Tag Archives: retail news
You’d think a couture gown or Savile Row suit was the ultimate luxury but I can think of something even better. Stationed at the back of Levi’s London flagship store is its recently introduced Lot No. 1 made–to-order jeans service. The answer to every denim connoisseur’s prayers, it’s a meticulously executed personal service that puts the customer at its heart. And I imagine it could become quite addictive.
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that however vast the choice of jeans available to us, the search still continues for The Ones. That’s certainly true in my case – however close I think I’ve come to perfection, I’ve still not quite reached denim nirvana. So Lot No. 1 exists for denim nitpickers like me. Let’s be clear, this is for lovers of deep detail, choice and provenance. (As such, it’s also reserved for those with deep pockets – the service comes at a flat cost of £500.) You start by choosing your denim from beautifully presented swatch books. “The real denim heads tend to choose Cone Mills denims (a raw selvedge American denim), that’s the choice of the denim purists,” explains my host, master tailor Lizzie Radcliffe, a Savile Row transplant whose love of utilitarian clothing brought her to Levi’s. “Our Japanese customers go for the heaviest weights, they like breaking them in.”
For each swatch you can see what it will look like after a certain number of washes, a crucial detail in the first stage of choosing your denim. Next you select your rivets and buttons, again the choice is yours (from seven colours and two styles), followed by colour of threads. There are 20 thread colours to choose from, with navy thread on navy denim considered to be the smartest option. And yes, you can even choose your colour of leather patch from a choice of twelve, including one vegan. I absolutely loved geeking out over all the finer details (four different choices of cotton for the inner pockets – because hey, these things matter!). I think the one-to-one learning process and the unhurried method of choosing your components are as much part of the package as the finished ‘made for you’ jeans.
Having chosen the denim, threads and buttons, it’s time to work on the actual cut and fit of jeans. For some, this is the crux of the service. There are samples available in all waist and rise sizes, which can be tried on and then adjusted. “Slim, straight jeans are the most requested cut, although carrot jeans are popular too,” says Lizzie, who also points out the importance of discussing how they’ll be washed and worn because that affects how the jeans will sit on your waist. (“Most people say they won’t wash them for the first two months.”) The higher the rise, the lower the size seems to be the rule of thumb, and although clients are encouraged to try on all the different sizes, Lizzie is more than adept at sizing them up with a precision glance.
Surprisingly, the ratio of men to women using the service is a massive 95% male majority aged 25-40. “It’s men with sporty thighs, short guys, wider men,” says Lizzie. Which is understandable; if you’re a non-standard size, why wouldn’t you want made-to-measure jeans that you know will fit you perfectly? Of course, as well as money, you need time; this is no overnight rush job. Working mostly on her own, Lizzie takes 4-6 weeks to turn around a pair of jeans depending on how in demand the service is.
One friend pointed out that Levi’s is supposed to be egalitarian. It’s the ultimate in utility workwear after all, so doesn’t it go against the brand ethos to make elite £500 jeans? It’s a valid point but I don’t see it as a frippery. From the fabrics sourced from the best mills globally, to the vintage machines – stitching machines, overlockers, rivet and button attachers – you’re looking at the best of everything to do the job. As such, these jeans are made to last so aren’t a ‘fashion’ buy so much as a shrewd investment. One that will earn its keep cost-per-wear, and improve with age for years to come.
Levi’s Lot No. 1 is available at Levi’s Regent Street, London. For an appointment or information, email email@example.com
Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…
1. HERMES LAUNCHES LE BAIN
So here you have the ultimate bathtime experience. Can you think of anything posher than Hermes hand wash or shampoo? Continue reading
Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, featuring the brands currently buzzing on on my radar…
1. LA GARCONNE DOES BRICKS AND MORTAR
Somehow this passed me by, but one of my favourite etailers has gone over to the B&M side. La Garconne, the purveyor of perfectly judged boyish womenswear has opened a physical store in TriBeCa, selling its covetable mix of Margiela, Acne Studios and The Row. Message to La Garconne: London needs you! Continue reading
It’s the eve of London Collections: Men, so the latest DRG STYLE INDEX is a little bit menswear focussed. Here’s my ranking of the brands on my radar this week…
1) J CREW X PUBLIC SCHOOL
Every good menswear designer knows there’s more money to be made from womenswear. So naturally it makes sense for (newly crowned CFDA Menswear Designer Of The Year) Public School to work with J Crew on this womenswear collab. Continue reading
My weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranks the brand stories that have most resonated with me, in order of interest. This week, Céline goes east and Grazia goes into etail…
1. CELINE’S BEIJING STRATEGY
So the small, discreet, exclusivity rule doesn’t count when it comes to China. Hello Céline fashion show in Beijing! Céline staged a big-ass fashion show in a celeb-packed venue in Beijing’s art district last week to showcase its AW14 collection. The likes of pop star Faye Wong (above) arrived properly attired the Céline way with mannish coat robed over the shoulders. Why the fanfare from this usually reserved brand? Continue reading
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
The DRG STYLE INDEX this week is all about the new launches and retail concepts launching for AW14. Here’s my ranking of the brand stories that grabbed my attention…
1. BELLA FREUD’S BRAND EVOLUTION
I know it’s only May but I can already tell we’re in for the autumn of Bella Freud. Her AW14 collection is much fuller then the capsule knits we’ve been used to and we’ll also see her first collab with Fred Perry. Plus this week saw a few Insta glimpses of the first proper Bella Freud fragrance collection (on the back of those delicious candles). Is it too early for Christmas wishlists? Continue reading
Jigsaw has opened a mini department store dedicated to what it calls ‘social shopping’, putting the 3D back into retail. DRG contributor ALISON BISHOP takes a tour with CEO Peter Ruis
“Retail brands have the authenticity to create something unexpected, at Jigsaw we like shops to be slightly off-pitch,” CEO Peter Ruis told me at the launch for Jigsaw’s Duke Street Emporium in Mayfair.
The Emporium name comes from the idea that Jigsaw’s new multi-label, multi-concept two-floor store is like a journey of discovery. “It’s a bit of fun, it’s a bit of curating, the rooms are like catacombs of discovery,” says Ruis. “You can travel through the store finding new products and displays, it’s intended to be very fluid and you can spend as much time as you like going from room to room. They are quite small and merchandise is not overloaded so you can always find things to be inspired,” he says. Continue reading
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