Bode menswear AW21

Bode AW21

Fashion week is officially all year long now. We’ve just seen another spurt of shows – from Celine, Gucci and Bottega Veneta (they had an event in a club in Berlin, while the rest of the city’s in a strict lockdown, and allegedly hired Soho House for the afterparty, kicking out existing residents – not cool!) – while other brands are doing smaller scale ‘activations’ and releasing their look books.

I’m very much into Bode at the moment and its unique way of telling stories through textiles. These Bode AW21 looks have the nostalgic charm of early Alessandro Michele for Gucci mixed with a Wes Anderson naivety without going full-on costume. It feels more real to me.

Highlights: everything about this red jacket (above), especially the hardware fastening, the quilted pyjama-esque combo, the crewelwork embroidery and the vintage map print shirt. According to Vogue, even though it’s ‘AW21’, the collection arrives in stores this month.

Bode AW21

Bode AW21

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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Positive fashion: Homebrunn handmade jackets

Homebrunn jacket

I recently spotted these images on my friend Emma’s Instagram and had to know more. Homebrunn is the brainchild of Emma Brunn, who I met while she was working in PR for Agnes b. She agreed to answer a few quick questions for the blog about her wonderfully homespun line of quilted jackets and waistcoats. Read and enjoy…!

Disneyrollergirl: What is Homebrunn?
Emma Brunn: Homebrunn is committed to making a home made product, with care, that is considerate to the environment and without a carbon footprint. Homebrunn creates small collections for women by women and always made in England. My mission is to create forever pieces with an accent of fashion; timeless garments, cherished pieces to keep and love.

My inspiration comes from re-making and sometimes slightly re-modelling vintage and secondhand items that I have found and loved and feel should be available to others to enjoy as much as I have. To make items of clothing that will come together and become wardrobe staples. A special piece that enhances an outfit for the day or the evening; individual pieces that stand out. Carefully considered, always.

Homebrunn waistcoat
Homebrunn quilted waistcoats and jackets

DRG: How did it come about?
EB: I’ve always wanted to make a small handmade collection of clothing. Quality, loveable pieces that you grow with and they wear a little, but also get better with time.

DRG: What I love about the jackets and waistcoats I’ve seen on Instagram is the Liberty florals you’re using and the beautiful design and finishing. How do you choose the fabrics? Who makes the pieces and how did you decide on these rather naive (but charming) designs?
EB: The pieces are all handmade in a studio in London. The idea of jacket and waistcoat both come from vintage pieces I’ve had, worn forever but were slowly falling apart. I wanted to bring them back to life but also update them a little. I love the nostalgia of 1970s Laura Ashley and early Cacharel ditsy floral prints and I want to reimagine this with Liberty print fabric.

I wanted to try and evoke the same feeling I had as a child for those special pieces I loved, and to create beautifully made garments with great contrasting florals, it made sense to use Liberty print fabrics with the enormous selection of prints available.

Homebrunn waistcoat
Homebrunn Liberty print waistcoat

DRG: What are your next steps and longer term ambitions?

EB: I’d like the collection to grow organically. I already have ideas for some new additions but at the moment I’m just enjoying the different fabric combinations for the jackets and waistcoats.

DRG: Where can we buy them?
EB: The website should be up and running shortly – – meanwhile you can buy direct from me through Instagram.

Homebrunn Liberty-print waistcoat

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Homebrunn
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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Ask Alison: How Browns Brook Street has recast itself as the new luxury omni-flagship

Browns Brook Street The Focus

There’s a new luxury retail destination in town and it’s a storied Mayfair townhouse that features a heady mix of culture, community and the latest personalised tech-led shopping services. DRG retail editor, ALISON FARRINGTON reports…

Apart from the appealing fact that visiting an actual store is somewhat of a novelty as we emerge post-pandemic, we are about to enter a new era of phygital retail. Phygital 2.0 plays to the strengths of being inside a physical boutique environment – all the trappings of tangible and joyous purchases plus social interaction – while having frictionless digital retail services at your fingertips.

Launching on 12 April, at a reinvented flagship location, Browns Brook Street is the manifestation of owner, Farfetch’s visionary ‘Store of the Future’ omnichannel strategy that we first heard about in 2017.

Browns Brook Street

Holli Rogers, Chair, Browns says the new store is designed to inspire customers as well as usher in a fundamental shift in the way people shop. “Layered into this connected, tech-enabled experience is a thoughtful and human side – which is so crucial in the current landscape where personal and personalisation is pivotal.”

The store itself features an interior by design studio, Dimorestudio. The brief was to retain the historical fabric of the building while conveying a new modernity with the Browns retail personality. The result is contemporary with juxtaposed finishings; metallic hanging structures reflect on the black floor tiles, while custom wallpaper depicts faded floral Victorian patterns to contrast the essential, clean cut lines of the furnishings and lighting.

Browns Brook Street sneakers
Browns Brook Street womenswear shoes bags
Browns Brook Street phygital technology

The designer roster is as you would expect from a global luxury retail brand house. Merchandise fuses hero pieces with local talent and champions a conscious approach to fashion, as well as food, art, design and architecture. The edit errs on the side of edgy with more pieces available online than actually in-store – a strategy designed to blend the physical and digital shopping experience according to Customer Experience Director Lee Whittle, who says this approach means Browns can connect with its clients in a tailored way, with service at the forefront.

Aside from all the tech updates finally coming to fruition thanks to the long-term investment from Farfetch, I am loving the seamless integration of digital in a space that looks set to thrive on human emotion. There’s tons of character in this old Colefax & Fowler building with sweeping staircases and chintzy aristo vibes, and the historical references have literally been sewn back into the fabric of the building. Plus, we have the option to dip into modern social glamour at the Native restaurant in the courtyard that promises a seasonal foraging menu and a side of crowd watching.

Native courtyard at Browns Brook Street

This all begs the question: what is the reason for visiting a luxury fashion flagship today? How does Browns Brook Street reflect the new luxury retail landscape?

1/ RETAIL THEATRE. Welcome back to the aesthetically pleasing combination of old-school chintz and grand Grade II* listed architecture that’s mixed with contemporary new age fixtures and fittings. There’s the hipster touch we know and love from a Browns Focus edit, escalating up to an edgier selection of mainline luxury brand names.

2/ CULTURE MEETS COMMERCE. Luxury shopping has a new backdrop: the art world. With key designer pieces displayed as art, the customer moves into a more rarefied gallery environment. Private views for collection launches from the likes of Marine Serre focus on the installation and seasonal opportunity, with an option to purchase for guestlist clientele.
Browns Brook Street immersive room - Juno Calypso

3/ SEAMLESS DIGITALISATION. RIP to cash tills. Browns proposes a more frictionless retail experience with invisible tech in-store working alongside style advisers and ‘flexible delivery’ options courtesy of the Farfetch network. So, all the clunky bits of luxury shopping are taken care of with services such as try-now and deliver at home later or one-click payments, leaving the customer to make the most of a more humanised and emotive time in the retail space.

4/ PERSONALISATION. There’s a ‘plethora of personalised shopping experiences’ in-store. We’ve seen the magic mirrors displaying customer preferences, the latest in-store tech runs to enabling shoppers to call up items on their wishlist ahead of a store visit. Coming soon is an augmented reality experience for trying on sneakers and jewellery. The tech is there for Browns to get to know its customers better: the lines are blurred between online convenience and offline discovery, amplified by a curated store experience.

5/ COMMUNITY. Aka membership, this feels like a smart, tech-enabled, elite shopping club in the way that Soho House started for the media industry. Browns has achieved a similar edict for luxury fashionistas and exclusivity is given new agency within the confines of the various VIC  – very important customers – suites. The Club on the top floor provides a haven for top spending clients and includes The Parlour Bar and three personal shopping suites; Jimi, Joan and Nancy, paying homage to residents of the past. Events are also planned for this space and will follow on from the Browns ‘Residencies’ online programme that kicked off in October 2020, and celebrates creative personalities.
Native restaurant at Browns Brook Street

Will I visit? Hell yes. Digital democratisation is fine if you’re shopping via Amazon or Alibaba, but I’m intrigued by the air of exclusivity within the freshly painted walls at Browns Brook Street. I’m looking forward to tracking how the Browns Nomad store initiative develops with a Mayfair brief – time for a fresh perspective on localised curated luxury for London’s global customer base.

This post is contributed by DRG retail editor, ALISON FARRINGTON, who is a freelance travel retail industry journalist. Read her previous posts on Disneyrollergirl here.


WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Alison Farrington
IMAGES: Browns
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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Retail roundup: beyond transaction

Selfridges Pangaia Corner Shop 2021

I can’t wait to go to shops. While lockdown news has focused on the e-commerce successes, the UK high street is doubling down on getting punters back through the doors. For me, shopping is not only about buying, but also about socialising and seeing what’s new. The best stores have always been more than transactional destinations; from Topshop, Oxford Circus (R.I.P) to Dover Street Market, they’re discovery zones and temples of worship to community and culture.

While there have been more losers than we care to count, we’re also starting to see a few newcomers. Goossens, The artisan jewellers (once a supplier to Coco Chanel and now owned by Chanel’s Paraffection stable) opens in Burlington Gardens this month, Studio Nicholson (below 1) is opening a store in Soho, and there has been a great deal of buzz around the relocation of Browns to Brook Street, a move that points to a wider revival of New Bond Street, now that Crossrail is in sight. Alongside its phygital tech wizardry, Browns will be elevated by a courtyard eatery – always a plus in my book. In New York the new Bode Tailor Shop (below 2) in Hester Street incorporates the 40-something-year-old coffee walk-up next door, recently vacated by its owner but adopted by Emily Bode and her partner Aaron Aujla. The new store will also offer alterations of everything from Bode menswear to Levi’s jeans.

Studio Nicholson store in Soho, London
Bode Tailor Shop by William Jess Laird

Meanwhile, new to L.A is the brand-new Heaven store (below), a kind of Marc by Marc Jacobs retail playground for Gen Z. With its playful Seunjin Yang balloon furniture, Sonic Youth posters and 90s kitschcore fashion, if this can’t wrestle Generation Depop from their phones, what can? (Marc Jacobs is planning 15 new U.S retails stores this month, each adapted to the local customer, according to WWD.)

A Look Inside Marc Jacobs’ Heaven Store in Los Angeles
A Look Inside Marc Jacobs’ Heaven Store in Los Angeles

In London, Selfridges is readying its reopening with a new PANGAIA* ‘brand experience’ (top and below). Selfridges has always been a retail innovator. I’ve been going there since they had brown carrier bags and to this day, the Brass Rail is where I meet my mum for our salt beef sandwich and coffee dates. Come April 12th (until May 2nd), the Duke Street corner will be given over to a PANGAIA ‘temporary installation’. In keeping with its Corner Shop concept – previously hosting everyone from Pat McGrath Labs to Michèle Lamy – this prime real estate spot offers valuable window visibility. You may know PANGAIA for its influencer-endorsed lockdown loungewear. But it’s actually an extremely innovative company, working with materials scientists to create unique textiles, such as FLWRDWN (a puffer style material made from dried wildflowers) and PPRMINT (peppermint oil coated fabric delivering naturally antiseptic properties, resulting in less frequent washing).

The Selfridges pop-up will mix entertainment with education as per the latest buzz-phrase ‘retail edutainment’ via a specially built structure that will bathe the space in new age-y prisms of light. But you can also buy some very cool clobber there alongside exclusive new products including PANGAIA chocolates and notebooks. Read more here or book a virtual shopping appointment here* shop the post here*.

Selfridges Pangaia Corner Shop 2021
Selfridges Pangaia Corner Shop 2021

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: PANGAIA; Studio Nicholson; Bode Tailor Shop by William Jess Laird; Heaven x 2; PANGAIA x 2
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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CLICK HERE to buy my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman