It feels like Selfridges has been tweaking its third floor Designer Galleries for ever! Finally its finished and the verdict is quite the A-Z of modern luxury fashion. In short, the Selfridges buy has been Dover Street Market-ified. (And that sentence right there gets the award for clunkiest sentence of the year. Soz.) I still remember the third floor as it was eons ago – contemporary labels like Anglomania alongside A.P.C, Whistles and Joseph. Pffft, this is so not that. Contemporary and denim have all been shunted up to the fourth floor, leaving gleaming aisles of expensive statement-wear. Of course, I can’t actually afford any of it.
It’s a textbook exercise in taste and wealth though. At one end you have the cash cows – generous amounts of space given to Chanel, Prada, Celine, Dries Van Noten et al to set out their stalls to best demonstrate their vision. Celine’s is bright and spare, all the better to show off its pops of primary-hued handbags amongst the discreet neutrals. Dries is tactile and opulent. Louis Vuitton gets the top spot, its area is part of a dedicated three-storey fit-out complete with its own swivelling lift. Alaia, Saint Laurent and McQueen round out the offer.
In the middle section there are the new gen giants – think Givenchy, Balenciaga, Tom Ford. And also the Brit brigade – Roksanda, Pilotto, Kane and Preen all representing. These are the brands adored by today’s luxury millennials, they’re seen as edgy and cool but unmistakably expensive. Look at those embellished sweatshirts and know that this is not your mother’s Givenchy. And the Dover Street Market factor? It’s there in those squishy Loewe pouffes and geometric handbags. And there in the Sacai hybrid outerwear. And most definitely there in that wall of Rick Owenses, not to mention the rails of J.W. Andersons and Simone Rochas. There’s not one dud piece in all that lot that I wouldn’t snap up tomorrow if I won the lottery.
Of course, should you just want something clean and classic, you’re not neglected. The opposite end of the floor has Jil Sander, MaxMara, a ton of Chloe, plus my secret fetish – Brunello Cucinelli. If Chanel and Rick Owens are for the rich kids, I suspect this is the moms’ playground.
It’s certainly the dream retail experience for the monied international customer, with a killer buy from the important brands. It’s presented beautifully with service to match (attentive but not pushy). And increasingly, the online inventory is starting to replicate the store offer. Yes, a few brands resist; there’s no way to buy Celine short of getting your butt into a bricks & mortar store. But others I guess know that having their product on a site like Selfridges.com ups brand awareness as well as giving a better idea of the riches that await you when you visit. For starters, there’s a full complement of Dries and a fair bit of Comme. Here’s my fantasy edit…