft of new apps that target the street-style set with instant-hit fashion, at the click of a photo search. I’m calling this the ‘Shazamification of shopping’, since the practice of snapping what someone is wearing, then searching, then buying it, mimics the music identifying app Shazam. Last year Shazam announced it would broaden its service by recognising content from TV shows, so that when people ‘Shazam’ a show, they can link through to buy items worn by presenters or actors. Continue reading