Retail concepts

The Sartorialist for Barneys?

An interesting article on Scott Schuman AKA The Sartorialist in the Times magazine last Saturday. The bit I liked most? This bit:

‘To launch the Sartorialist book there will be a pop-up shop in Barneys New York (“The Sartorialust,” he says, “selling great accessories that really define a look. A great watch, great pyjamas, great suspenders…”)’ – although Fashionista points out that this hasn’t actually been confirmed yet. Still, it does tie in nicely with my retail experience fantasy of stores having specially-curated areas by guest ‘buyers’, so if it does happen at Barneys, maybe it would happen in other stores…

"Recessions get rid of the shit…"

This oh-so-true choice quote came from my 90 minute long browse at the Vintage Academe Pop-Up Salon in Jermyn Street yesterday, where I chatted, fashion, history, politics and of-course, economics with co-owner Clare Nicholls (above). Not only did I get a fantastic fashion history lesson, I also managed to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over a number of amazing couture and ready-to-wear vintage finds. The Pop-Up Salon is in situ until Sunday and thereafter you can visit by appointment. Not a Londoner? You can also shop online or learn more about vintage from the regularly-updated Journal.

The Vintage Academe Pop-Up Salon is at Suite 201, 22 Jermyn Street Hotel, London SW1 (0207 734 2353). It’s open from 12-6pm Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th March and thereafter by appointment.

National Geographic Store

One of my most exhilarating discoveries during LFW was not a fashion discovery at all but a travel shop. The National Geographic Store in Regent Street has been open since November and I have probably been past it countless times but this time I actually ventured inside. Talk about ‘exciting retail experience’, I think all those tired, run-of-the-mill high street chains could do well to pay a visit. The store is laid out like a ‘museum of adventure’ where every item is for sale. As my favourite part of any museum is the shop, you can imagine how much I love this museum-slash-shop approach. Everything is beautifully executed and merchandise – think any Ralph Lauren store – with fantastic attention to detail. I loved all the furniture and the stairwell of framed photos and can personally vouch for the chocolate cake in the slow-food cafe. The only NQT (Not Quite There) element for me is the clothing. There is a range of travel clothes that could be so much better with a few tweaks in the design and quality. The idea is good – classic travel-friendly clothes for men and women – but the design at the moment is more Hawkshead than Hermes. That said, the mens shoes are really yummy and there is a range of luxury branded stationery (personal organisers etc) just crying out for aspirational types like me to snap them up. I didn’t even make it to the basement but apparently it has a product-testing chamber where you can experience extreme temperatures and generally enjoy the National Geographic experience.

For more information, this blog post is pretty comprehensive.